Reflections on today’s Kickstarter

First, thank you to my amazing readers. To say that I had an overwhelming day is a bit of an understatement. The Kickstarter reached its goal in record time, less than three hours after I first posted it. We met and then blew away the stated goal. It means a lot to me that you're so connected and generous.

As promised, I'm going to do a few updates to share data and insights that might help the next person.

  • Half the people who visited the page watched the video all the way through to the end. I'm guessing that's 5x what happens on YouTube. There's something about the medium of a Kickstarter page that makes the video even more important than you'd think. I'm glad I reshot mine (and made it shorter).
  • A fancy video isn't important unless the product you're selling involves video. Direct and clear beat clever editing and dissolves every time.
  • Scarcity cuts both ways. I stated from the beginning that my goal wasn't to maximize the revenue generated from the page, and it was clear within minutes that many readers were excited to be part of something that was limited. Of course, some people got upset by the very same thing--it's hard to balance scarcity (a signed edition, say) with abundance (spreading ideas far and wide).
  • People are smart. This Kickstarter had ten levels, which felt like a lot when I built it, but I bet the audience could have figured out their favorite choice if there had been twenty.
  • I'm not sure your goal should be to make the topline number as big as possible. The whole idea of measuring the revenue of Kickstarter makes no sense (how much does it cost to make a Pebble watch or record a CD?) No one really knows what your costs are, but it's the costs that matter, not the revenue. That's obvious, yet we're busy talking about what people 'make' on Kickstarter, and many Kickstart builders are trying to structure the offer to push that number up. No need. It doesn't matter. Maximize what's important to you, not the pundits.
  • Folks who put up links to your Kickstarter are generous beyond measure. Even more important is permission to talk to a tribe that cares about you and what you make. Build that first.
  • If you're thinking about skipping the permission step when you build your campaign, please reconsider. This is the one and best secret of Kickstarter.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to talk about it, watch the video and participate. If you're interested, there are some rewards that aren't sold out. For me, it's back to writing, working on making you the best book I can.

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