You’re about to begin a Kickstarter campaign. Well here’s a few tips, some things I’ve learnt, a few things to avoid, that could make the difference between success and failure.

1. Press “Go” without involving everyone

Do not press the “Go” button when your partner is doing dishes in the other room! No, that would be bad. May I even be so bold as to suggest pressing the button in style, maybe with a little champagne? Everyone involved in the project should be gathered around the computer, glasses in hand and some kind words said, maybe even directly to the person who created the project. Because maybe if she finds out her campaign was launched when she sits down at her desk and gets the congratulations email from Kickstarter, after she does the dishes, she might become what we call in our family “un-rope-able”. This early button pushing behaviour might also to lead to domestic disharmony that might last for days and a couch might be involved too, but I don’t know, this article is purely hypothetical… just remember rule number one… be inclusive. Please.

2. Start the campaign without a plan

Pressing the button is just the beginning, before you even press the “Go” button, you should have identified some evangelists to help spread the word. This saves you the embarrassment and humiliation of appearing like a non-stop billboard for a month and having people avoid you in the supermarket, from fear you might mention your project – yet another time. (Arithmetic VillageArithmetic VillageArithmetic Village…)

3. Assume a Kickstarter campaign will get you out of Jury duty

This one is important. The judicial system has not discovered Kickstarter or crowdfunding, they think it is something that involves jumper cables.  If you do, by some lucky chance, get chosen to serve on a jury, there is no internet in the courthouse, so you might have to sneak off to a cafe to squeeze in five or ten minutes on Facebook. The worst thing is this: You also might actually get so involved with the criminal case that may or may not involve robbers who accidentally stab themselves while climbing into the getaway car with all of their loot (no kidding), that you may even forget entirely about your project and decide to be a detective instead.

4. Move house in the middle of the campaign (this might be obvious)

Moving takes time and energy, and running a successful campaign usually involves actually knowing where your computer is and having consistent internet service.

5. Have children

They are cute and all, and when they grow up they might even make you a cup of tea, or  take you to a nice brunch. But when they are under the age of 18, they have teacher conferences, fundraisers, potlucks, plays, and like to eat three times a day, every day. They don’t drive until they are around 17 but have lots of places to go like school, ballet and gymnastics, swimming, etc. Definitely do not have three children in your home while running a kickstarter campaign, send them to their grandmothers for the month, that’s what grandparents are for.

If this free advice is helpful, please donate a dollar or two to my campaign – there’s still hope yet!

March 23rd – I’m halfway through the campaign and I can’t wait to get started, after I pack up a few more boxes…

BTW If you have some do’s and dont’s, things you learnt about how to run a great campaign, please leave a comment, as a gift to the next people looking for some wisdom.

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Hip!

March 10, 2012

The last month I have been preoccupied with a dilemma.

I write about it in “It Takes a Village“.

After realizing that we would have to come up with a plan to finance the next version of Arithmetic Village. We decided to apply to Kickstarter and we were accepted!

Kickstarter is a crowd funding online community full of very artsy movies, artsy projects, ideas and books. It’s very hip, it’s very young. I know that I am a middle-aged, mother of three, educator, and none of those adjectives are hip. In fact I know the word hip is not hip, but I have no idea what the new words are my teenagers wont share them with me. (it’s just wrong, they say).

I know my audience for the Arithmetic Village project, a sweet old-fashioned positive, playful introduction to math concepts, books and iPad applications might be laughed at by the other campaigners. When you are young and in your twenties, the last thing you are thinking about is math programs. This means I will have to educate a new demographic about crowd-funding. The busy parents, home-schoolers, educators who are just surviving day-to-day. My plan is to teach them something new, something hip. Just think, I can pave the way to creatively fund the fabulous projects of millions of other stay-at-home moms and educators!

It is so exciting, so inspiring to be a part of this new way of being, please have a look at our Kickstarter campaign and please help spread the word!

monk

March 6, 2012

As I sat at the bus stop, wondering if I had missed it, I realized that not only do I no longer have a cell phone to check the time, or a watch, or a car, or a computer, and I was on my way to see a the real estate person, because the house we rent was sold. It dawned on me, I am living the life of a monk.

The best thing about this sudden realization, is that I am content with my circumstances. Calm, cool and collected. Pretty impressive for a peri-menopausal woman, If I don’t say so myself.
My month has been full. As it should be. We are in planning mode- planning for a new home, planning for a kickstarter campaign, And living mode with bills and children and dance and swimming and friends and the beach etc. And I am in questioning mode. The biggest question for me now is true or false- It is better to give than it is to receive.
You can probably guess which way I am leaning, as I said, I am a monk…..

Brother.

February 5, 2012

He cried the day his third little sister was born.

Destiny sealed.

No one to play rough with, no extra testosterone to talk to.

A house full of kittens and dolls and screeching.

I tried to make it up to him, I really did. I worked for years to throw a baseball straight and far, but it flew high and slow. He would spend his life running twice as far as humanly reasonable to catch a Frisbee. Read the rest of this entry »

Teacher.

January 27, 2012

Debbie was not a warm and fuzzy teacher.

She didn’t smile, but she didn’t frown.

She focused on the children, was firm, kind and direct.

I never saw anything like it.

One three-year old was having a fit. This child didn’t want to put on her shoes to go outside and it was a rule.

She wiggled on the ground squirming this way and that, she screamed loudly and pounded her fists.

