Kickstarter has quite a bit to celebrate. It has now seen three projects that have sought funding through its site break the million dollar mark, and is posed to surpass the NEA in total money distributed to approved projects for 2012. Kickstarter’s business model is nothing new – micro investment has been used for years, primarily in developing economies to help start small businesses. But the sheer size of Kickstarter’s user base means that all sorts of project are able to find an amazing level of support. The most recent million dollar project, for example, started as an effort to publish a webcomic’s archives in a physical format.
But Kickstarter’s hands-off approach to funding has meant that some slightly odder projects have found investors for products or ideas that, typically, few would be willing to touch. These range from your run of the mill oddity, more suitable in a sky mall catalog than a booming investment site, to the philosophically obtuse. In honor of Kickstarter’s third million-dollar project, we present three slightly more off-kilter products that have found success through Kickstarter.
Many of us face this problem every time we step into the shower. Piled up in a small corner are little shards of soap, tossed aside due to a blatant unwillingness to use a bar of soap once it gets to a certain size. Some have the tenacity and sheer willpower to throw away these little soapy lumps, but for the rest of us just think about how trashing an otherwise perfectly good bit of soap brings back memories of our mothers yelling at us about the starving children in Africa and how happy they would be to have the product/food/material we want to put in the garbage.
In an attempt to quell the guilt stirring in us, the creators of stackable soap designed a way to meld old, used pieces of soap with a larger, new block. Essentially it’s soap with a chunk cut out of it, but the idea is that we will put our old soap where that gash has been made and meld the old and new together.
Now the question remains of how economical this process will all be. At a certain point I just throw away the leftover soap or press all the old slivers together as hard as I can to make a new bar, and for some reason I think that I’d rather save money doing that than buy special soap. However, this project did earn over $14,000 so there are obviously people who are willing to pay for convenience.
This has been one of the grander projects to come through Kickstarter, and while it seems to have run out of steam investment wise it is still and interesting premise. The basic idea is that the creators of this project will drop a pool with huge filters in its walls into the Hudson River. The filters will let in a stream of clean water, sourced from the river, so that the community can swim in water that isn’t full of sewage and medical waste.
The first $25,000 will go to testing out the filtration system with the ultimate goal being building a full-scale mockup of the pool to show New York City that dreams can come true.
A lofty goal, but an interesting premise. The whole idea has also attracted quite a bit of attention, especially from green initiatives who love the idea of using water from the river instead of treated tap water to fill the pool. The feasibility of the project remains to be seen, but if nothing else it is an amazing effort.
Yeah… I’m not too sure what I can say about this one. It is a clock, tuned to the seasons, to remind you to remain in the present. Because it’s hard being in the moment for more than a few seconds.
The entire project sounds like it was cooked up by a college freshman taking their first philosophy course in an attempt to totally blow the mind of the evil TA who keeps failing them, but it has raised money. A lot of money. Over $90,000 of it.
To sweeten the pot, donate more than twenty-four dollars and you get a piece of black plastic labelled ‘something’. Because we all need something to change our lives.
Or something. I really have no idea – the entire premise seems very tongue in cheek, but I am willing to bet this little season clock will be proudly displayed in lofts all across San Francisco, Brooklyn and Chicago in an ill-fated attempt to make the owner seem more interesting than they actually are.
But if there is one thing all of these show, it is the sheer unpredictability of the consumer. I don’t think I’d ever have thought people would pay into any projects like these, but maybe that’s why I’m writing a blog post instead of designing a $100,000 clock.
After all, if an idea is stupid but makes money, it isn’t stupid anymore.