When the whole Kickstarter thing started, I went through a number of phases. First, it’s a neat idea and it leverages some of the stuff that makes the internet great. Second, as my systems analyst brain started chewing on it, I had some reservations… but that was shortlived as, third, some really interesting stuff started getting funded. Here are some of the ones I’m looking forward to:

  • Singularity & Co. – Save the SciFi! – Yeah, so you’ll be seeing a lot of my nerdy pursuits represented here, and this one is particularly interesting. This is a project dedicated to saving SF books that are out of print, out of circulation, and, ironically, unavailable in any sort of digital format. The Kickstarter is funding the technical solution for scanning the books as well as tracking down and securing copyright. Judging from the response (over $50,000), this is a venture that has found a huge base of support, and I’m really looking forward to discovering some of these books (some of which are from well known authors, like Arthur C. Clarke).
  • A Show With Ze Frank – One of the craziest things I’ve seen on the internet is Ze Frank’s The Show. Not just the content, which is indeed crazy, but the sheer magnitude of what he did – a video produced every weekday for an entire year. Ze Frank grew quite a following at the time, and in fact, half the fun was his interactions with the fans. Here’s to hoping that Sniff, hook, rub, power makes another appearance. And at $146 thousand, I have no idea what we’re in for. I always wondered how he kept himself going during the original show, but now at least he’ll be funded.
  • Oast House Hop Farm – And now we come to my newest obsession: beer. This is a New Jersey farm that’s seeking to convert a (very) small portion of their land into a Hop Farm. Hops in the US generally come from the west coast (Washington’s Yakima valley, in particular). In the past, that wasn’t the case, but some bad luck (blights and infestations) brought east coast hops down, then Prohibition put a nail in the coffin. The farm hopes to supply NJ brewers as well as homebrewers, so mayhaps I’ll be using some of their stuff in the future! So far, they’ve planted Cascade and Nugget hops, with Centennial and Newport coming next. I’m really curious to see how this turns out. My understanding is that it takes a few years for a hop farm to mature, and that each crop varies. I wonder how the East Coast environs will impact the hops…
  • American Beer Blogger – Despite the apparent failure of Discovery’s Brewmasters, there’s got to be room for some sort of beer television show, and famous beer blogger and author Lew Bryson wants to give it a shot. The Kickstarter is just for the pilot episode, but assuming things go well, there may be follow up efforts. I can only hope it turns out well. I enjoyed Brewmasters for what it was, but being centered on Dogfish Head limited it severely. Sam Calagione is a great, charismatic guy, but the show never really captured the amazing stuff going on in the US right now (which is amazing because it is so broad and local and a million other things Brewmasters couldn’t really highlight given its structure).

Well, there you have it. I… probably should have been linking to these before they were funded, but whatever, I’m really happy to see that all of these things will be coming. I’m still curious to see if this whole Kickstarter thing will remain sustainable, but I guess time will tell, and for now, I’m pretty happy with the stuff being funded. There are definitely a ton of other campaigns that I think are interesting, especially surrounding beer and video games, but I’m a little tight on time here, so I’ll leave it at that…

2 thoughts on “Kickstarted”

  1. I completely agree about the Brewmasters show. I was really disappointed that it wasn’t going to showcase many different brewers, although I do think there was one episode about a collaboration beer.

    I had never heard of Kickstarter until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled upon a really neat video game trailer with awesome animation and vikings that got funding in record time. I totally cannot recall the name and it may end up being a multi-player thing I will never buy, but I still watched the whole trailer and if it hadn’t already been funded, I might have been convinced.

    If Kickstarter is successful, I wonder how long it will take until bigger companies start their own versions of the process and fire some of their marketing research type people?

  2. Like I said, I enjoyed Brewmasters for what it was, but I would have loved to have gotten a look at all sorts of other brewers and personalities in the industry. The linked show may not quite get the same production values, but maybe it can catch on…

    There’s a game company called Double Fine that is using Kickstarter to fund their development efforts, and it’s an interesting model. It’s sort of like pre-selling the game, then using the presales to fund development.

    Interesting point about the whole market research thing, it will certainly be interesting to see how this concept continues to evolve.

    There’s a strange sort of dynamic at play with Kickstarter. The potential is for small acts and artists to fund their work, but the most successful Kickstarters are the ones driven by a very well known entity. It’s pretty rare for something that is simply a good idea to get a huge response – one exception being the Singularity & Co. thing I mentioned. But even that is promising to save big name works like stuff by Arthur C. Clarke, and they seem to have gained some internets cred with big SF folk (that’s how I stumbled across it anyway)…

    Anyway, the idea is that you have to have some sort of following already in order to get funded. But there’s probably a limit to that. I imagine that Microsoft would have trouble getting something funded via Kickstarter, for instance;p

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