Taking the Plunge (Part 1)
It may be apparent to our readership that Caffeineforge has an interest in things Kickstarter. Though David and I have worked on creative projects together for quite sometime, the crowd-funding renaissance has afforded us an opportunity we could have scarcely imagined when we started writing together what seems like ages ago. Back then, we talked about saving our pennies to publish out of pocket, or that maybe we’d get a break, and that somewhere, someone with some clout would read something we wrote, pound on their desk, and exclaim to their assistant, “I want to see these guys in my office on Monday!” In that version of the story we discuss movie rights, points on the backend, condos in Malibu. We become rich and (somewhat) famous. We drive down Mulholland in very nice cars, very fast. We join the creative elite.
Needless to say, things didn’t quite go in that direction.
We got educated, got jobs, got busy. New responsibilities arose and others loom on the horizon. Creative stuff got put on the backburner. It was only in the last year or so that we looked up from our work and realized that whole new mechanisms for enabling creative projects have emerged, and that publishing one of our books was potentially a reality. Kickstarter, and crowd-funding in general, was chief among the developments.
One thing David and I agree on is that people who ask the Kickstarter community for their support should already be vested members of the community. And that means funding projects. David is zealous in his support of Kickstarters that he believes in. Not only has he funded, like, 40 projects, he also actively markets those projects to our friends, and, of course, on this site. His enthusiasm is amazing, and no one can deny that he is a serious booster of not only individual projects, but of the institution of crowd funding. His conviction is seriously impressive.
In contrast, there stand I. I am pretty cynical about the whole deal. I’m frugal. I like to rattle the box before I buy something. I read reviews and I try to make an informed decision before making a purchase of, well, practically anything. A fool and his money are easily parted, so they say, and mama didn’t raise no fool. So it’s been a real challenge for me to get over the hurdle that the Kickstarter model presents: of taking that leap of faith and giving away my money with the hope that it will be used to realize someone’s aspiration, and that the fruits of that will eventually make their way to me.
So, it is with some amount of shame that I confess that I have not yet invested in a Kickstarter project.
I know, I know: to the pillory I slink. But really, it has been hard for me to find a project that I really want to invest in. Unlike a lot of children of the eighties and nineties, the nostalgia bug hasn’t bitten me, so the endless retro-clone videogames and RPG’s just don’t speak to me. Some of the board games look impressive, but where to put them, and who to play with (and with what time)? It’s amazing how few music Kickstarters let you listen to the music before you buy in. Someone once said, “talking about music is like dancing about architecture,” and they were right! I don’t really need a hipstamatic photo book, or a karmic stake in a raw food joint 2500 miles away… You get the idea.
That said, like David, I do believe that I need to put my money where my mouth is. So I’m taking the plunge. I have a million reasons not to invest in other people’s projects. Some are valid, others less so. But if I’m going to ask the community to come out for us, I have to come out for the community. I’m on the hunt for a project to pop my crowd-funding cherry. I hope it will be the first of many projects I give my support. In my next article, I will talk about the process of finding that project, how it spoke to me, and why I think you should probably invest in it too. And in the meantime, if you have a Kickstarter, or know someone with one, why not drop me a line and point me in the right direction? I could use the help.