Nothing Down

Let’s try something a little different. I’ve taken a few looks at Kickstarter in the past, but I’ve always either looked at specific projects or a group of similar projects. Today, I’d like to look at a few proposals that have just been launched and have yet to receive any pledges. Why? Maybe we can find something worth supporting.

First up: First Lego League: Masters of Missions. This group from Amsterdam wants to create a solar-powered laptop for Third World countries. They’re seeking 500 Euros. There’s nothing in the proposal explaining what makes their planned laptop better than any of the existing laptops or Raspberry Pi based systems intended for the Third World. The proposal is poorly written: confusing and loaded with misspellings. Not what we’re looking for.

Moving on. Singing Owl Bath & Body is a proposal from a “stay at home mome with two kids”. Kerry wants to make and sell homemade bath products because she’s always been unhappy with the commercially-available options. She thinks $500 will let her create and market an entire line of products. Leaving aside her rather optimistic assessment of the barriers to launching multiple products, she doesn’t explain why her products would be any more satisfying than anything else on the market, including the many varieties of artisan and small-producer soaps. Good luck, Kerry, but I think you need to rethink your plan.

Next up, Kaneida is seeking 5,000 pounds to create a “cutting edge” Mobile Stock Management System. The funds will finance project design and the initial development. They’ll be back later looking for six or seven times as much money to actually produce the software. Another case of wild optimism–their planned software will be so flexible it can support anything “from a small bike rental company in India to a multinational managing stock in Russia” and compete head-to-head with every other stock management system already on the market. (Hint, guys: there are a heck of a lot more than two already out there.) Pass.

Joseph is looking for $5,000 to support his game store. He says that in two years he’s been unable to make a go of the business, but that an infusion of cash will allow him to add inventory, which should “keep us open long enough to get over our financial struggle”. I’m unclear why he thinks a small infusion of cash will solve all the problems he’s been unable to surmount in the last two years.

[Name withheld] is looking for $500,000 to promote her cure for dyslexia. I’m not linking this piece of nonsense. There are no unbiased studies of the program’s effectiveness and the proposal is loaded with unsupported claims of wild effectiveness and financial savings for schools that would buy the program. Let’s face it, if this scheme were anything close to the effectiveness it claims, the company behind it would be swamped with investors.

Here’s something a little different: something I can actually get behind. Jay creating a line of bookplates. He’s a professional artist and half of the designs are already complete. He’s seeking $840, and–as best I can tell–will be selling primarily to backers of the Kickstarter project; he’s doing this more for fun and personal satisfaction than commercial gain. His art style doesn’t appeal to me, but that’s a matter of personal taste. Take a look and if you like his style, toss a few bucks his way.

Thank you, Jay, for restoring my faith in Kickstarter.