ThinkBoxly is the personal developer blog of Lucas Chasteen, author, programmer, artist, and always learning. Read more

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Kickstarter Project Raises $70,000…for Potato Salad

Oh, internet, you’re so funny.

The website Kickstarter has drawn a lot of positive attention in the last couple of years. Numerous individual efforts and major productions alike have found their way to market thanks to crowd funding provided through the service. It’s safe to say the world is a little bit better for enabling all manner of entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams and simultaneously bestow upon consumers some really great products that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

But not every Kickstarter project is so noble. Whenever a website gets very popular, you know it will draw in that certain someone who just doesn’t take things seriously. So how does one such person make the news? Well, what’s different about this jokester is that his project is just about as awesome as the real deal. That, and real money is involved. Lots of it.

It all began when Kickstarter Zack “Danger” Brown opened a project to support him in his gallant effort to make…potato salad. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The initial funding goal was set for $10, and backers would get rewards as simple as having their name spoken aloud while Brown prepared the potato salad, or receiving a photo of the process.

Little did he know he was signing himself up to speak names aloud for more than two hours.

As it currently stands the project has nearly 5,000 backers, who have collectively pledged well over $70,000 for Brown’s potato salad. As funds kept coming in far beyond the initial $10 goal, Brown took advantage of the phenomenon by adding a series of stretch goals, all of which have been blown out of the water. What began as a simple serving of potato salad has now turned into a full-blown pizza party for the whole internet complete with multiple recipes of potato salad courtesy of a professional chef. The event will be livestreamed from a rented party hall and Brown will hire a filmmaker to record a personal thank you for all the backers that made it possible. Rewards now come in tiers up to $50, with the higher levels offering potato salad-themed hats and t-shirts and recipe books in addition to certain lower tier rewards. And even with all that I’d say he’s going to have to get creative to put all $70,000 plus whatever comes in during the final 23 days in the Kickstarter run into the project. Reward deliveries are promised by December of this year, meaning a one-afternoon task has practically turned into a part-time job. But hey, for $70,000, who’d complain?

It’s all a great laugh and a bit of a head-scratcher, but on a serious note, it will be interesting to see how this affects Kickstarter, moving forward. If one joke actually takes off, will others try to imitate it? You bet they will. It doesn’t matter if it only actually works a few times or even just this once, there are plenty of folks out there who would happily take in $70k for a measly side dish. I can’t help but fear that the service will be inundated with jokesters, most of whom won’t even be as entertaining as Zack “Danger” Brown, but hopefully enough good causes will hold the limelight to keep Kickstarter on track. Failing that, it was nice knowing our economy.

For more information on one of the biggest internet phenomenons in existence or to contribute some of your own hard-earned cash towards a worthy cause, check out the original Kickstarter page here.