Caveat Backer

Investor in Kickstarter, the Company, Decries ‘The Worst Project I’ve Funded’ on Kickstarter

Backers on Kickstarter learn harsh reality: just like in VC, investment means risk.

MetaFilter founder Matt Haughey had a bad experience on Kickstarter, and like those before him, he blogged about it. But as an experienced backer, and with a note of caution for project creators rather than a wag of the finger at Kickstarter (he’s a “very small” investor in the startup). “Lessons for Kickstarter creators from the worst project I ever funded on Kickstarter” is the title of this story, and it’s about a pretty iPhone case that took too long to make and then didn’t work.

The creators of the project didn’t help themselves by communication inconsistently and at one point, telling backers they required more money than the original donation in order to get their cases.

Mr. Haughey, who has backed 72 Kickstarter projects,¬†takes the incident as an object lesson for project creators. “Again, I mention this entire project not to single out the creators as bad people but instead to show any and all past/current/future Kickstarter backers what not to do,” he wrote.

We’ve broken out the best practices. The golden rules of Kickstarter!

1. When you are designing a product for Kickstarter and you show prototypes, backers will assume you have worked all the bugs out first.

2. When things start to go wrong, it doesn’t help to discount the comments or question the motivation of backers giving critical feedback.

3. When shipping deadlines are going to slip, be open and explain the hows and whys and reset expectations as soon as possible to prevent backers’ plans from falling through.

4. When confronted with a core design problem, explain possible fixes, or explore options for dissatisfied backers.

5. When confronted with a large amount of criticism, acknowledge the flaws and don’t patronize your backers or question their motivations.

As usual, the unfortunate tale brought out the kvetching in the comments, giving a taste of why the SEC is like, so harsh about restricting small-time investors. Kickstarter declined to comment.

[via Kottke]

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com