26 December 2019 | 44 Comments
In a recent post on Facebook, creator James Hudson posted something that I think is worth sharing and discussing (I checked with James to make sure this is okay). I don’t know the exact impetus for his post, but I’m guessing it’s the result of Kickstarter backers pestering him about the Tidal Blades project.
I agree wholeheartedly with James. He starts with a really important distinction between a Kickstarter campaign and a preorder store. I’ve used this definition on a previous post: A true preorder is “when a creator completes the manufacturing of a product, and then they start to accept orders for it. In that case, customers are simply ordering something that already exists, reserving their copy until it’s ready to ship.”
Conversely, products funded on Kickstarter haven’t entered production. They’re typically in the refinement process when the campaign launches, and the success of the campaign can impact the timeline (as can a number of other variables).
Here’s what I noted on my open letter to backers a few years ago in regards to the nature of delivery estimates for Kickstarter projects:
It’s the creator’s job to accurately estimate the delivery date to the best of their ability and then keep backers updated on the progress. However, I think we could all help each other by removing the concept of a project being “late” from our crowdfunding vocabulary. The word “late” has a strong element of shame to it, and there’s nothing shameful about taking your time to make something well instead of rushing it and delivery something subpar.
The very essence of funding something on Kickstarter is that the thing doesn’t exist yet. There’s so much that happens between then and the moment that it arrives on someone’s front door, and the best we can do is ESTIMATE when that moment will be. If it’s delivered after that date, it means the estimate was incorrect, not that the project was late. I think this is tough for a lot of people because sometimes we count on something showing up at a particular time or a project is delivered way after the estimated date.
These may sound like excuses to a backer who is eager to get the reward they paid for. Creators are happy that you’re excited about the product, and we want to make the product as awesome as possible for you, and sometimes that takes extra time. If we’re not keeping you updated about that process, that’s a big problem. But that’s rarely the case.
If you’re driven to pester, bully, and threaten creators who are actively updating backers and showing progress…well, please stop acting that way (and if you can’t, please stop backing Kickstarter projects). That’s not a healthy way to treat a fellow human being. There are better ways to convey your passion for the project.
I’m saying all of this as someone who hasn’t used Kickstarter as a creator in over 4 years. I have no stake in this other than my desire to see amazing creators like James continue to use the platform in innovative, exciting, and inspiring ways.
How does all of this resonate with you? Can you name a Kickstarter reward you treasure that was delivered after the estimated delivery date (and after you received it and discovered how awesome it was, have you thought at all about how the delivery timeline was a little different than the original projection)?
If you gain value from the 100 articles Jamey publishes on his blog each year, please consider championing this content!