Studying Kickstarter

In just six years, more than 250,000 ideas have sought community and existence through Kickstarter. Some never got out of the gate. Many did. There have been Academy Award and GRAMMY wins; deals with book publishers, record labels, movie studios, and tech companies; tens of thousands of performances and concerts; and millions of rewards in backers’ mailboxes.

The Kickstarter community plays a meaningful role in stimulating the creative economy. But how meaningful? And in what ways? These are things we want to better understand.

Over the last several months, Kickstarter has been collaborating with a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania to explore this further. Professor Ethan Mollick has been studying Kickstarter independently for several years, and with our support, he’s now created two surveys designed to produce a clearer picture of the outcomes of projects on Kickstarter, and the impact they have on culture and the economy.

We have recently begun to reach out to you, the Kickstarter community, with an invitation to take these surveys. One is for a sample of project creators. The other is for a sample of project backers. If you are a recipient of one of these surveys, we hope you take the time to participate. Your insights will play a very important role in helping all of us better understand the impact of the Kickstarter community, and what it means for creative communities around the world. And later in the year we will share what he’s learned.

You can learn more about the surveys and Professor Mollick’s research here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out:

Announcing the 2015 Kickstarter Film Fest!

Not just Brooklyn. Not just L.A. For the first time ever, we’re bringing the annual Kickstarter Film Festival to 32 theaters around the U.S.! It’s our biggest festival yet, and we can’t wait to show you another selection of amazing, independent films that were made with Kickstarter. It’s one night only, so clear October 15 on your calendar and head this way to RSVP at a theater near you. (It’s free!) 

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The Process: Making Deviled Eggs with Leanne Brown

Leanne Brown's massively successful Kickstarter project Good and Cheap is a cookbook for people with very tight budgets. Brown's project, which she ran on a get-one-give-one model, became the most-funded cookbook ever on Kickstarter (an honor it still holds!), and she ended up donating over 12,000 copies of the book to individuals and families in need through organizations across the US and Canada. You can get a print copy or a PDF download at her site here. We asked Brown if she'd share a recipe from Good and Cheap so we can get a taste (pun intended) — she came back at us with eight variations of deviled eggs.

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Guest Post: The Massive Sculptures of the Enchanted Highway

The Enchanted Highway is a 30-mile stretch of road in North Dakota in a town called Regent. Along the road drivers will find Gary Greff's massive, fantastical scrap metal sculptures depicting deer, birds, and all kinds of creatures. Greff has been making these sculptures since 1989, and his newest, a huge spider's web made of metal, is currently live on Kickstarter. The below is an interview conducted by Jackson Ridl, who grew up in awe of the sculptures and is now a personal friend of Greff's.

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A Few Tips on Creating a Good Video

A video is one of the first things your backers will see — but that doesn't mean it needs to be a big production. Use your video to connect with your backers, keep it simple, and just talk about what you're making and why you're making it. Above, a host of successful Kickstarter creators give tips on what to do to make your video a compelling one, no matter what your budget. 

The Smithsonian and Kickstarter

(Mark Avino, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)
(Mark Avino, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)

Kickstarter is a place that honors creativity, past and present. We celebrate creators who are shaping the future — but we can’t begin to think about what lies ahead without looking back. By supporting the work of preserving and sharing cultural artifacts, we can inspire future innovators to keep making amazing things.

That’s why we’re so excited to be working with the Smithsonian Institution and its museums as they launch a series of projects on Kickstarter — our first such partnership. The Smithsonian’s first project, from the National Air & Space Museum, focuses on the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong as he stepped off a ladder and became the first person on the moon.

The suit is highly fragile, so it’s had to be kept in storage. The museum plans to conserve the suit, digitally scan it, and return it to public display ahead of the moon landing’s 50th anniversary in 2019. Backers of the project can follow that process and get unique rewards, including mission patches, behind-the-scenes tours, and the scan data so they can make their own 3D prints of Neil’s glove.

Kickstarter is a great way to invite people to be part of the work you’re doing. And when your work involves world-changing artifacts like this, that's a pretty amazing invitation! The “Reboot the Suit” project will let people around the world get involved, even if they aren’t able to visit the museum. And it’s a way for the Smithsonian to reach a broad new audience. Our Kickstarter community is passionate about culture, technology, innovation, and the points where they intersect — from Oculus Rift to LightSail. And it’s 9 million backers strong.

It’s such a privilege to be collaborating with the Smithsonian, and we can't wait to see what's next on their project list.

New from the Archives: July 2015

In an effort to stay current with the latest projects launching through our Archives initiative, we will be periodically checking in to share with you what's new on this corner of the site. This month, we have have eight projects that range in scope from sword illustrations to ska bands to a multimedia tribute to a ceramics factory. Read on for more.

25 Years Of Tomorrow

Collecting all 25 years of Tom Tomorrow's comic strip This Modern World — a weekly cartoon of political and social satire and mainstay of alt-weeklies — into a thousand-page, fifteen-pound, two-volume set of books. 

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