It’s true — the stated purposed of the project is to help men dress better. But is that really the reason why people are backing? Personally I’d be surprised if that’s been the motivation behind a single pledge. So why back him? Don’t we spend our money on things we need or want? How in the world could Jesse have raised more than $10,000? And in this economy, no less.
But we know why. Those people backed Jesse’s project because they like him, because they read his blog, because he lives down the street, because they liked the pilot episode, because they think he’s talented, because they know how hard it is to make something great, because a friend asked them to, because they forgot his birthday, because his project is good.
There are too many reasons to count, and none of them have anything to do with need or want. Instead, they’re about Jesse. That’s a very powerful thing. He’s offering rewards so value is still being exchanged, and want and status do come into play there. But the primary motivators are empathy, kinship, community — concepts that marketplaces normally bulldoze, but here powerful. Just look at what they’ve accomplished already.
It’s a different kind of consumerism. It rewards sincerity, originality, and creativity instead of profit projections and merchandising opportunities (though I would happily back any project that involved a lunchbox). It grants everyone involved the ability to determine the equation — including the unique power to define what’s a commodity and what’s not. And it’s a better feeling, too. I’ll back another 500 music projects on Kickstarter before I’ll buy another CD.
There’s something weirdly intimate about it. I like you and what you do, so I promise to give you some money and you promise to mail me something in return. It’s personal, not transactional. Here’s a great example. My desk, right now:
Sitting in front of my monitor: an origami sailboat I got in the mail this week from Emily Richmond, who I helped to sail around the world. Next to them are two tiny fabric houses mailed to me by Amy Wilson. They have real meaning to me. They’re mementos that I’ll always keep — and yet they’re from complete strangers. They weren’t even gifts — I paid for them!
It’s easy to be cynical. The projects are small, the scale is tiny, it’s just some weird Brooklyn thing. But there’s scale in authenticity and there’s scale in passion. As we say first thing on the Learn More page:
We believe that…
A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
It all starts from there.