Ouya: That just happened; But it didn't _just happen_

Unbelievably, Kickstarter’s launch in the UK is the second biggest crowdfunding story of the week. The biggest story, of course, is Ouya the video game console that (as of 7:21 AM in New York) had raised $3.8 million and had more than 30,000 backers. As a friend put it to me in a gchat:

those aren’t some kids in a dorm room
  those are professionals raising capital
  for their product
He’s absolutely right. This phenomenal success is not happenstance and, to me, is the clearest indication yet that (i) crowdfunding is a viable route to significant capital and (ii) nobody lucks into $3.8 million.

Beyond the work Ouya has done so far on their product — funded by friends and family, apparently — their Kickstarter page indicates how much work they did on their campaign.
  • Video: Super-slick, sophisticated and good looking. Exactly what you’d hope for and expect from a team that is trying to sell a forward-thinking tech-y product.
  • Solid copy: Compelling combination of revolution (“Take back the console!”) and nostalgia (“Remember how great playing games on TV was?!”).
  • Social proof: Quotes from people who (I assume) are well-known and well-respected in that industry.
  • Rewards: Pretty straightforward but a nice early bird option to get things going.

And it’s not a coincidence that the page was so well done.

I emailed Ouya and heard back from Tiffany Spencer who told me that she wrote the copy and that the video was produced by Heist. Tiffany is not, as far as I can tell, a full-time member of Ouya. Tiffany is (in the best way) a hired gun, an experienced and (apparently) talented communications specialist. Heist is not a friend with a camera; they work with “the world’s best known brands”. Point being that Ouya’s very professional and experienced management team has a very professional and experienced promotional team working for them. I don’t know when Tiffany started promoting Ouya but I can guarantee that it was way before the campaign launched.

Just to be clear, I don’t see anything wrong with the fact that Ouya’s success is the result of a campaign conceived and executed by professionals. That said, future campaigners should know that the competition in this capital market is evolving and that a typical video and uninspiring copy will not cut it for much longer. And here’s the plug: SeizeTheCrowd.com.