Random Thoughts On Kickstarter

By | Monday, April 23, 2012 4 comments
Don't worry, regular readers, I'm not going to make another sales pitch for somebody's Kickstarter campaign. But I was thinking, and figured I'd bang out a handful of not-entirely-connected, not-fully-thought-through thoughts about Kickstarter in geneal.
  1. We've quickly learned that it's a great way to fund projects, if you've got a reasonably sized audience to start with. Basically, the bigger your voice and the broader your reach, the more likely it is for your project to get funded. But what if you've got a decent audience to start with, but they know you for something OTHER than what you're trying to Kickstart? Say, if you're trying to Kickstart a graphic novel, but everyone you know through Facebook, Twitter, etc. follows you because you post videos of you doing clever song parodies?
  2. Is there a danger of Kickstarter funding becoming an insular loop? What I mean is: do the people who create Kickstarter projects try to help others by funding them as well? If so, doesn't that mean the money is basically just passing from one Kickstarter project to another, with Kickstarter itself taking a cut each time? That's clearly not the case yet as more people continue to discover Kickstarter and bring in new cash, but could things slide into that direction?
  3. Now that it's becoming a mainstay of independent comic creators, what impact will Kickstarter have, if any, on print-on-demand services like Lulu and Indy Planet? Or is it just another avenue that even more creators will take advantage of?
  4. How soon until corporations realize what they're missing and start making big donations (relative to the size of the projects) in order to get their name/brand emblazoned on the credits page, or whatever the top reward is? Conversely, could a company create a "false" Kickstarter project as an attempt to make a "viral" project in favor of whatever their issue of choice is?
  5. What type of intro videos work better? Art showcases or a more personal request directly from the creator(s)? Do production values of the video impact funding of non-video projects? I can't imagine they don't have an impact.
  6. "There is no Rule 6."
  7. If you are curious what I'm backing, there's a full list here.
  8. Not sure what this means, but of the 11 projects I've backed so far, nine have been fully funded while the other two are still in progress, but look promising with still a month left on each.
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Matt K said...

1) Not sure, though one of my own big questions has been "what good does this do someone who doesn't already have a big audience?" It seems to be largely a currency exchange for converting social capital to cash, which is useful certainly but... 2) Certainly in that sense, I think it already tends toward insularity, boosting those who have already risen high in most ways. I do have a hunch that it's going to sort of become spoiled by success at some point and stop being much fun or cool, even if it remains successful. 3) Hmmmm. 4) This could be part of Kickstarter being "ruined" as it becomes "discovered" by the mainstream. It's almost remarkable that it hasn't happened yet, but I figure within the next several months at most. 5) No idea, I don't think I've ever actually visited the site.

Frankly, the whole thing just kind of bugs me, probably because of point 2) above, in combination with the usual "darn kids" reflex.

Ethan said...

My biggest concern is the perpetuation of the consequence-free business model. Yes, I fully-funded project can still fail, but it's no skin off anyone's back except the backers. I'm not speaking as a staunch capitalist or anything, just as a creator who went through all the trials and tribulations of the freelance business with no funding.

Ethan, could you expand on that? I'm not sure I follow your "consequence-free business model" thought. Consequence-free for whom? In what way?

Ethan said...

Sorry for being vague. What I mean is, consequence free in financial terms. Say a project is fully funded and is a go. Then the project never hits it big or has receives a mediocre response outside of the core fanbase. I just don't see it as any skin off the creators' backs because the project is/was funded by outside sources. (Obviously, not counting convention costs or personal costs to personal websites). I have nothing inherently against Kickstarter, I'm just a stickler for the old business model. When self-publishing 'Tails', I lost hundreds of dollars of my own money, and learned valuable lessons along the way. I'm not 100% sure those lessons would've been as poignant if it wasn't my own personal bankroll, because the stakes wouldn't have been as high. Or I could just be a fuddy-duddy.