Kickstarter.com puts new ideas and investors together. Here’s how it works: a person posts a video of their exciting-new-idea and you, me, and the internet community at large can invest whatever we want in order to get it moving. Once someone gets their desired funding they are obliged to begin work on their dream project. The investors can either share in the profit of the project or receive a gift, nod, or personal acknowledgment from the creator depending on the project.
Beside from being a great idea, Kickstarter can help us learn how to get people on our side, master the elements of a good pitch, and develop the skills necessary to get buy-in from total strangers. It can also show us what kills a presentation.
If you look here, you can see some of the most popular and most attractive projects at Kickstarter. These ideas generated thousands of dollars with a short (2-4 minute) video. How exactly did these creators get so much support and funding?
One thing is obvious: personalities take a back seat. While some of the top entrepreneurs on Kickstarter are personable and entertaining an equal number of them aren’t comfortable behind a camera.
Second, it becomes clear that the idea isn’t central to success. There a lot of people on Kickstarter who want to make a well thought out and clever film, website, comic, or book. Yet, some of them don’t do well while others make well over their monetary goal. What separates successful donation drives from the mediocre ones is the level of expertise, honesty, and passion exhibited.
Creators who have some experience in their field and have some connections are able to establish credibility and inspire confidence in investors. They want to know that someone has done something similar before and is about to make it better.
When creators assess the situation honestly and predict the hurdles, costs, and challenges of their potential project it establishes a rational foundation and time frame. Investors want and appreciate a honest appraisal of where the project is going and when it will end. They don’t want to back a naive creator who is trying to develop a project they can never finish.
Last and most important: passion. Passionate videos on Kickstarter focus less on the profits and more on the exciting process of seeing an idea grow. They aren’t concerned with sales, promotions, and developing an I-Pad format. Instead, they are focused on creating the best product they can. They are energetic about the idea, not the money.
Focusing on future profits, movie-deals, website ad-revenues, and big publishing contracts kills presentations. Discussing profit over idea-development is what kills Kickstarter pitches. The creators who eagerly lick their lips while talking about future sponsorship deals and “Kindle-connectivity” appear to care more about the commercial application of their idea rather than the idea itself. The feeling is translated to possible investors and the project gets little or no funding.
Kickstarter clearly shows that personality and decent ideas aren’t as important as establishing expertise, honesty, and passion when you want people on your side. Further, presentations that focused more on the idea and less on commercial advantages did a better job because they inspired investor confidence.
Kickstarter’s videos can teach us a lot about entrepreneurship, presentation skills, and what it takes to get people on your side. After watching a few of the videos you will learn what people naturally enjoy and what people stay away from. It’s a perfect social media leadership tool.