Kickstarter is not an investment

In case you haven't heard of it, there's this great site called Kickstarter. If you have an idea for a documentary, video game, or other product you're trying to get off the ground, you can post it on Kickstarter, detailing the process you're going to go through, what you need money for, etc. Then anyone who likes your idea can donate as much as they want. In return, they usually get a copy of the product (if it's something easily copy-able like a video game) or some other little trinket from the creator. For example, I donated to the "Polkadot" book series a few months ago.

Kickstarter, and sites like it, have come up in conversation a few times with people I know. And there is a sense from some people that it's a "scam" because you don't get any real return on your investment. Call me crazy, but I think there's something nice about a donation where you don't expect anything back. You just do it because you believe in the thing you're donating to. Not that you necessarily believe it will become massively profitable, and you want a cut of those profits, but maybe you just believe the world will be a slightly better place if that product exists than if it doesn't. It's a donation, not an investment. And there's something kind of nice about that, don't you think?


Chris Passarelli said...

Definitely! It's the ultimate vote of confidence. Especially for video games, which is where I'm primarily hooked into Kickstarter, you can get a commitment for a copy of whatever the hell comes out the other side for a (usually) very discounted price. It might suck, it might not, but you're seeing a concept you like and voting with your dollars in a very tangible way.

It's easy to whine about existing creative content that's out there, and sure, you can opt to spend your dollars elsewhere -- but there's something hugely satisfying about 'taking action' in a positive, supportive, and optimistic way.

...just don't dump hundreds of dollars into something unless you're feeling REALLY warm and fuzzy about it.

Paige said...

I do think of it as an investment. It's an investment in the kind of world you want to have. I want to live in the kind of world where the Polkadot book series exists, so I donated to its kickstarter. I want to live in a world where Ze Frank makes videos, so I donated to his kickstarter. I invested in his kickstarter, and now I get to watch his videos.

I also believe it's an investment in the kind of world where people support each other in their awesome endeavors.

(But I see your point. I just would use the word investment.)