Kickstarter: The Agony and the Ecstasy. But Usually The Agony.

Senior Contributor

I love Kickstarter, for two very different reasons. The first is the more altruistic: It’s nice to be able to find comic books, consumer products, video games, and technology that I like and support it. Yeah, I might never actually see that stuff, so I’m judicious with who I back. But Kickstarter is, at its best, browsing through the artistic passions and dreams some brilliant minds have of the future. It’s the Internet at its best.

The rest of the time, Kickstarter is browsing through the future failed dreams and stupid ideas of insane people who think they can get $1 million out of other insane people to realize their dreams, or even worse, have no idea how feasible their dreams usually are, which they aren’t.

And now that a few really high-profile Kickstarter projects have gotten started, now that it’s become clear that if you’ve got a movie or a book or a jewelry company or an album that Kickstarter might actually cover your bills, the site has exploded. And it’s both glorious and awful. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

There’s a Lot of Money in iPhone Accessories

Whether it’s turning your terrible iPhone photos into terrible Polaroids, a magic phone charging purse or a cheap plastic stand, apparently everybody has some idea for some accessory the iPhone desperately needs. This guy wants $27,000 for an outlet cover with a iPhone holding shelf.

And he’ll probably get it.

Kickstarter Fashion Is Like An Etsy Preview

No, seriously. Go to the fashion section and just keep scrolling. There are a few serious attempts at developing a clothing line or something, but most of it is stuff that you’ll find on Etsy in six months.

The Technology Section Is Where The Future Is Actually Happening

I’ve been ripping into the more delusional side of Kickstarter, but when it comes to technology, amid the sea of iPhone cases and goofy toys, there are tastes of the future. Some of it’s weird, like lightbulbs you can control with your phone. Still others are so blindingly obvious you’re surprised they don’t exist already, like the voice activated appliance computer you plug into the wall.

Not all of it is so easy to grasp. For example, this prototyping board is only exciting to the kind of people who… uh… build the future.

But it’s there, amid the dross. Kickstarter, for all its flaws, holds within it at least a few of the gems of the future. And you can refine them, a dollar at a time.

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