One of the sources of frustration for my lovely wife Charlene and a source of great amusement for my friends and co-workers is my seeming obsession and addiction to Kickstarter.
For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is an online crowdfunding tool that allows artists, entrepreneurs, and makers to get their ideas funded before they are produced.
To date I have backed 17 different projects, some big, some small. I have backed projects for as little as $3.00, and as much as $500.
I have backed real, physical things, and virtual goods as well.
So why do I do it? There’s a few different reasons, and they speak to different parts of my nature.
First and foremost, it’s to get a thing. Particularly a thing that few other people have.
I’ve always been what the cool kids call an “early adopter”. I was using a tablet back in the Palm days. I carried around a Handspring Visor Prism in the late 90’s, and upgraded to a Compaq iPAQ when they became available. I had broadband internet access when it was still in trial stages, and had one of the early wireless networking setups. My home is a mis-mash of technologies, gadgets, and doohickeys with cool stuff around every corner because I like to tinker with stuff.
So I like the things, especially things like Pebble Watches and Ghost Blogging Platforms that nobody else has access to.
Plus, some of these deals are waaaay too good to pass up. I am getting an original page of Jill Thompson art, and a limited edition Scary Godmother doll for less than half the price of an original page of art alone!
Secondly, I love the process of building things.
I’ve been building things for most of my life. I like to build actual physical objects like our cool shelves in the kids’ playroom, or finishing our basement. I like to build business stuff, so far I’ve co-founded two corporations, and three partnerships, as well as one solo business. I like to build websites. I’ve built more websites than I can reasonably count, and have had periods where I launched a half dozen new websites in a week.
So the process interests me, and what I love about being a backer on Kickstarter is that you get to see updates that nobody else gets to see.
With the Pebble Watch, the founders posted everything from PCB tests to die impressions on the factory floor in China.
With Double Fine’s Adventure Game, they are giving us access to an awesome behind the scenes documentary on how the game is getting made.
With Ghost we got to follow along with how progress on the software was coming.
Jill Thompson showed us actual pictures of what her house looked like after a crazy storm happened while her roof was being repaired.
With Jumpshot we got to celebrate with the gang when they got acquired by AVAST software.
With the best Kickstarter projects, you feel like you are part of the process. You provide the teams with capital, and they get to go out and make a thing.
That makes me feel pretty good about myself, and feeds the part of me that wants to see how the sausage is made.