What Kickstarter Really is

AUGUST 14, 2014

Seth Godin founded The Domino Project in an attempt to 'change the way books are build, sold and spread.'

In an article about Kickstarter, Godin separates kickstarted projects into two different types:

  • The project already has a public or tribe—as Godin calls the audience of a product.
  • The project is something new and nobody has ever heard about it.

For the latter type, the intention on Kickstarter is reaching strangers who have never heard about their product (which is complicated).

How many people you don’t know like your posts on Facebook or your tweets on Twitter. Probably, not many. If a lot of them are unknown for you, and they are frequent, you may have a tribe, your own audience.

Tina Roth Eisenberg —also known as Swiss-miss— experiences this. Strangers visit her blog daily, retweet what she says on Twitter, and most important, trust her. This kind of audience was built over time thanks to what she does in a daily basis, thus creating a tribe of people who feel they know Tina in someway.

So, What Is Kickstarter Really For?

It is difficult to reach out people who do not know and trust you. Kickstarters are no different people, they need to know you in order to back your stuff. Frequently, projects that thrive in Kickstarter already have a tribe behind them —a tribe that is waiting for the creators to ask for help—, even though some times it seems a Kickstarted project did not exist before its crowd funding.

In this sense, Godin states that while Kickstarter ’looks like a shortcut’, it actually serves as a ’maximizer’.

It is useful at a product launch to have a Kickstarter campaign. But without a tribe, reaching people is no easy job. Some projects —which I previously mentioned— manage to spread the word with Kickstarter as part of their marketing strategy. Sadly, these products do not always reach the minimum amount to be funded. The question then is: When is the best moment to Kickstart a project?