They call me “Tater Salad.” – Ron White
I consider myself a fan of Kickstarter. I like the idea of crowdsourcing in general, but in particular I like how venture capitalists are no longer the gatekeepers of venture capital. That’s good for entrepreneurs, and good for innovation.
However, the latest trending Kickstarter project is neither innovative nor entrepreneurial. Zack Danger Brown, if that is his real name, started on July 3rd a project to create potato salad. Yep, you read it correctly, potato salad. Soup to nuts. Nothing else. Just … potato salad.
To be fair, Zack never aspired nor professed to anything greater. His goal was to raise $10, and he had 30 days to do it. In the description of the project, he even says, “Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.”
But it was enough to catch the eye of CNET.com, the go-to online source for consumer electronics news, which ran the story and, in the process, catapulted Brown into geek stardom. Post-CNET, this wasn’t just a throwaway project about potato salad any more. This was a chance to prove that dreams, no matter how asinine and undeserving, can actually come true for some people. This was a chance to fund the low-bar dreams of a flinty Ohioan. This was a chance to toss Zack Danger Brown so much filthy cash and fame he won’t even know what to do with it. Which is exactly what happened.
As of today, July 8th, at 6:10pm Eastern Standard Time, his project has 4245 backers, and has raised $44,327. What backers get from this raw deal is hard to say, but Brown has pledged to read the name of every backer aloud as he makes the salad.
$44,327. Unbelievable. Because there’s no better cause to support, am I right? But this is, unfortunately, the bitch of the Internet. These backers are shelling out money, whether they’ll admit it or not, in order to keep the story of Potato Salad alive and newsworthy. Without them, there is no story, there is no spoon. They are a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And damn it, I bought into their madness hook, line, and sinker. Sigh. Look at me, typing away, elevating the story even higher. Quit, Ivan, quit! For the sake of your children!!!
(2 minutes passes…)
Actually, you know what? I haven’t had potato salad in quite a while. Anyone else hungry?