Debbie ignored her. When she did stop, the teacher asked calmly, “Are you done?”

The child stared at her blankly.

“I’m here if you want help with your shoes… or are you going to do that kicking thing a bit more? Now that was interesting.”

The child stared at her, then said, “But I don’t want to put my shoes on!”

Debbie replies, “Oh, so you  have a problem. I wonder how you are going to solve it.”

Sometimes I hear Debbie whispering into my ear, “It looks like you have a problem, Kim, I wonder how you are going to solve it…”.   Then I stop kicking, regroup and figure out what I’m going to do.

I think she taught me more than my daughter.

Don’t say anything.

January 22, 2012

“Don’t say anything!” she demanded in-between sobs.
“I can’t promise you that.” I said, the adrenaline flowing.

Before she was happy, but now she was shaking, hyperventilating.
The “popular girl” was upset at her. It was too much for her thin body.
“I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead.” she said over and over.

As I drove away from our house, I saw the car of girls pull up quickly behind me. They flashed their lights.
I pulled over, veins vibrating as my daughter caught her breath and exited the car.
She met the other girl in the middle and handed over the hat and the ticket.
The boy’s hat and ticket.
The boy who the popular girl likes.
(It’s a long story.)
My hand reached over and opened the car door.

The words, “Don’t say anything” humming in my memory,  were not strong enough to stop my hand from opening my door. Read the rest of this entry »

The judge.

January 13, 2012

“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.”
― Erica Jong, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

I used to judge people. It’s a long story of personal evolution. I like to think I don’t do it anymore, but honestly, sometimes I do.

The most recent wrath of my judgment was with a “sustainable home” in own neighborhood a few years ago. I watched as this huge “Sustainable Home” imported materials from over the globe and used heaps of energy to build. I tried to attend the open home with an open mind, but I was particularly upset by the plastic, the imported furniture and the cotton sheets from China. I hoped that a little more effort and consciousness would have been weaved into the final product. I wished that it had bamboo bathmats, recycled art, or at least, locally made furniture. I became quite self riotous and bitchy about the whole thing.

It wasn’t pretty.

These people were at least trying. Their focus was power generation, and on that front they did a relatively good job.

My tendency to judge is something that I think about with Arithmetic Village. Read the rest of this entry »

Angel

January 8, 2012

I thought I knew everything before I birthed this child. And if I only had one child, I might still be sitting in my pool of arrogance.

Our pregnancy was different (we lost her twin). Her birth was different, more intense, but fast (under two hours). She was the sweetest, most sensitive baby I have ever met, we called her “angel” from the beginning.  I remember tossing her in the air, just a little, like I have with many babies before her. I remember the look. “What the heck are you doing throwing a baby?”- she scowled at me firmly. Once after I lost my temper and yelled, she calmly looked at me and said, “Mom, is this suppose to help the situation?”  I think she was six. The wisdom that flowed from this young, fair child never ceases to amaze me. I once used a figure of Confucius to represent her, then stopped myself.  It is not her job to be a teacher. But in so many ways, she is.

And today she is 14. Another seven year cycle entered. This is the cycle where she will begin to make more choices on her own, sharing the responsibility with me until she is 21. Then she will be free of my input. I’ll do my best to guide her well the next seven years, and she’ll have to endure my clumsiness and good intentions until the end. She’s been patient with me so far and freedom is just around the corner….

She enters this new faze in the sky, between parents’ homes, unconventionally missing her birthday entirely over the date line. When she’s older, she can logistically deduct a year, see how wise is this angel?

Walt.

January 5, 2012

As an anti-globalisation feminist, I know a lot about Disney. I’ve read the articles, seen the movies. I understand the innate racism, the sexism, the symbol of corporate sponsorship and the epitome consumerism gone mad.

I know, I know, I know.

But  I also know that I am a child of Southern California and my grandparents had an interesting job, they managed the Travel lodge next door to Disneyland.  So, whenever I visited my grandparents, I also visited Disneyland.  Luckily for me, that was often. Going to Disneyland , for me, is like me going home.

You could imagine my memories: The first time through the haunted house with my grandfather is one of my most treasured moments. The time I let go of my red balloon and blessed it on its way instead of crying, was my first lesson in detachment. Read the rest of this entry »

Next time..

January 4, 2012

Next time I go to the states I’ll…..

1. Make time to visit my friends. I have been blessed with lovely people who I’ve known for a long time and who I love at a soul level. Every time I see them is a gift. Next time I will give myself more than two days to drive from Eugene to Southern California so I can swing by and visit them.
2. Make time to visit Cyber friends. I drove right through neighborhoods of people I follow online. I would have loved to catch up and meet some  of them in person over coffee. I would love to thank people like wonder in the woods in person for all of their support this last year.

3. I’ll spend more time there. I know three weeks seems like a lot of time for an american, but the time flew by quickly for a Kiwi, I am used to a slower pace. I would have spent three days at Disney, more time with my parents, more time with my friends and family and more time to relax and to be spontaneous. I would have loved to catch a movie or go for a hike.

4. I’ll go to a grocery store more than once. There were so many new things like cranberry raisins and Advil that I can’t get in New Zealand. I will slowly go down the isles and indulge in some goodies.

5. I will make more time for some quality op shopping. The US has some awesome op shops. Imagine more people, more clothes, better deals..

This trip was perfect, but I wanted to write myself a reminder for next time… until then I am sorting out posts from my trip and planning an adventurous new year…