This Week in Kickstarter

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Niamh and Sofia of "Why Can't I Be a Sushi?"
Niamh and Sofia of "Why Can't I Be a Sushi?"

Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter (TWiK?), our periodic rundown of what’s been happening on and around the site. This installment comes during an extremely eventful week. For one thing, we spent yesterday officially launching a great new feature called Spotlight, which you’re welcome to learn about right here. For another, Zayn quit One Direction. It is a little hard to concentrate right now but here goes.

Contentious! Listen. I can’t speak with absolute certainty, but I’m fairly confident that a Kickstarter project has never before been discussed in great depth in the stock-market research on Barron’s. And yet here we are, thanks to the week’s newsiest project, Billion Dollar Bully. What’s the simple, super-objective way of describing it all? We’ll restrict ourselves to the following list of facts.

  • Many business owners have complaints about the website Yelp, and feel Yelp conducts its relationships with them in an unfair, coercive, or even bullying manner. Yelp feels those accusations are unfounded and factually incorrect.
  • Kaylie Milliken, the director of Billion Dollar Bully, is funding a documentary to examine the issue. At some point, as the two-minute trailer for her unfinished film circulated around the internet, Yelp’s stock price decreased, in a way that some sources claimed was connected to news of the film project.
  • Milliken appeared, opposite a spokesperson from Yelp, in a CNBC segment to discuss the film. Yesterday, she did a Reddit AMA to discuss further.
  • Meanwhile, I had dinner last night at Comodo, a terrific local restaurant that raised funds on Kickstarter and has positive reviews on Yelp. Fact: It was an incredibly good dinner.

Favorite creator username of the week: sailorhg, the woman behind BubbleSort, a terrific-looking series of computer science zines.

COVENish goods
COVENish goods

Nous <3 Montréal. The folks behind COVEN MTL are putting together a boutique on wheels — a fashion truck to roll through festivals and cultural events in the city with a selection of great items from local brands. “I think it’s a really cool idea!” says a former Montrealer here in the office. She’s also charmed by this project for a storytelling game from Montreal’s Productions Katharsis.

The opposite of contentious! Up top, there's an image from a documentary we’re really taken with: Why Can’t I Be a Sushi?, from London-based director Hoda Yahya Elsoudani. It’s about two young sisters — Niamh’s 10, Sofia’s 8 — trying to wrap their heads around something incredibly serious and weighty: the sometimes-bloody conflicts between different groups of Muslims. How can you explain to an eight-year-old why Sunni and Shia would be at odds? What can you tell a child hearing news reports about ISIS?

The footage we see in Elsoudani’s trailer — as the girls talk to religious figures, scholars, believers, political pundits, and more — is really something. Niamh and Sofia have that quality kids have when approaching weighty issues, the one people sometimes write off as innocence or naivete. It’s neither, really: a lot of times, it’s more like a basic commitment to fairness, an ability to see through adult-sounding cant and nonsense, and an untarnished belief that it’s better for people to be happy and at peace with one another. It’ll be fascinating to see the end result of the project, watch the two process everything they hear (“That guy was wrong!” one insists), and see through their eyes what harmony looks like.

Best t-shirt reward from a non-fashion project? The $20 reward tier for Awakening, a project to translate the 1933 novel Zartonk, a key work in the history of Armenian culture and national identity. Nice, right?

Cool tweets from cool tweeters. We’ve actually been playing a lot of Slowdive around the office lately, which made it extra-fun to see the reunited dreampop band tweeting about this project’s very fetching laser-cut jewelry. We have not, for some dumb reason, been sitting around watching a lot of the television classic Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, but we were equally psyched to see star Jonathan Katz tweeting about this music project. (PSA: Lovers of Bob’s Burgers may want to trace those folks’ work back via Home Movies and into Katz-land.)

This post is dedicated to the memory of Zayn being in One Direction.

    1. William on

      What is the topic?
      Where is your Complaint Box?
      I have a complait about Kickstarters page Format changes. THEY SUCK BIG TIME.
      Please stop with this "Floating [Campaign - Updates - Comments] Bar" below the opening videos.
      It really aggravates the heck out of many of us. Just go back to the format 16+ months ago. This one is always screwing up and stretches to odd sizes.

      I FRICKEN HATE IT. Stop changing formats just to change. It's NOT better.

      Thank you for your time.

    2. Ani Ani on

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      Namaku Keren on

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      teguhbejo on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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