Do Things That Don’t Scale

As I make the final decisions for my first Kickstarter project (Dysfunctional Families The Card Game), one of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot is this article by Paul Graham:

Do Things That Don’t Scale

Right now, I don’t have a pre-existing fanbase or audience — so I have to rely on my charm and good looks to get people to notice the project and buy into supporting it.

I’m not expecting to reach Exploding Kittens or Joking Hazard levels of success. Those campaigns had huge pre-built fanbases.

Instead I am running what is termed a “humble campaign”:
Kickstarter Lesson #172: Should Your First Project Be Epic or Humble?
How to run a humble Kickstarter campaign

My main goal is to run an amusing Kickstarter campaign, get my game funded, and then deliver my game to my backers — and do it in a way that delights them. This is how I will start to build my fanbase, so that I can go for an epic project at some point in the future.

As a small startup (just me, myself, and I), I can’t do the things that an established player have the resources to do. I can’t expect to sell a million of some extra doodad that’s related to the main project. I can’t even devote time to doodad issues.

Instead, what I can do is things that don’t scale, but do delight individual backers.

That’s why I’m thinking about every reward level in my campaign including a hand-drawn stick figure Thank You.

And, yes, I know that I face possible legal issues for sending a Thanks to my customers — but I think it is worth the risk. Besides, the publicity I would get if Citigroup sued me would be insane!

I couldn’t hand draw something for 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 backers. However, I am expecting more like 100 or 200 backers. And I want to make sure that those backers remember Igpay Games fondly — and become lifelong fans who both buy into and promote my future projects.

Check out Dysfunctional Families on Kickstarter to see all the things I am doing that don’t scale.


Update October 27, 2016

For the January 2, 2017 relaunch of Dysfunctional Families on Kickstarter, I will also be doing things that don’t scale. However, I’m going to try some different things this time. I still believe in the idea of delighting early supporters as a way to gain long-term fans.

Leave a Reply