I Believe Introductions Are in Order…
Greetings new friends and old!
My name is James Yee, and it’s a pleasure to speak with you today here in the Caffeineforge about one of my favorite subjects, me! More specifically me and my support and love of Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general. Crowdfunding is such a classic way of getting funding done with a modern twist that I can’t help but be excited about it!
Like many of the other first generation Kickstarter backers I came into the system through games, though unlike probably the vast majority of them it wasn’t videogames that brought me into Kickstarter, it was board games. Specifically it was “Gunship: First Strike” that brought me over the “eh that’s interesting” line into a full fledged backer. I soon became involved with Serpent’s Tongue and of course Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun, FTL, Mobile Frame Zero and Republique. I was hooked! It became so bad that I had to step back and even semi-block the site to get myself back under control.
Once I regained my senses I realize there were plenty of projects beyond these biggies that I had never heard of. Many for obviously good reasons since they were crap, but others by friends and old acquaintances that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about. How could these lesser heard of projects get the word out? How were the bigger ones getting the word out? I had noticed a trend in what made a “Good” Kickstarter but I wasn’t sure if I was correct so I decided to start asking around to see what those “in the trenches” really thought.
Actually it started off worse than those simple words make it sound. It actually started off with me completely trashing a project called, “Graphic Novel/American Manga.” Honestly looking at it now it STILL annoys me and I kind of think I was too nice about it. Honestly click on the link and find out why I said something along the lines of, “it is listings like this that make me not want to check out the comics section of Kickstarter.” What makes this story even worse? I linked my words to the creator directly and because I made my comments “public” she got pissed at me. Even though she said she’d fix the stuff I mentioned! Obviously she did nothing I suggested and of course look how well her project did. That ALL said, it led me to an interesting discussion, if I’m such a smart arse why don’t I help other Kickstarter projects? Why don’t I figure out what really works? Challenge accepted!
I lined up interviews with both successful and failed projects. I started asking questions about the motivations and the advertising, anything and everything I could think of. In the end it was the interview I did with Lifport Group’s CEO Michael Laine that really got the ball rolling. He treated me like an honest to goodness reporter while also being a fountain of wisdom when it came to all things Kickstarter. Along with my wife, my Google+ friends, and a bit of self-motivation I was driven to take on a challenge unlike any I had ever attempted before. The idea was to go beyond my dozen or so interviews, and actually pull out two work weeks worth of interviews. Simple right? 10 interviews for 10 days. As most projects don’t respond to interview requests I figured I’d throw out 3 times as many requests as I figure I’d need. So 32 requests or so later I have 22 affirmative responses! Needless to say I was flabbergasted but undeterred! With the power of multiple 12 hour midshifts and lots of caffeine I was able to interview, edit, and post all of those interviews to my new blog thereby giving a home to my work and a chance for lesser known creators to get their projects “out there.”
In the end it’s all about the people, and Kickstarter is just one of the great ways people are connecting with one another to create new things. Every little thing I can do to help those with a passion and a drive to create is worth it in my eyes. So I continue to try and bring new and interesting Kickstarter projects, and more importantly the people behind them, to a wider audience. I look forward to sharing some of those interesting stories here with you fine folks.