Introducing the Kickstarter Thought Leaders

We at Kickstarter love sharing what we know about how Kickstarter works, but there are only so many of us, and we can't be everywhere. So we've recruited some great creators to help us, and we're calling them Kickstarter Thought Leaders.

Kickstarter Thought Leaders are an international group of creators from the Kickstarter community who are celebrated as leaders in their fields, and for their creative successes and community influence. Among them, they’ve won numerous awards, had work collected by major institutions, published several books, and teach at a handful of prestigious universities. To date, they’ve raised $3,010,897 from 35,437 backers across their 26 combined Kickstarter projects.

We’ve selected them for their wisdom, experience, and standout contributions to creative culture at large.

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Guest Post: Games Creator James Hudson on Marketing Your Campaign Before You Launch

We were excited when Druid City Games’ second Kickstarter project, Grimm Forest, launched a few weeks ago. We were even more excited when it funded in just under three hours, and we saw backers commending the page for its concise and well-planned layout, beautiful artwork, and great use of GIFs. We spoke to James Hudson, one of the game’s creators, about his team’s strategy for generating so much buzz around the project from day one.

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Introducing Guest Pledging

At Kickstarter, we’re always looking for new ways to support creative projects. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Guest Pledging. Pledging to a project used to mean that new users had to register for a Kickstarter account, which may have been a hurdle for some new backers. With the launch of Guest Pledging, people who choose not to create an account now have the option to pledge as a Guest, giving creators the opportunity to reach a whole new audience of supporters.

One of the best things about supporting creators on Kickstarter is getting a behind-the-scenes look at the project as it takes shape, and Guest backers get to follow along like anyone else. In addition, they’ll receive creator messages, project updates, and reward surveys like all backers.

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Celebrating 10,000 Funded Games Projects

Inside the Kickstarter Games Castle at PAX East this month.
Inside the Kickstarter Games Castle at PAX East this month.

The day after Kickstarter launched in 2009, Eric Berlin launched Kickstarter’s very first Games project, offering to make nine interconnected crossword puzzles. "I'd love to see this work, if only to prove that puzzlemakers can connect directly with an audience that loves great puzzles," he wrote. He found his proof — in the form of 163 backers.

Since then, Games creators and backers have connected over and over again. In fact, we just topped a nice round milestone: 10,000 Games projects have been successfully funded on Kickstarter.

How did this happen? Well, it's all about people: 2.46 million of them have backed a Games project, pledging a total of $613 million. And 1.45 million of those supporters have backed more than one. Those are the backers we talk about when we talk about our Games community: the ones who return to Kickstarter again and again to discover and support new ideas. 

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A Better View of the Future

When the National Endowment for the Arts was formed in 1965, Congress called on society to support “cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future.” Today, as news breaks that the National Endowment for the Arts faces elimination, that better view of the future just dimmed.

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Finding a Way Forward on Kickstarter: BeeLine

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Thomas Edison famously observed, "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."  Sometimes, perspiration is even the genesis of that inspiration.

In 2014 a sweaty Mark Jenner arrived late to meet his friend Tom Putnam after getting lost cycling through the circuitous streets of London, England. He was hot, frustrated, and determined to figure out a better approach to bike navigation. This led the two of them to go to work on BeeLine, a handlebar-mounted gadget that eschews traditional turn-by-turn directions in favor of a simple, compass-like arrow that points to a destination, giving riders the freedom to explore and set their own routes.

Now that BeeLine is out in the world and garnering rave reviews from the likes of Wired, the Guardian, and Engadget, we asked Tom and Mark to reflect on their journey and the many people who helped them along the way. There were engineers and designers who refined their initial prototypes into a functional, beautiful device; production partners who guided them through their first manufacturing experience; and more than 3,000 backers who supported their Kickstarter campaign, providing the financial resources and collective vote of confidence they needed to move forward. 

"We made some good human connections with the backers," Mark notes. They even hired their current CTO, Chet, after first meeting him as a backer of the campaign. (Chet's job is just one of an estimated 29,600 new full-time creative careers Kickstarter projects have created, according to a report last year from the University of Pennsylvania.)

Check out the video above to learn more about how these two friends found their way to success with a clever idea, some hard work, and a lot of helping hands.

Do you live to ride? Explore more creative bike projects or start your own.

See what BeeLine's up to now.