On Saturday, July 21, I gave a presentation at KansasFest  2012 about Kickstarter . I reviewed what the crowdfunding site is and how it works before presenting and analyzing examples of various campaigns. After reviewing successful projects (Double Fine , Leisure Suit Larry , Diaspora , TikTok , Pebble ) and some unsuccessful or poorly designed ones (Rolling High , What's Where in the Apple , MULE ), I identified three qualities that lend themselves to meeting one's crowdfunding goal: the fame, reputation, or track record of the artist (Jason Scott , Penny Arcade , Andrew Plotkin ); a convincing pitch video (Huck Finn , Nataly Dawn ) that doesn't necessarily need to be expensive to produce ; and attractive rewards (Pebble ; Joulies ).
Due to both the previous session and my own running long, after we watched Kickstarter pitch videos and dissected their strengths and weaknesses, I didn't have as much time as I'd like for my presentation's interactive component: brainstorming Apple II projects to launch on Kickstarter. I started by asking the audience what products we'd like to see that would require a financial investment, then who in the community has the reputation to attract a funding audience, followed by what the reward levels for such a Kickstarter campaign would be. As with all brainstorming sessions, I wrote down every idea regardless of feasibility. We then conducted an informal poll to narrow the choices to those bolded in the below table.
|VGA card||Ken Gagne||Contributor credit on Web site||$10|
|Bluetooth / Wi-Fi card||Vince Briel||Access to contributor-only blog||$25|
|Accelerator card||Rich Dreher||USB adapter||$50|
|Ethernet card||Tony Diaz||USB adapter & name in manual||$75|
|Magazine PDF archive||James Littlejohn||Two USB adapters||$90|
|Buy rights and inventory from ReactiveMicro||Woz||Limited-edition model||$150|
|System 7.0||Apple II t-shirt||$250|
|USB input device adapter||10 adapters||$450|
|Buy the copyright to something||Silkscreen greet on the board||$500|
|Spectrum Internet Suite (SIS) update||Lunch with the designer||$1000|
|Open Apple merchandise|
|Retrocomputing video podcast|
|Mark Twain clone|
|Open-source programming language|
|Woz action figure (with 9 points of articulation)|
Note that the first two columns do not line up with each other or the other two columns, but the third and fourth columns line up with each other. Also, some reward levels (access to contributor-only blog) include the previous rewards, whereas others (two USB keyboard adapters) do not.
Of all the bolded projects, we deemed the USB adapter the most affordable and thus the most likely to be funded. The proposed adapter would not only work with keyboards, joysticks, and mice, but it would adapt them to multiple platforms: Apple II, Commodore 64, and more. As the Battle Chess Kickstarter campaign  demonstrated, limiting your product to only one audience (in that case, Windows) diminishes your chances of getting funded: more potential customers equals more money, as evidenced by the success of many old franchises that are being revived for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
A wide audience requires a creator with exposure and recognition beyond the Apple II community, for which reason I nominate Vince Briel. The inventory of Briel Computers , from the Replica 1 to the Micro-KIM to the ALTAIR 8800micro, appeal to retrocomputing hobbyists of many ages and interests, and Briel's track record as a businessman, from shipping products to offering customer support, is unparalleled. Briel has the reputation that could get a Kickstarter project funded.
Briel was in the audience for this brainstorming session but did not actually drive this proposal. But if he were to accept it, I would be first in line to give him my money.
UPDATE (Oct 21, 2015):: Courtesy Kevin Savetz , here is a video of my KansasFest session.