As you probably already know, the Backcountry Boiler launched on Kickstarter last Wednesday, and how! My goal was to raise at least $20,000 during the 30-day window, and as of this writing, the project had already raised $27,426! If I’m not careful, I might just have a full-time job on my hands here (okay, so that would be ultra-cool).
The amount of support the Boiler gets continues to both amaze and humble me. And while the ultralight backpacking community has always been a great supporter of the project (a fact for which I am forever grateful), the Boiler has also started to get some real attention from all those who enjoy the outdoors. I met Stephen Regenold (The Gear Junkie) through Twitter and his coverage of the Boiler both on Outside Magazine Online and his own site has given it a real boost. Gear Patrol ran a post on it, and REI even gave it props on their Facebook page! I’ve gotten a bunch of other media inquiries about it, so you can hopefully expect to see it in a lot of other places, too. All of which I will post here when they come out. :)
Going through Kickstarter was the obvious choice given the history of this project. The Boiler was the work of a dedicated amateur, and was born of an online community. I think that the crowd-funding approach I used with the first run, and that Kickstarter is the King of, is sheer genius. It’s sheer genius because it creates value out of the funding process itself.
When a bank lends someone money, value is created by whatever it is the person does with the money that wouldn’t have otherwise been done. But no value is created from the funding mechanism itself. The bank gets back a little bit more than it loaned out, and the borrower pays back a bit more than they borrow. But it’s zero-sum.
In crowd-funding, on the other hand, not only is value created by the work done with the capital raised, but value is created by the process itself for both the lender (the customer) and the borrow (the seller). In my experience, and speaking from both sides of the equation, when you help to fund a project, the goods or services you receive in return mean more to you than something you might buy at a store. You, after all, helped make that thing possible. For me, the feeling is somewhere in between what you have towards things you make yourself and things you receive as a gift. As the seller, it builds a strong, direct relationship with those who will be using the product or service you want to provide. Banks vet the projects and businesses they loan money to in an effort to see what products or services will be successful enough to pay back the loan, but they’re just a proxy. Private equity is largely the same. Going right to customer is the real deal. Market research, sales, publicity all in one. It’s awesome.
I’ll continue to post things here while the project is open on Kickstarter, but I hope you’ll give that page some attention, too. It’s kind of fun watching the funding level go up (and up and up [crosses fingers]).
For those who have the first generation of Boilers, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about you. The new stopper and soft-shell sleeve/stuff sack will be available separately if you want to upgrade the OG. I’m just working out the details.