We're Done With Kickstarter

I'm done. Over it. Completely fed up. Kickstarter is ruining the world I live in. I used to love crazy gadgets, because I had some measure of confidence that, behind the idea, was some reasonably competent team or plan or, like, anything.

Not anymore. Kickstarter has me gun-shy about innovation.

I hate to say this, but Ryan Tate was right.

I used to live in San Francisco, startup city USA. Everyone there had a world-changing idea, and about half of those people tried to make their ideas reality. It was wonderful and awesome. It kept you warm on those cold summer days.

That sense of inspiration is part of why I used to love Kickstarter. It was like everywhere could be San Francisco. Except one thing: In SF, to get your company out of your kitchen, you needed to save and scrounge and beg your parents for money and move into a tiny apartment and Tom Sawyer your friends into helping you and sweat for months and then make a prototype and then the really hard part: To get some seed money for your product, you'd have to convince people who actually knew what the hell they were talking about to fund your project. A lot of people failed. Many succeeded—and the ones who did had the support and wisdom of some really smart cats helping them refine their products and turn them into something that wouldn't just clot the earth with more useless crap.


That is not happening on Kickstarter. The only people you have to convince that your idea is worth turning into a reality is a mob of drooling optimistic simpletons like me. Yeah, I have funded more Kickstarters than I care to admit. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen. The only ones I have not regretted were Longshot Magazine and Andy D's forthcoming album, Warcries. (Sample tracks here. It is liquid sound insanity.)

But I do not need another iPhone dock or case. Yes, I am proud of you for attaching a rollerskate to a camera. Wow, that iPod Nano watch is such an original idea. Yes, I am aware that you can put a fucking bottle opener on just about anything. Please stop.

We look at hundreds of products every week. Sometimes thousands. At first all of us were pretty stoked about Kickstarter, because it seemed like a genuine font of unfettered innovation—the hive mind coming up with products that we truly needed but had never even thought of before. And maybe it was. But it's not anymore. It's a sea of bad videos, bad renderings, and poorly made prototypes. Some might be good. Many are poorly made. And some are downright fraudulent, taking peoples' money without delivering the promised rewards. This has happened to me.

The problem is actually the same thing that made it so exciting in the first place: the unfetteredness. Is that a word? No? Maybe I can post a fucking video on Kickstarter and raise ten grand and turn it into a real word. I mean, is that any less realistic than the Robocop Statue I funded? Or the plug-in iPhone case that, $40 later, I realized was probably only going to come out after the product around which it was designed had been fully redesigned? Nope. It's all the same salty sea of hogwash. And we're stepping out of the pool until Kickstarter starts filtering out some of the crap.

Starting today, you will not see any items from Kickstarter posted on Gizmodo. Unless we are making fun of them. Or unless Kickstarter figures out a way to up the quality of the shit on its site. We are all for rampant innovation, but, at this point, Kickstarter is little more than spam: a whole lot of noise that sometimes results in a poorly made piece of wannabe signal destined for the landfill.

What sucks is that we'll probably miss one or two good products along the way. But I'm fine with that. Hopefully Kickstarter will evolve into something a little more trustworthy that we can feel comfortable sharing with you. Because in this game, a source you can't trust is a source you can't use.