Crowdfunding: It Doesn't Just Happen (Part I)

If I’ve spoken or corresponded with you in the past, say, six weeks it’s very likely that I’ve brought up crowdfunding. My basic thesis is that this brand new capital market is actually much harder to access than it seems and that people who have succeeded have run much more sophisticated campaigns than it may seem. So, starting today I’m going to have a running series of crowdfunding campaigns post-mortems. My hope is that themes will emerge and that we’ll discover best practices.

Today’s post-mortem was forwarded to us by Pulling Things Apart and is the story of Joey Hess’s Kickstarter campaign for his git-annex assistant, which is “like Dropbox, but with your own cloud”.

Joey has helpfully summarized his thoughts and observations in a bulletpoint list and I’ll reduce them down further to a numbered list.

  1. Start with a broad base of support. The action item here is that a prospective campaigner needs to spend some time in the months and weeks leading up to their launch broadening their base as much as possible. Step up the pace of blogging, tweeting, commenting and real-world networking.

  2. Make your message accessible. To do this, you need to know your audience. Joey seems to have done a good job of figuring out how each segment of his supporters might understand and be moved by his idea.

  3. Have a proof of concept for your project. Joey was building off of software he had already developed. This gave him a built-in fan base but it also legitimized himself and the project. A person who has successfully made something out of nothing has a stronger argument as to why he might make something out of your investment.

There’s other good stuff in the post and I encourage you to read the entire thing.

And please pass along other post-mortems when and as you find them!