Kickstarter’s cultural currency continues to rise. In the past few weeks, The crowd sourcing site announced it has collected over one billion dollars in pledges. The most highly funded movie in Kickstarter history, Veronica Mars, was just released. And with the Facebook’s two billion dollar acquisition of Kickstarter darling Oculus this week, questions are being raised about whether backers should compensated for their early support.
I believe I feel like most backers: I don’t pledge to take ownership in a project; I pledge to enable it. I consider myself a patron, someone who can validate an artist’s idea through declaring my interest and provide monetary support to bring that idea into the world.
I have backed over 70 projects in the last five years and it has been amazing to be a part of so many great ideas. Here are some of my favorites:
Creating a Kickstarter shirt using Kickstarter was the brilliant idea of CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler. The image came from the campaign itself. Of course, I was going to get one.
Along with my iPhone and car keys, this is a part of my everyday carry with its ability to hold five or six cards. Love it.
Before my kids took primary ownership of my iPad, it was great to use the tablet with WINGstand to create another screen to work from.
This project is a little more special than most. Not only was I a backer, but I also served as the editor for the book. Slim put out a call to backers for help bringing the project from his RISD master’s thesis to a more accessible book for a wider audience. I am so happy with how it turned out and proud to have contributed in a small way.
There were several factors that drew me to this project. First, Bluer Denim is designed in Portland, one of the most active cities on Kickstarter. The second was their commitment to end to end manufacturing in the United States. The final piece was the direct connection to the maker as I bought my first pair of raw selvage jeans.
Seth Godin went to Kickstarter with his latest book project, Icarus Deception. I have been a fan of Seth since the Purple Cow milk carton, so there was only a split second of thought before I pledged at the No-Brainer level. This package included 8 copies of the book, a 12 pound book called THIS MIGHT WORK, an alphabet book illustrated by Hugh MacLeod, an audiobook LP and a handcrafted coffee mug.
I loved this project from the moment I heard out it. Garment veteran Steven Sal Debus developed a new fabric that uses eucalyptus trees rather than cotton. This result is less water used, virtually no chemicals added and the creation on a shirt that is naturally wicking and odor free. Even with the great pitch, the project didn’t get funded, earning only $8,000 of the $30,000 needed.
I was so impressed I tracked down the company in Canada and bought four of their prototype garments. I have been using two of them and they are as great as advertised.
It’s often said that many good ideas never get the traction they deserve. I can’t think of a better example.
As another Portland based project, I bought into Elevation Dock along with the other 12,500 backers. This is a great product that is everything that it advertises. The trouble was I upgraded to the iPhone 5 and haven’t been willing to buy the upgrade kit for the lighting connector. This can be the tricky part of backing technology projects.
This is the latest project I backed and I already have the bottle. I like the mixture of features (though I have poured water on myself more than once while getting used to the straw nozzle).
Here are a few of my other favorites…