Gaze Deeply into My Crowdfunding Navel with Guest Glenn Fleishman (Episode 58)


Guest host Jason Snell talks to regular host Glenn Fleishman about Glenn’s recent Kickstarter campaign to fund a book of non-fiction articles from The Magazine. Jason, host of The Incomparable and an editorial director at a major magazine firm, quizzes Glenn about failure, success, fulfillment (product and otherwise), and the reason we solicit funds from our fans, friends, family, and strangers.

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Show Notes

Glenn likes the word Bildungsroman, which is just German for a coming-of-age story, in which the central character has to grow up. Joseph Campbell wrote quite a bit about archetypal myths, including the Hero’s Journey (monomyth).

We discussed Greg Knauss’s terrific essay about failure and my unsuccessful crowdfunding effort for a book. (Which was named, and I had forgotten this, Crowdfunding: A Guide to What Works and Why. Catchy title?)

Appsblogger penned a wonderfully detailed post that resulted from scraping Kickstarter projects that succeeded and failed as of mid-2012. The post has useful insight into how failed projects fail big, and successful projects largely succeed modestly, along with charts from the scraped data.

Jason notes that every baseball player (except one, it turns out) who received 50 percent of votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame ultimately receives 75 percent, the threshold for getting in. Joe Posnanski has a great blog entry explaining this. (Gil Hodges is the only one who didn’t pass 50 percent — 10 times! — and never hit the 75 percent mark.)

I archived the 26 podcasts I did in 2006 for Wi-Fi Networking News as an early experiment to see whether that could be part of the revenue mix for that site. Even with good traffic on the site and an industry focus, the answer was no.

Adam and Tonya Engst appeared on this podcast on January 30, 2013, to discuss electronic publishing and how TidBITS turned to a quasi-crowdfunding approach for membership. Dean Putney, who makes things you like on the Internet, appeared here on November 2, 2013; his book has just shipped to backers. It was printed weeks ago, but shipping took a long time from Asia. Glenn was a guest on The Talk Show with John Gruber on December 6, 2013.

I promised a chart of the Kickstarter campaign growth, but I’m not ready to post that in isolation! I’ll have an extensive blog post in the near future with that data.