Kickstarter Shenanigans

After that potato salad Kickstarter raised like $50,000 in a couple of days, my Kickstarter home page is littered with funding requests for all kinds of culinary projects. *eyeroll*

KS_PotatoSalad

I have a kind of bystander fascination with Kickstarter. I’ve watched a lot of too-good-to-be-true projects crash and burn, heard horror stories of people miscalculating the costs of reward delivery, seen good projects fail and bad projects go through the roof. I’ve had some friends try their luck and with mixed results. Even the infamous DoubleFine Broken Age project – a sure thing funded at least 8 times it’s asking budget, ran aground and went begging to Steam for money to finish the game.

I’ve pitched in small-potatoes cash on an handful of projects, mostly with hilariously terrible results. One author spent all the money on knee surgery and turned in his story two years after the deadline. Three projects didn’t hit their funding goals. One of them hit their goal, but I haven’t had an update in 8 months, they may be dead.

In some ways, I see that the hurdles put in place by the old way of doing things (assuming the risk and paying for development of the project yourself, earning it back when you complete the project and sell it) was a kind of effective quality control gatekeeper. Well planned, large-scale commercial products backed by solid teams tend to find their own funding through traditional means. It seems like Kickstarter has laid the table for a kind of free-for-all for anyone with a (sometimes stupid) idea – and possibly little to no business sense, to make a big expensive mess. The danger in turning the established business model on it’s head is that anarchy isn’t any better.