Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kickstarter Is A Good Will Pick

There is barely a week that goes by when someone around here doesn't peruse the ideas and innovations on Kickstarter. And every week on Kickstater, we're not alone. Tens of thousands of people make pledges to fund music, film, art, technology, design, food, and publishing projects.

For the artists, musicians, and creative talents found there, it's a dream come true. They receive enough funding to get their projects off the ground. And for the people who help fund them, anything and everything is possible — from film credits and limited edition prints to prototypes and finished products.

It's the creatives' way of saying thank you, and you help make it happen. 

It doesn't happen every time, mind you. According to Kickstarter, a little less than half (44 percent) of the participants meet their funding goals. And for those who don't, no money ever changes hands — freeing up any pledges for some other idea, album, or DYI project.

This all-or-nothing funding model might sound harsh on the front end. But it's an incredibly bright idea. The growing Kickstarter team of 28 in New York City wants to make sure any project will be completed. And since Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler founded Kickstarter, they've done an amazing job doing exactly that. More than 10,000 projects have gotten off the ground.

It also helps artists reign in what they really need. After all, it's easier to fund smaller requests, even if some receive two or three or four times the initial ask. Anything is possible before the pledge deadline lapses — including a bridge between the artists and patrons, stronger than anything we've seen.

Three brilliantly creative projects being made possible at Kickstarter. 

Of course, the best way to appreciate Kickstarter isn't always to talk about the platform, but rather the people and their projects on it. It's their work that fuels interest and inspiration. Here are three.

Makeshift Magazine. While most people think that print is dying or dead, it didn't stop Steve Daniels from listing his idea for a quarterly magazine and multimedia website about creativity in unlikely places.

What's especially unique about the magazine is its emphasis on environments where resources are scarce and creativity is born from necessity. The first issue focuses on recycled art and adaptive reuse all over the world. Makeshift not only reached its funding goal; it doubled its initial ask.

Sensu Brush. Although the concept seemed to be a bit more of a risk, given our experiences with other iPad styluses, sometimes you have to take a chance. The Sensu Brush is an authentic brush for use with  drawing and painting apps on the iPhone or iPad. If it works, you'll likely see it make a return visit.

The innovative concept brings the tech tool that much closer to a true tactical experience for the iPad. What helped win me over was some of the other (non-tech) products made by Art Hardware. As a design consultancy, it will be interesting to see how Sensu Brush stacks up. The Sensu Brush has since doubled its initial ask.

Creatures — The Card Game. Brand new with 38 days to go, the creative card game challenges people to match up the front, middle, and back of some 28 animals tucked inside the 84-card deck. Even more interesting, you don't have to match up the animal exactly. You can make up your own.

Once you make up a new and zany animal, you pit it against your opponents. May the best animal win. Clever? Creatures - The Card Game is the creation of Tyler and Angie Panian of Long Beach, California. Tyler came up with the idea and Angie has lent some striking minimalist artwork for the animals. As of yesterday, the project had pledges accounting for 12 percent of its goal. Maybe you can help fund Creatures too.

Kickstarter Is A Good Will Pick By Liquid Hip. 

At least once a month, Liquid [Hip] highlights good will efforts undertaken by courageous people with big hearts. We don't score them. That belongs to you. 

These three picks on Kickstarter haven't been the only projects we've backed since the beginning of the year. We've also backed a comic by Jeff McComsey and an album by Mary Lou Lord, among others. But that's the best part of Kickstarter. You can find and fund whatever projects you like. 

While Kickstarter does retain a percent of any project's funding (about 5 percent), it's relatively modest considering all the good they've done. Even better, artists and innovators who aren't funded are never charged for trying. And that means more to us than anything. In fact, if we did score it, Kickstarter would easily hit a perfect 10.
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