Of all the things I ever thought I’d rant about, I didn’t expect potato salad to be on the list. Unless you throw a handful of green shit on the head. I don’t care if it’s spring onion, parsley or coriander – that shit is unnecessary and fucking evil.
What I’m talking about today is the guy who posted a Kickstarter campaign to make potato salad. His target was $10. He raised near enough to $60,000 as I write this, less than a week after launching from around five thousand backers. The campaign still has more than three weeks to run.
A lot of people are angry about this and they expected me to be angry about it. Why? A dude put something up that was obviously a joke and for whatever reason thousands of people were engaged by it. Like some glorious unplanned Dadaist prank, the world is paying some guy to make potato salad. Most people’s objection to the success of this campaign can be summed up as jealousy – even if they won’t admit to it.
“I can’t get support for my thing so this sucks.”
“Why don’t people support a worthy cause instead of this stupid thing?”
Don’t ask these questions of the world. Ask them of yourself. And I mean REALLY ask yourself. This guy engaged thousands of people with a piece of whimsy but you can’t engage people how you’d like. Does the fault lie with other people or with you? Here’s a hint: if you blame other people YOU’RE WRONG! While I regularly bemoan society’s obsession with triviality, if you have failed to engage the people you want then you need to look at yourself, not lay the blame on someone else.
And if you’re saying “Why aren’t people donating to more worthy causes?” the question remains the same. If the cause is important to you, why can’t you make it compelling to other people? It isn’t the job of other people to care about the same things you care about. If you want people to support your cause, get out there and promote it!
And don’t use the cop-out that people won’t get behind meaningful causes. KONY 2012 engaged millions of people worldwide. Then it fell apart because the people behind it were dodgy as hell. But the point is, their campaign worked. Stop complaining about people who succeed where you fail – get out there and make your case.
This idea that you get to dictate how other people spend their money pisses me off. Where does that shit stop? “No, you can’t buy that coffee until you contribute to something meaningful.” Everyone spends money on something that someone else would find frivolous. Passing judgement on people for having a bit of fun makes you look pathetic.
The only thing that would make me angry at this guy is if he didn’t deliver the rewards he promised (and as far as I understand Kickstarter, nobody can really force him to deliver). When you look at the rewards, which he probably expected exactly zero people to claim, things start to get funny.
He has to say the names of thousands of people while making the potato salad (video evidence maybe?) He has to send out thousands of photos, thousands of bites of potato salad (how the hell does that work?) hundreds of t-shirts, hats and books. Oh, and he’s effectively invited hundreds of people into his house to watch him make potato salad.
If I was him, I’d go large with this. Get a local charity involved, do a “world’s biggest potato salad” type of thing. Feed it to the homeless. You could probably get a few celebrities to go along. Make it a huge event. He’d actually be doing some good (which would go some way to silencing the holier-than-thou whiners) and he’d have help with the logistics.
And without help, fulfilling the rewards would be quite expensive. He’d be very lucky if he cleared more than half the amount pledge. Mind you, that’s starting to look like it would be quite a bit of money.
Having kids who are deeply into online games like Farmville can be a bit weird. The insistence of “I can’t let my crops wither” seems a little disconnected from reality from time to time.
Now, I get computer games. I enjoy them. So I’m not about to go on a “you kids need to get outside into the real world” rant. Although that’s not a bad idea. Just stay off my lawn. Farmville I avoid – I’m more of a Zombie Farm kind of guy:
My recent trip to the UK with my partner had many high points but one of the fun surprises was seeing a play set of hers from about 40 years ago that showed the more things change, the more they stay the same. This play set involves dozens of tiny plastic pieces that you put together to make and decorate a farm – Farmville before the internet or home computers!
Just like Farmville, with this toy you got a basic set that is designed to get you hooked so you spend money upgrading to more features and pretty things. You can move the components around as much as you like for many different looks.
After playing with it for a few minutes we both wished you could still buy this in shops. I guess the addictive nature of this and its similarities to Farmville shows the more things change, the more they stay the same.
And just for a sense of perspective and scale, here’s my massive head next to the farm:
When Flash first landed on the World Wide Web (we still called it that back in those days) it was very popular and it became common for websites that wanted to look “cool” to load a Flash animation when a visitor arrived at the site. The standard method was to force the user to sit through this animation to convince them of how cool you were.
As time passed it became widely accepted that this practice was, to use the technical term, totally fucked. Despite years of frustrated users screaming at the websites to get that stupid fucking intro out of their way and let them use the site, some sites argue that there are certain cases where a Flash into is still a good idea.
Maybe so. I’m a helpful guy. Really. So I’ve provided this handy flow chart for all web designers and marketing people to consult before they put a Flash intro in place. Use this and no matter what your product, no matter who your target audience, you will always reach the right decision:
Thanks to everyone for the overwhelmingly positive response to this post. I fixed the appalling typos that were in the first paragraph after they were pointed out to me. Interestingly (to me at least) this post has also been translated into Italian: http://www.wafer.it/main/index.php?id_pag=52&id_blog_post=48
I had a fun time on BlogTV tonight. If the idea of interacting with me live seems like fun to you, you should sign up to get notifications of my live shows. Or follow me on Twitter to get tweets telling you what I’m doing. Or not. I completely understand if this doesn’t appeal to you.
But we have fun doing bizarre things like playing 20 questions. And I do occasional rants. And people frequently convince me to do stupid things:
And there are sexy goings on like me rubbing my nipples:
Plus you often get sneak previews into what I’m doing if you tune into the BlogTV shows – I was showing off prototype t-shirt designs today. All in all, it’s fun.
If you’re into fun.