Kickstarter intentionally makes failure a hard thought to stumble on. Its website does not show failed projects unless they’re specifically asked for and the company directs search engine crawlers away from them. Estimating the number of failed projects is difficult because of these tactics, but most independent attempts to pinpoint the figure have landed at 50% or more.
What happens to projects that fail? Who is responsible for the 50% that don’t make it, and what would they do differently if they tried again? And what about Kickstarters that succeed? Do they deliver, or is it just the beginning of a path full of challenges? To answer these questions I spoke with several different people – one who has experienced success, and two who haven’t – to hear the human story behind the facts and figures.
...In talking with Tyler, Dylan and Georgia it became clear that Kickstarter, though potentially an incredible platform, is no magic bullet. The effort required to put up a good project is substantial and many projects have no reasonable chance of success without weeks of work by the project’s creators.
Talking with these individuals has also given me a sense that Kickstarter is a force of both creation and destruction. An extremely successful project can be life-changing for its creator, but failure implies the world has found the project worthless. This chaos allows for incredible creativity and success but also can take a toll on the people involved.
As the flood of money into crowd-funding continues both contributors and creators are at risk of forgetting that this movement is about people, not products. The people we fund, the platforms we support and the rewards we demand will shape the future crowd-funding, and perhaps even our economy.
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