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I Don’t Get It

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You’d think that in a marketplace of ideas, there would be so much variety in the hopes and dreams that people were trying to realize, that there wouldn’t be much in the way of repetition. You’d think that this would be where you would see real blue sky innovation occurring Apparently I am far too optimistic though, as I regularly see the same things coming up over and over. Maybe that isn’t being fair – maybe I just don’t understand how little tweeks to a core product are totally changing it and making it worthwhile, but I’m skeptical.

Want to know what projects top the charts in Kickstarter’s (apparently) most wanted?

Let’s take a look at a few of the repeat offenders:

  • Identity projects (unknown) – These are less about making a specific thing, and more about raising funds/awareness/celebrating being an X. The author is almost always in the category they are promoting, and that makes sense. These projects are pretty common, and as close as Kickstarter gets to causes. I don’t back many projects in this vein, but then people are always discriminating against miniature painters and comic book writers; we have a long history of oppression.
  • Hot Sauce (39 projects funded) – I’m not sure if so many people launch hot sauce projects because they are passionate about the family recipe, or if it is a cottage industry that is relatively easy to get into. Regardless, to date almost 40 projects have funded, and I’d estimate that at least four times that number have failed to fund.
  • Playing Cards (105 projects funded) – It has already been brought up more than once on this blog, that Kickstarter is absolutely lousy with these projects. One of the big reasons, of course, is that if you have a little art and a little money, Bicycle will do all the work. This makes the bar to entry pretty low. Do people keep buying them because of Texas hold ’em? Are these collectors items waiting to happen?

I don’t back much in the way of the above listed projects, but I see the appeal, and I understand why people back them, even if I don’t. Things that didn’t make the list include iPhone cases, iPad cases, young adult fiction, bicycle lights, and anything related to steam punk or zombies.

And this one other thing, which makes no sense to me. It is the only project category that I have seen that competes with cards. The success ration on this mystery category is far lower, but to date, 65 projects have funded. What is it we are talking about exactly? Wallets.

These wallet projects largely come in two flavors: phone cases and minimalist. In the former, people are trying to sell a fat phone case with a place to store your credit cards, and in the later they are trying to persuade you that the ability to carry around a few bucks and a dozen cards is unnecessary. Until Kickstarter I had never even heard of a minimalist wallet, but it seems like a week doesn’t go by, where you don’t see a new one appear on the recently launched pages; these are the heart breaker’s of the fashion world.

So can someone explain it to me? Why wallets? Hell, why minimalist wallets? I just don’t get it.

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This entry was posted by David Winchester.

4 thoughts on “I Don’t Get It

  1. Over on Reddit, if you look at the general flow of posts, you’ll see that one person posts a picture of something – could be a cat, a wound, a sandwich – and for some reason, people just go nuts for it. For the rest of the day, you can guarantee that similar pictures will be posted every couple of minutes, often trying to one-up the original poster.

    I think Kickstarter is like that. I think someone sees a wallet design they like getting funded and thinks “Hey, I have a great idea for that. Let’s do it in titanium.” People love bandwagons.

    Playing cards seem to be a collectable, like bottle caps or matchbook covers. A good idea and a low cost make for an easy backing. Hell, I don’t even collect card decks and I backed the “8-Bit” cards because I liked the art. It was only $6. I spend more than that on lunch some days.

    Hot sauce…that’s a bit of a different beast. There’s a whole subculture around them, and I think that’s what drives those KS projects. My personal favorite product I’ve seen so far is a Naga (Ghost Pepper) Chile-infused peanut butter. I say “favorite product” in the same way I’d say “favorite venereal disease”, of course.

    I’m surprised that miniatures didn’t make your list. It feels like every third new entry in Gaming is some new miniature line. And they damn near always fund at crazy levels. Maybe there aren’t as many as I think.

    • Fair point, and totally true. I mostly didn’t include it because I already spend enough time talking about that topic. I don’t want to bore my readers.

      If you want more time devoted to miniatures though – I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

    • Remember humans are basically herd animals, we love following the leader. 🙂

      Seriously though I agree Miniatures or Board Games with miniatures to the point where you barely mention there is a BOARD are definitely the majority in the tabletop section. I just got off the phone with Dan Yarrington from Game Salute and he mentioned that about 80% of Mini projects succeed which is a good reason to make more of them. 🙂

      So yeah you follow what works. Classic deck of cards work, minis work, silly wallets work, etc.

      Dan brought a very good question though, how many of these projects are TRULY successful though. By successful we mean break even or better. Just look at the troubles Occulist Rift, Gunship: First Strike, and Serpent’s Tongue are having on making late deliveries and cost overruns.

      In Occulist Rift’s case the Kickstarter quickly became more of an Ad than an actual project so they can lose money there and just call it an ad campaign.

      Gunship: First Strike has basically been begging for dollars to make up for cost overruns. 😐

      Serpent’s Tongue is getting overwhelmed with demands of “When will it be done” When it seems nothing on that project is finalized.

      Those are just three examples off the top of my head. :\

      So yeah can you tell I just got done with an interview and I want to write the article? 🙂

      Oh added my blogroll finally so you’re on it David! 🙂

    • Remember humans are basically herd animals, we love following the leader.

      Seriously though I agree Miniatures or Board Games with miniatures to the point where you barely mention there is a BOARD are definitely the majority in the tabletop section. I just got off the phone with Dan Yarrington from Game Salute and he mentioned that about 80% of Mini projects succeed which is a good reason to make more of them.

      So yeah you follow what works. Classic deck of cards work, minis work, silly wallets work, etc.

      Dan brought a very good question though, how many of these projects are TRULY successful though. By successful we mean break even or better. Just look at the troubles Occulist Rift, Gunship: First Strike, and Serpent’s Tongue are having on making late deliveries and cost overruns.

      In Occulist Rift’s case the Kickstarter quickly became more of an Ad than an actual project so they can lose money there and just call it an ad campaign.

      Gunship: First Strike has basically been begging for dollars to make up for cost overruns.

      Serpent’s Tongue is getting overwhelmed with demands of “When will it be done” When it seems nothing on that project is finalized.

      Those are just three examples off the top of my head. :\

      So yeah can you tell I just got done with an interview and I want to write the article?

      Oh added my blogroll finally so you’re on it David!

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