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Her new album, “Theatre Is Evil,” is the most successful music-based Kickstarter project to date. But is Amanda Palmer’s tweet-happy, DIY, often NSFW approach a model for independent artists?

We’re down to the final minutes of the singer-songwriter-provocateur’s month-long Kickstarter campaign, a crowdfunding effort that shocked the entertainment world by becoming the site’s most successful music-based project to date. The pledges—which had an official target of $100,000, and which had privately been budgeted to hit $500,000—have already topped a million dollars.

To celebrate the countdown, Palmer, who the Huffington Post called “the social media queen of rock & roll,” is throwing a six-hour, block party-style celebration in a parking lot behind some warehouses along Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. To a surprisingly “classic pop” soundtrack (the Jackson 5, the Who, Ray Charles), she and her crew dressed up in old-time bathing suits and frolicked in an aquarium-style clear box on the back of a truck, scribbling the names of everyone who contributed on pages ripped out of phone books and holding each one up to the laptop that’s webcasting the event. In the end, it will be almost 25,000 names, each of whom pledged between $1 and $10,000 for a menu of products and experiences ranging from a download of her new album, Theatre is Evil, (out Tuesday, Sept. 11) to art books and customized turntables, up to private concerts and dinners with the artist.

Read more: Amanda Palmer’s Crowd-Powered, Naked Creativity Machine


When faced with the reality of these products, disappointment is inevitable—not just because they’re too little too late (if at all) but for even weirder reasons. We don’t really want the stuff. We’re paying for the sensation of a hypothetical idea, not the experience of a realized product. For the pleasure of desiring it. For the experience of watching it succeed beyond expectations or to fail dramatically. Kickstarter is just another form of entertainment. It’s QVC for the Net set. And just like QVC, the products are usually less appealing than the excitement of learning about them for the first time and getting in early on the sale.

Kickstarter: Crowdfunding Platform Or Reality Show?

When faced with the reality of these products, disappointment is inevitable—not just because they’re too little too late (if at all) but for even weirder reasons. We don’t really want the stuff. We’re paying for the sensation of a hypothetical idea, not the experience of a realized product. For the pleasure of desiring it. For the experience of watching it succeed beyond expectations or to fail dramatically. Kickstarter is just another form of entertainment. It’s QVC for the Net set. And just like QVC, the products are usually less appealing than the excitement of learning about them for the first time and getting in early on the sale.

Kickstarter: Crowdfunding Platform Or Reality Show?

On the surface, Rock the Post follows the same reward-based formula as Kickstarter: entrepreneurs post ideas, fans offer support, and if the pitch is successful, prizes are handed out (and the platform takes a cut). But Rock the Post’s emphasis is on helping small businesses facilitate connections not only to funding, but also  programmers, designers, and anyone else who can help get their idea off the ground. “At the early stage of a business, the most important thing is not the product,” says Cremades. “It’s the people behind it, and how they’re going to face challenges.”
Beyond Kickstarter: Rock The Post’s Alejandro Cremades On The Future Of Crowdfunding

On the surface, Rock the Post follows the same reward-based formula as Kickstarter: entrepreneurs post ideas, fans offer support, and if the pitch is successful, prizes are handed out (and the platform takes a cut). But Rock the Post’s emphasis is on helping small businesses facilitate connections not only to funding, but also  programmers, designers, and anyone else who can help get their idea off the ground. “At the early stage of a business, the most important thing is not the product,” says Cremades. “It’s the people behind it, and how they’re going to face challenges.”

Beyond Kickstarter: Rock The Post’s Alejandro Cremades On The Future Of Crowdfunding


"We want playing our games to entertain people on many different levels. Deeper down, I want to make a connection with the player, and it’s the way, to me, of saying to the person playing the game that they’re not alone in the world."

This behind-the-scenes interview with the brutal legend of video game design proves that listening to your customers can pay off in unexpected ways.
Tim Schafer’s $3.3 Million Kickstarter Adventure Could Level-Up The Entire Video Game Industry

"We want playing our games to entertain people on many different levels. Deeper down, I want to make a connection with the player, and it’s the way, to me, of saying to the person playing the game that they’re not alone in the world."

This behind-the-scenes interview with the brutal legend of video game design proves that listening to your customers can pay off in unexpected ways.

Tim Schafer’s $3.3 Million Kickstarter Adventure Could Level-Up The Entire Video Game Industry


The most interesting and exciting part of the show is the relationship that I have with the audience. So in thinking about doing this again, that was certainly the first place that I looked. And thinking about, “Well, if I’m gonna do this, it’d be nice to get a little bit of a gauge of if they’re interested and whether they’re willing to support the effort.” The Kickstarter video was a little bit of a test in that way, saying that it was going to be different than the original. And it was just an amazing thing. I set kind of an arbitrary goal of $50,000 and we hit that in, I think, eight hours. And it ended up a little shy of $150,000. I ended up using Kickstarter as a background to actually start brainstorming about the show itself and reconnecting with folks who were interested in helping. I actually wound up meeting an animator through that experience; he’s now animating user dreams for a segment.

ZE FRANK ON HIS NEW SERIES AND CREATIVITY AS BRAIN CRACK

The most interesting and exciting part of the show is the relationship that I have with the audience. So in thinking about doing this again, that was certainly the first place that I looked. And thinking about, “Well, if I’m gonna do this, it’d be nice to get a little bit of a gauge of if they’re interested and whether they’re willing to support the effort.” The Kickstarter video was a little bit of a test in that way, saying that it was going to be different than the original. And it was just an amazing thing. I set kind of an arbitrary goal of $50,000 and we hit that in, I think, eight hours. And it ended up a little shy of $150,000. I ended up using Kickstarter as a background to actually start brainstorming about the show itself and reconnecting with folks who were interested in helping. I actually wound up meeting an animator through that experience; he’s now animating user dreams for a segment.

ZE FRANK ON HIS NEW SERIES AND CREATIVITY AS BRAIN CRACK

The wristwatch is dying, right? Nobody even wants a “smartwatch.” 
Wrong: Allerta raised $3 million in less than a week for its iPhone connected Pebble.

"We’ve been working on smartwatches for years—I think they key was iteration. It’s a very personal device, as people wear a watch and it’s constantly in contact with them. You wear it to bed, you wear it when you’re eating and when you’re working." Thus design was absolutely key to Pebble, and Migicovsky complimented his indistrial designer Steve Johns, who "spent a lot of time looking at what people wear on their wrists, and how we could make something that could be customizable, and beautiful and small and sleek."

The wristwatch is dying, right? Nobody even wants a “smartwatch.”

Wrong: Allerta raised $3 million in less than a week for its iPhone connected Pebble.

"We’ve been working on smartwatches for years—I think they key was iteration. It’s a very personal device, as people wear a watch and it’s constantly in contact with them. You wear it to bed, you wear it when you’re eating and when you’re working." Thus design was absolutely key to Pebble, and Migicovsky complimented his indistrial designer Steve Johns, who "spent a lot of time looking at what people wear on their wrists, and how we could make something that could be customizable, and beautiful and small and sleek."