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From the Fools and Money Stack: Kickstarting… Potato Salad?!

Potato Salad

Part of the story of the internet are all the various crazy ideas and sites that seemingly came from no where. A few years ago it was the guy who managed to trade up from a single red paperclip to a house. Today, it’s a Kickstarter that, as of this writing, has gotten almost $40,000 in funding to make… well, I’ll let the creator speak for himself:

I’m making potato salad.

Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.

Of course, getting 4000% over your initial goal of $10 means that some stretch goals needed to be added. Wisely, Zach “Danger” Brown of Columbus OH, the creator of said Kickstarter kept his goals and rewards pretty humble.* His stretch goals include:

$35 – I will make 4x as much Potato Salad. I know $40 isn’t 4x $10, but you guys have earned it.

$100 – I will try two different Potato Salad recipes.

$250 – Better mayonnaise (from the natural foods section)

$1000: I’ll do a live stream of the potato salad making

$3000: My kitchen is too small! I will rent out a party hall and invite the whole internet to the potato salad party (only $10 and above will be allowed in the kitchen)! The internet loves potato salad! Let’s show them that potato salad loves the internet!!

And in terms of rewards, he will be sending out signed jars of mayo ($20 level), hats ($25), t-Shirts ($35), and a book of potato salad recipes ($50).

On July 3rd, CNet posted a brief story on the Potato Salad Kickstarter and a tipping point was reached. When I first learned about the story last night, the donations were “only” at $24K. No word on when all the copy cats kick starters will begin.

Anyone want to fund my bowl of Coleslaw?


 

* – One of things that isn’t talked about with Kickstarter is how ill-planned stretch-goals can sometimes bankrupt projects.

For example, take the case of cartoonist John Campbell, the creator of Pictures For Sad Children. Campbell collected and published the first 200 strips in a print volume in 2009. In 2012 he set up a Kickstarter to raise the money to publish a second printed volume. He asked for $8000. He got $51,615.

Apparently Campbell had not planned to be anywhere near this successful – especially not at the higher levels of funding. He had promised to mail printed copies of the book to everyone who donated $25 or more. The problem Campbell apparently encountered was over 1000 people funded at that level. The resulting postage and time costs, on top of the existing print costs, apparently consumed more than Campbell has expected.

And when people started to complain that they had failed to receive their books, Campbell came up with a novel solution: he burned the books and posted pictures of the burning online, complete with a “this is all your fault” rant. An account of the full, strange story — including excerpts from Campbell’s rant — can be found at Bleeding Cool.

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About Matt Bernius
Matthew is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at Cornell University, researching the intersection of technology and culture. Prior to Cornell, he earned a Masters in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and was a visiting professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Matt started his career at Eastman Kodak, spending eight years in a variety of web development, community and content strategy roles. In his spare time (off OTB) Matt slogs (slow-blogs) on the future of reading/media, studies martial arts and self defense, and volunteers, along with his wife, at the Rochester Animal Shelter. Follow him on twitter @mattbernius.

Comments

  1. Somewhere, P.T. Barnum is smiling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Only in America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It’s doing big business in the United Kingdom. Some guy got almost 200,000 pounds to fund the development of a pillow you pull over your head, which frankly sounds like almost any other pillow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Tyrell says:

    Good potato salad depends on the mayonaise. Use the wrong kind and it is not good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. The John Campbell example doesn’t really say much about Kickstarter; he actually had all the books printed, so it wasn’t that he couldn’t afford it. He just had a mental breakdown and starting burning things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Mu says:

    Make Bavarian potato salad. No mayonnaise, just hot broth and bacon.
    Hmmm, bacon….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. And dammit, now I want potato salad really bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon: …I don’t remember the last time I had potato salad. <—typed mournfully

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0