Giving creative projects a community kickstart

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The project was called Kind of Bloop. An 8-bit tribute to the Miles Davis masterpiece “Kind of Blue”. Yes, the same sound you remember from first-generation Nintendo games.

Re-imagining “Kind of Blue” was an idea Andy Baio always dreamed about. Baio is a journalist, programmer, and also the CTO of Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.

Kickstarter works like this: Artists create a compelling pitch for a project. They show off their idea and why they think it should become reality, and what it would cost. If they reach their dollar amount goal, the project gets funded and moves forward. If it doesn’t meet the goal before time expires, the pledges are cancelled.

For Kind of Bloop, Baio posted his idea and set the funding goal at $2,000 to cover artist and production costs and licensing fees. The project was funded in just four hours and in total has reached over $8600 from 419 backers. Read more about the Kind of Bloop story here.

Kickstarter is collaborative meritocracy where the best ideas win–a key principle of the open source way applied to funding creative projects:

  • Ideas are presented out in the open and can compete on equal ground to others.
  • People vote with their dollars. The best ideas get funded.
  • Other ideas simply fall away naturally.
  • Yet even those ideas are still presented openly so others can learn from them.
  • One note: At the moment, the platform isn’t entirely open--meaning, if you want to make a pitch you have to first contact Kickstarter to get approval to post your project or get an invite. According to their site, this is because the team handling these requests is still relatively small and they're looking for projects that are a good fit for their model.

    The beauty of Kickstarter is that it bypasses the traditional channels artists would need to navigate in order to fund a project. Here funding depends on community participation rather than closed-door gatekeepers. The individual investments can be small and spread among those who care about that project’s success.

    For creators, it allows them to get funding in the amounts that make the most sense for them. It also allows them to test the interest level in a project before they begin.

    A good idea is a good idea. And funding platforms like Kickstarter help those ideas become reality for creative projects.

    What other types of projects could be funded in this way? And could businesses take advantage of a collaborative platform like this internally to determine which of their projects deserve the most attention?

    If you know of any examples, or if you have tried a process like this in your own organization, I’d love to hear your stories.

    I am President + Partner at New Kind, a branding agency that specializes in helping open source and SaaS technology companies grow. Formerly Sr. Manager, Brand Communications + Design at Red Hat, and prior to that, held communications roles at IBM and Gateway. Find Jonathan on LinkedIn.


    This is really intriguing. I'm going to do some more research and maybe try to start a project of my own through Kickstarter.

    It seems like this could definitely be a great way for businesses to decide on pursuable projects. It can be very hard to penetrate a wall of legacy ideas when an idea can't be widely heard.

    EDIT: the 8-bit Miles is amazing too. Classic video games mixed with classic music is hard to beat.

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