Kickstarter Syndrome

I will freely admit this will be a contrarian stance to how most backers on Kickstarter feel, regardless, here we go.

I used to back a fair number of Kickstarter projects and to me while it is disappointing to not get a reward delivered, it’s not the end of the world. I pledged to support an idea, a dream, with the hope of seeing it reach fruition. I’m more disappointed in seeing those dreams fail than I am in not getting a shiny trinket that will most likely end up on my shelf within a few months.

When a project misses their initial deadline, I don’t mind. They always do. Seriously. On average each project I backed that ended up delivering a reward was 8 months and 11 days behind schedule. Six projects have yet to deliver years later, including the first project I ever backed. Two of the projects have come forward and explained that they have failed and will not be delivering rewards. Two more have admitted to running out of money and claim to be pursuing additional sources of funding. When backers start flipping out a few weeks to a couple months after the estimated ship date comes and goes I can’t help but laugh. Lighten up. If you wanted something in time for Christmas, go to Amazon and order it, if you wanted ownership in a company, invest in the stock market. Calm down and take a deep breath, Internet, you’re embarrassing yourself.

If I had a nickel for every time I read a comment threatening a class action lawsuit in retaliation to a product being delayed I would have mountains of cash to invest in more Kickstarter projects. Kickstarter is no longer this obscure platform, it’s a household name, but there still seems to be a huge amount of misconception as to what exactly you’re doing when you pledge to support a project. You’re not pre-ordering a product (to be fair, some projects are to blame for this misconception since they do use wording like pre-order), you’re offering up funding to help someone hopefully reach their goal of producing a product and as a reward for believing in them you might get a t-shirt or a copy of the book they’re writing, etc. While I believe (and Kickstarter’s own guidelines support this) that the creators should make every possible effort to deliver those rewards I do not believe the angry mob of the internet is justified in trying to ruin those creators lives who bit off more than they could chew.

To me, Kickstarter is a platform to inspire creativity and offer a non-traditional solution to those dreamers out there who don’t fit the venture capital mold, or aren’t business loan material. They’re taking a risk putting themselves out there, we’re sharing in that risk believing in them. This piece is not intended to present a bulletproof argument against every situation, just convey one nerd’s opinion on the matter. You are entitled to disagree and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter either way.