I’ve been enjoying Kickstarter for years. I recently passed the 75 projects backed mark. One of the things that I find fascinating, but do not enjoy, are the people how act as if Kickstarter is some sort of slow version of Amazon.

I’d say the majority of the projects that I’ve backed have been put on by individual game developers (either tabletop, boardgames or video games) who may or may not have day jobs and are usually not business people. This comes with some risks and those risks are played out quite plainly in the Kickstarter Terms of Use, particularly in the How Projects Work section.

Things that happen:

  • Project delays
  • Projects change direction
  • There are funding issues

Delays happen with nearly every project that I’ve backed. And that’s probably chalked up to the fact that an individual, creative person is not someone who is great at realistic estimations of the creative process. You know creative people, they’re not project managers and they’re even worse at project managing themselves. The Nomiku Wifi Kickstarter went way due from an established company who had already made other similar products through crowd funding. They did a fantastic job of communicating the delays, the reasons for them, and their adjusted forecasted timelines. Delays happen all the time. And it’s the chief complaint that I see in the comments section of projects. And if you don’t like that, crowd funding things isn’t for you.

Only a few projects I’ve backed have had any substantial change after funding. But it has happened. If you don’t like that, crowd funding things isn’t for you.

Crowd funding issues is the one area that has come up and has sometimes burnt down projects. Sometimes it’s from mismanagement of resources during development, but frequently it’s from a bad forecast of costs. Codex Infernus: The Savage Guide to Hell (Revised) had an initial Kickstarter launch that it cancelled after only a few days after realizing that it had put it’s financial marks in the wrong place. This is the best time to come to this realization and they handled it great. Other projects, not so well. Of the projects that I’ve backed and they’ve failed to yield any final product of any note, it’s because of this. And it happens, and if you don’t like that, crowd funding things isn’t for you.

I’m writing all of this because of a recent update from Will Hindmarch’s Project: Dark. It’s probably the most painful Kickstarter project update I’ve read to date. The author remarks on ongoing personal issues that he’s had and the stresses of the project and how he’s handling refund requests and how those refund requests could result in the crippling or demise of the project.

Here are things that are true:

  • His project is now overdue by coming up on two years.
  • He’s been hit or miss on communicating with his backers.
  • The project continues to look amazing.
  • 90% (I did the math) of his backers backed at $35 or less.

If you are backing a project with anything other than disposable income, crowd funding things isn’t for you. There have been some very angry people in the comments and probably even worse in direct communication with the author over less than $35 that is put into a site that doesn’t promise you’ll get anything on the far side. It’s a gamble, and if you don’t like that, well … you get it at this point.

Vice’s MOTHERBOARD has an article from Jason Koebler, “Kickstarter’s Biggest Shitshow Somehow Got Even Messier”, which includes a screen shot of a death threat posted in a project’s comments from a Anthony Spano, who hopefully has been banned from Kickstarter, and the rest of the Internet forever.

My point in all of this is:

If you want something right now, don’t do crowd funding.
If you want something cool to exist at some point in the future that doesn’t exist now, do crowd funding.