If you haven’t heard the word on Kickstarter, it’s the uber-successful online crowdfunding website for interesting projects. Kickstarter has crowdfunded everything from jellyfish to a nuclear reactor, lots of games, books, indie films with the most popular thing being tech gadgets.
The way Kickstarter works is simple. People apply to have a project posted on the site. If the project is deemed interesting and viable, the project is accepted. Project owners choose a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If the target amount isn’t raised by the deadline, no funds are collected.
Funds are coaxed from the viewers wallet by offering rewards for an amount given (called a pledge). For example, a five dollar pledge might get you a thank you email from one of the founders. A $25 pledge might get you an advance copy of whatever it is, while a $1500 backing buys you VIP access and a fancy dinner with management. The tastier the rewards, the more pledges these projects get. Pretty simple really.
There are a few caveats for both backers (often called sponsors) and project starters to be mindful of. For backers, there’s no guarantee the projects on Kickstarter will deliver on their projects or not use the money to fly off and live incognito in Cuba.
For project starters, there is the outside possibility of legal action if there’s a failure to deliver on promises. Tardy projects and those plagued with problems are often met with criticism. You better have thick skin if you’re going to take money from the Kickstarter crowd.
The horror stories of flaky or flat out dishonest creators are starting to pour out. The more common of the troubled Kickstarter stories we hear (thankfully) are about entrepreneurs who are honestly giving it their best shot but are being hit with unforseen problems.
As these embattled project starters explain their challenges to their impatient sponsors, we the reader can vicariously live through them and learn a tonne in the process.
For recommended reading of this sort, check out the Kickstarter project “Pen Type-A : A minimal pen“. Pen Type-A is a stainless steel replacement for the Hi-Tec-C’s cheap plastic housing.
If you want to get straight to the trials and tribs these pen aficionados faced, start with this post.
In the future, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of these projects and seeing what heavy duty insights we can all learn. Stay tuned.
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