Backing A Kickstarter

By | Tuesday, February 15, 2011 1 comment
You've probably heard the name Kickstarter in the past year or two as a way folks are trying to raise capital for projects that might not have a base of support that includes one person/group with a huge sum of cash on hand. It's set up so that a larger number of supporters can donate much smaller amounts, and thereby fund the project. What's more, the supporters only start by PLEDGING their support; they won't actually have to lay out anything if it doesn't generate enough interest to raise all of the funds necessary.

It sounds like a great idea, at least as long as you've already got a decent sized base of supporters in the first place. I think it'd be hard to raise funds for a project without some kind of network to start from.

I've been watching some Kickstarter projects from the sidelines for a while now, and decided (now that my own financial situation has somewhat stabilized) that I should look into this from the perspective of an actual backer. As it happened, this coincided with the Kickstarter launch for a project entitled The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman. I first heard about this a while back, and it's drawn my attention and interest for reasons I haven't quite been able to put my finger on. It's basically a documentary about powerful, heroic women in popular culture, centered primarily around Wonder Woman. They've already interviewed and have footage from Gloria Steinem, Lynda Carter, Trina Robbins, George Pérez, Danny Fingeroth and a host of other folks with expertise on Wonder Woman and/or feminism and other related topics. Here's the promo clip they've got on Kickstarter...

I have to say that I do see the reason why Kickstarter is becoming as popular as it is. It's got it's obvious benefits from the creators' point-of-view, but it was also dead easy to make my pledge, even for never having made a Kickstarter account before. After confirming the amount you want to donate and which backer benefit package you want, it then ties in with your account (because who here doesn't have an Amazon account?) and allows you to just pick up one of the payment options you've already saved there. So there was no issue with having to dig out my credit card and typing the account number and re-typing the account number and... Yeah, it sounds like it's not a big deal to not have to fill out a few extra fields, but A) it's Amazon so I'm not concerned so much about my account security; they've proven themselves thousands of times over already in that regard, and B) reducing as many entry barriers as possible like that makes me more inclined to donate to another project. I happened to be in a meeting just this morning where we were looking at data that showed how much higher completion rates as you're able to eliminate more and more fields the customer (e.g. me) has to fill out. There's a very distinct and easily measurable drop-off rate as you add more and more fields someone has to fill out. Kudos to the Kickstarter team for streamlining things so much.

Anyway, I'd like to encourage people to support cool-sounding Kickstarter projects. The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman strikes me as a great place to start, but there's likely other projects to suit your particular interests.
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