The Pono Kickstarter closed today, netting the third largest amount ever at $6 million.
While it’s still the only Kickstarter project I’ve funded, or even paid attention to, and it certainly had obvious advantages over rank and file projects, I think it’s a good example of how to approach Kickstarter funding at any scale. Or at least it seems to be from what I’ve read about such things over the past month or so.
It was obviously easy for the Pono team to add new rewards and new artists that had name recognition, but they did so in a well-paced manner that seemed appropriate to the project. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare or publicity involved, and I think that was in keeping with the overall tone. Welcoming, positive, maybe even a bit corny at times, but never slick or overbearing.
Updates were also regular, at 27 over the 30-day run of the project. Most of the updates were informative rather than sales driven, and several of them took pains to answer questions that bubbled up in the comments — another smart move given how eager trolls are to destroy anything they can get their hands on. On no occasion did I take the time to read an update and find it pointless or pedantic.
A certain amount of marketing-savvy and pre-production must go into high profile Kickstarter projects, but even at a much smaller scale I think the same process applies. Have a few new rewards in mind at launch, and if backers come up with others that are doable be prepared to shift gears and respond. Stay engaged with comments and answer trolls and backers as necessary, but always in a tone that makes you seem like the kind of person someone would want to give money to.
— Mark Barrett