Felix Salmon has a really smart analysis of Kickstarter, and specifically the psychology behind backing Kickstarter projects. It’s interesting to think about what Salmon is talking about, with regard to why people back things.
Do we back something because was see it as a pre-order? Do we back things because we want to support our friends? Why does this work on the web, when you would have laughed if it came in the mail to us? Are we backing ideas, or are we wanting products?
I am waiting for quite a few Kickstarter projects to actually ship the goods to me, so this last sentiment from Salmon rings close to home:
But as consumers get wise to those risks, especially if one or two high-profile million-dollar Kickstarter successes end up producing nothing at all, then at that point we’ll realize that the funders weren’t just buying a dream after all. They really thought they were buying a product.
Elevation Dock, Flote Stand (to be fair I am not a backer, I just pre-ordered after it was funded), and a few other smaller projects have yet to ship anything to me. I knew the risks, but it has made me become very picky about what I do back now — and ultimately that hurts Kickstarter and other potential products.