10 Kickstarter projects that are doomed to fail
Above: if in doubt put a cat in a unicorn costume
A quick glance at the Most Funded page of the Kickstarter website reveals myriad ideas that either weren’t ever thought of before or were just “sold right.” The Pebble E-Paper Watch is a standout example—it’s not a new idea, but the project team sold it right. They demonstrated a solid concept that backers could believe in and they convinced us that they had already thought it all out and just needed the cash injection to make it happen. Of course, history shows that they have met unexpected challenges of scaling up their operation to meet the pledges of nearly 69,000 backers and over $10 million in funding. They certainly convinced me enough to shell out for one (PATIENTLY WAITING).
Some projects just have good marketing or leverage popular cultural phenomenon such as cats:
One of the beautiful points of crowdfunding (and the Internet in general) is that anyone with an idea can have it exposed to a potentially massive audience. The Pebble watch is just one excellent example of this. But what of those Kickstarter projects that seem doomed to fail? Some might actually good ideas, but perhaps their scope is too broad and Kickstarter just isn’t the forum for them. Maybe they’re genuinely ill conceived. Or they could just suffer really lame presentation.
10 Kickstarter projects that are doomed to fail
“Gamers”—in our minds they’re teenaged stoners who subsist on refined carbohydrates and bongs. In actuality, the median gamer age is early-mid 30s and they probably have a job. So who will buy a dedicated gaming desk with the key feature of having an inbuilt USB bus? Few. There’s no doubt gamers would love a desk like this, but then only PC gamers and only those who can afford the $400 outlay. Generally, big-ticket items have to have some wow-factor (can’t believe I’m using that phrase, but… ugh, YOLO). The final nail in this coffin is the that it’s a desk—it will ship only to the USA (and later Europe)—definitely not a project for the world. 115 backers have pledged an impressive $30,013 of a $75,000 goal with only 55 hours left.
Germany has some of the best hippies in the world—they’re fanatical—this guy is testament to that. The Green TCult (the name is enough to make one think “STAY AWAY”) is a timer that drops your tea strainer into boiled water once it cools to the correct tea-brewing temperature. But why not make a device to heat the water to the correct temperature in the first place? The bonus with the Green TCult is that you can still using your existing hardware, ie: your tea strainer. I’m done here. 37 backers have pledged $2,784 of a $120,000 goal with 26 days to go.
Kickstarter projects are like billboards—you have 3 seconds to make an impression or you lose the viewer. I Don’t Want It suffers from conceptual overload and poor presentation. View the video and you’ll see what I mean—it’s like Skyping your granddad. I’m not sure I can convey to you what this software does. Presently 3 backers have pledged $60 of a $10,000 goal with 23 days to go.Velo 0.2.1 is a “radar gun” application aimed specifically at measuring the speed of a pitcher’s ball. It’s a great solution for the handful of people in the USA who carry around an actual radar gun… then again, it is actually the USA… At present, 15 people have pledged $360 of a $35,500 goal with 12 days to go. Get in quick kids.
There are two areas where a lot of mobile phone accessories on Kickstarter fail. The first is that they often try to fix a problem that doesn’t exist or goes against the very nature of a touchscreen device and operating system. But also, they tend to be very ugly. XOPAD covers both these criteria with ease. But there’s also the lofty goal that Space Coast Gadgets of “the other” Melbourne (Florida) has set: $110,000. So far 79 nerds have pledged $4,003 with 5 days to go.
Jumping Cat! Theatre Company actually deserve your money. They want to tour the UK to highlight the problem of bullying to children. Admirable—yes. Unfortunately, they missed an awesome opportunity to show their theatrical skills with a lame assed video! Their goal is a modest £2,000 and their scope is very local to the UK—there’s no reason why a good marketing plan couldn’t have pushed this one over the edge. 14 backers have pledged £213 with 22 hours to go.
They lost me at “Change The World.” Oh god I feel terrible for picking on these kids, but let’s face it—short of a miracle, this project isn’t going to be funded. Sit through the 8-minute video and you’ll see what I mean. This brother and sister team is actually quite talented for their ages—13 and 17 respectively. Unfortunately, their message gets lost. They’re a small band that will perform “at your home or function within the 5 boroughs of New York”… yet they’re changing the world? Their video is more about what they can do rather than how they’re going to tackle the world’s problems. Their’s another flaw in the project—they haven’t included the ubiquitous $1 pledge option—every little helps. I wish these kids success though… 19 people have pledged $1,147 of a $5,000 goal (that’s 25-per-cent) with 52 hours to go.
It’s a reinterpretation of the snuggie blanket—NEED I SAY MORE? And $10,000 is a lot of money for blankets. 20 people have contributed $1,126 fith 48 hours to go.
The White House answered a petition last year requesting the US government build a Death Star with a subtle but humorous “no.” So gnut.co.uk took it upon themselves to Kickstart the Death Star. It’s actually quite funny, with its goal of £20,000,000 to be used for “more detailed plans and enough chicken wire to protect reactor exhaust ports.” Needless to say, the 2,047 backers who have so far pledged £304,373 won’t be seeing this project funded in 33 days time.
I saved the best one for last. Remember this guy from one of my favourite movies, Office Space*?:
Well I’m quite sure he is based on this guy:
There are so many things wrong with this presentation. And is anyone really looking for an iPad strap? The 13 backers who’ve pledged $376 of a $10,000 goal have probably “jumped to the conclusion” that this project isn't going to end well.
*Office Space—it's more of a documentary. Everyone who's ever worked corporate will know what I mean.