Monday, January 6, 2014

Kickstarter Musings

Crowdfunding is one of the hot phrases these days, and unlike other big internet trends (does anyone still use eBay?) I’m confident it’s here to stay. It is one of those things that make me think: “Oh, of course. That is exactly the kind of thing the internet is meant for.” The ability to pluralize support, to let an actual sample market decide from the ground floor what projects are worth starting, is a big deal. Especially for niche ideas with a smaller, but vocal and passionate audience. It is no wonder that two of the top ten most funded projects are tabletop miniature products! On Kickstarter, a project’s success is fueled by people’s vocal enthusiasm, and few groups are more passionate than tabletop gamers!

Kickstarter is, in some ways, a barometer for a product’s potential success. And while some ideas that fail on Kickstarter go on to be successful through other means, there are at least as many successful projects that simply wouldn't or couldn't have happened without a crowdfunding option. I suspect that crowdfunding, though in its infancy, is also in a golden age. I mean, just take a look at the funding rate of Kickstarter projects. I expect that kind of sweeping success will actually level off a bit over time as the craze dies down and backers get a clearer and clearer picture of what proposals seem legit and which are likely to leave them hanging. People are pretty good at parsing out what is a cash-grab and what is a legitimate rallying cry for cool stuff, but I think we’re going to get better at it. Either way, it is informing businesses and even big filmmakers to try doing things a different way. It will be neat to see how companies grow, change, and are informed by this trend.

Deciding to go the Kickstarter route was an easy choice. Hero Forge is one of those projects that needs Kickstarter. That isn't the case for many projects you see up there. I can barely count the number of projects that are 100% already finished, using Kickstarter simply as a tool to pre-sell their products. I can see why those types of campaigns are appealing and there is definitely a place for them. We’re among those who are using Kickstarter to build a service. One of the upsides of that is, rather than simply covering manufacturing costs to produce more of something for cheaper, the amount of funding we receive will be directly related to how many bells, whistles we can provide. Unlike some other projects, the more funding we get, the better a product we can produce right away.

Anyway, that’s something I've been musing on for a while during my research!

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