The Daily Parker

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When a Kickstarter dies

I've supported Kickstarter campaigns, including Exploding Kittens (shipping now!). Sometimes the campaigns explode; but sometimes, they fail miserably:

“There's a chasm between an idea, a design and a business which Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others really in some ways ignore,” says Michael Marasco, director of Northwestern University's Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “The reality is that there are tons of patents out there, tons of designs out there that have never become products.”

Kickstarter backers ostensibly understand this risk. The platform publicizes the fact that it is not a store but rather a way for people to work together to make things, so the specter of failure always lurks. Kickstarter participants do not own a stake in the companies they back. But that doesn't prevent them from becoming emotionally invested—and as delays mount, enthusiasm can morph into anger.

John Campbell, an artist in Wicker Park, raised $51,000 in 2012 for a comic book, “Sad Pictures for Children,” and shipped about 800 to backers. But in February 2014, after running out of money to send the rest, he grew so frustrated that he began lighting some of the remaining copies on fire—and posted video of the burning books to Kickstarter.

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