Amanda Palmer is a singer and former member of the ‘Dresden Dolls’ who took a rather different approach to her music career after the first Dresden Dolls album failed to provide the commercial hit that their label was looking for. After starting to give away her music for free she launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and managed to raise over $1 million from 25,000 backers. In a talk at the TED 2013 Conference Amanda explained the secret to getting people to pay for something they could get for free: don’t make them pay, ask them to. She even had one friend give her a $10 bill and apologize for burning a copy of the album.
There have been several Kickstarter projects now to have made it to the Oscars, but the first to win was Inocente – a documentary about a homeless girl with a dream to become an artist. And making this moment all the more sweet and poignant, the directors Andrea Nix and Sean Fine brought the protagonist to the stage to help accept the award. Surely a dream come true for all of them.
It’s old news now, but as the most-funded Kickstarter Project of all time it would be wrong to give any project other than the Pebble Watch the title of most successful hardware project. It’s the e-paper watch that took the community by storm and now the promise is being fulfilled. Honorable mention must go to the Ouya and the Occulus Rift.
Another of the most successful projects on Kickstarter ever is Double Fine Adventure, a point and click adventure from Double Fine studios and Tim Schafer of Grim Fandango fame.
Selling the concept of a book through a visual channel like Kickstarter isn’t easy, which might be why the image-heavy and dynamically designed ‘novelzine’ Parabolis was so successful in exceeding its $9,000.
The design director from the Obama Campaign created a compilation book of artwork inspired by the campaign and managed to raise $84,613 by riding the enthusiasm of the time.
When it comes to small and simple inventions, the Glif was an early success. The idea was simple: a tripod for your iPhone, and coupled with a low price point and featured on Gizmodo, success was almost guaranteed.
Here’s an unusual one – Lowline is a project that promises to convert an abandoned trolley terminal in New York into the world’s first underground park using ‘natural illumination technology’.
In a story similar to that of Amanda Palmer, the creators of web comic Penny Arcade (Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik) offered to remove ads from the front page of the site if they could reach their target of $250,000.
Branson may be privatizing space flight, but it seems that Kickstarter might beat him to it. The Ardu Sat is an ‘open source’ satellite that gives backers the chance to conduct their own experiments and research in space and even broadcast messages. Even space isn’t outside the reach of Kickstarter!