I’ve only recently become aware of Kickstarter, I follow The Russians Used A Pencil blog when back in October last year they started the Glif project.
I was fascinated by their process and although I didn’t fund the project (by the time I got around to reading about it, it had already reached 100%), I did buy myself a Glif from their website afterwards.
Jon and Thomas recently started a new project, The Cosmonaut which is again using Kickstarter to fund (and again reached its target very quickly). I’m not sure I’d ever use a stylus with my iPad, although Fraser Spiers talked about using his as a digital whiteboard in the classroom which I thought was a very good idea.
I’ve since started looking at Kickstarter in a little more detail and I think it is an absolutely wonderful system. It has that “Oh my god, if I had that idea I could have built that myself!” thing going for it, which I love - it’s not about the technology or the fancy graphical design or the marketing; it’s all about the idea.
Kickstarter connects people that are interested in something with other people who are doing things in that field. I browsed around the Discover section and saw project after project that had absolutely no interest to me whatsoever, but were fully funded, or nearly fully funded which I think is absolutely fantastic.
This one in particular; Rest stops of America caught my eye. I like to dabble in photography, so was curious as to the sorts of things people were trying to fund - continuing a trip around the US to document old rest stops. As a resident of the UK, this project holds no interest to me at all, but what a wonderful idea. Lizzy Oppenheimer is passionate about documenting these things, and so far, 193 people are also passionate enough about it to have pledged over $250 in some cases! Fantastic. Rest Stops hasn’t quite gotten to its target yet, although there is still time and I’ll keep an eye on it.
The thing that I like most about Kickstarter though is that it forces people to plan their dreams, it encourages actual project management. Sure, turn your dream into a reality, build a dress building robot computer, but you’ll need to plan it out, think about costs of materials, labour, packaging.
Being able to put a price on your dream is probably the most important part of making it happen. Sitting down and planning it and working out the costs of the various stages makes any project more likely to succeed.