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(Quartz)   This man lost his house because his Kickstarter was too successful   (qz.com) divider line 89
    More: Dumbass, Chinese Girl  
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22193 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Jun 2013 at 12:56 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-17 02:03:32 PM
Jesus... he lost the girl who spoke Chinese. Where in the world is he supposed find someone else that could speak Chinese?  No wonder he failed.
 
2013-06-17 02:04:42 PM

lemurs: As I recall, the Ogre Designer's Edition from Steve Jackson Games also had difficulty breaking even despite getting almost $1 million in Kickstarter funds, and that had a bunch of experienced professionals working on it.  So it's no surprise when amateurs wind up suffering from Stretch Goal scope creep and get in way over their heads.


Steve Jackson's Ogre campaign was a labor of love for him, and was priced as it was because he wanted to sell a game to fans rather than make large profits.  The game itself is a 25-pound box of paper that is ca. 28" x 24" x 10".  In reality, a product like that should have cost $250 or should have been meted out into separate expansions, but the goal of the project was to celebrate one of Steve Jackson's favorite designs.
 
2013-06-17 02:04:48 PM

Jacob_Roberson: and his relationship with a Chinese girl fell apart, leaving him with nobody who could speak Chinese.

That was your plan? You picked up a Chinese GF so you could work with China?


That was the best part IMHO. His business failed because he stopped sleeping with someone who could translate for him.
 
2013-06-17 02:06:37 PM
For what it is worth, designing a good board game is hard.  I spent quite a bit of time working on one and decided, ultimately, that it was not good enough of a game to put my name on it.

The basic ideas are not hard but getting a game to be fun, replayable, with balance and lending itself to varied strategies is a much taller order.
 
2013-06-17 02:20:54 PM

abfalter: For what it is worth, designing a good board game is hard.  I spent quite a bit of time working on one and decided, ultimately, that it was not good enough of a game to put my name on it.

The basic ideas are not hard but getting a game to be fun, replayable, with balance and lending itself to varied strategies is a much taller order.


Here's the thing about this story though... He didn't design the game.  He took a working game, Glory to Rome, and gave it new art, better cards, and a really nice box and play mats, and sold it through Kickstarter.  I got my copy about a year after the Kickstarter campaign, and it is a really fun game... but the 4th edition version was exactly as fun, and I wouldn't have had to wait a year for a copy.

I'm glad I did eventually get my copy though... so far only one KS project I've backed has completely disappeared.  Here's to hoping that's all.
 
2013-06-17 02:22:21 PM

JuggleGeek: FTFA : Running out of cash and faced with expenses from every avenue, Carter stopped making the mortgage on a house he owned outside Boston, which was also his company address. He eventually lost the house. (Carter, who lives in Amsterdam, admits that had he lived in the Boston house, he might not have sacrificed it for the game.)

He lives in Amsterdam, but owns a house in Boston which is his business address?  This doesn't sound like a "my company lost money" story, it smells like a "I'm a scam artist" story.


Ding!

The part that made me laugh was "one commenter wrote: ".  I hope that wasn't a count.  It should have said "all commenters wrote".
 
2013-06-17 02:25:44 PM

Prey4reign: Maybe he should write a book about it -- call it "How not to Kickstarting A Business by a For Dummyies."


FTFY.
 
2013-06-17 02:29:05 PM
Wow, he farked up at every step. That said, Kickstarter is investing for the masses. Sometimes people are going to lose their money.
 
2013-06-17 02:31:03 PM

justanotherfarkinfarker: Sounds like he just sucks at running a business, and math.


Exactly.  Success at the kickstarter just gave him the means to get in trouble.
 
2013-06-17 02:38:26 PM
Carter cut out middlemen and went directly to a Chinese producer. But soon after he made the link, his Chinese-speaking head of operations quit over disagreements about free shipping and his relationship with a Chinese girl fell apart, leaving him with nobody who could speak Chinese.

Plotting their evil scheme...

imgc.artprintimages.com

We will invest the stupid round-eye's money into our Penis Mightier!
imgc.allpostersimages.com

Naturally, you will wish to try it yourself, first.
24.media.tumblr.com

Stand in the kitty's litter box.  It will absorb the excess Penis Mightier rays.
i309.photobucket.com

Yes, she rides like an old pickup with a busted suspension.
i309.photobucket.com
I forgot to mention; if erection persists for more than four hours of rough sex... a surgical adjustment might be necessary.

Obamacare does not cover this so,
i309.photobucket.com
You might have to sell your HOUSE!!!

MWUHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!
 
2013-06-17 02:39:56 PM
Okay, yeah, he's an idiot. But I think Life magazine had the same sort of problem in the 30s. They sold advertising contracts at start-up rates and then quickly became wildly popular. They had to print tons of copies while tied into tiny revenue.
 
2013-06-17 02:40:35 PM
I agree with the people who say that the fault is not in the kickstarter being too successful; it was the fact that he skipped payments on the house.

That said, it's a sad story.  Glory to Rome is an enjoyable game to play.
 
2013-06-17 02:44:31 PM
I'd guess his gf broke up with him when she realized she was vitally important working as an interpreter but he wasn't willing to pay a fair salary.  "You're my girlfriend, don't you want to help me?  This is for us." doesn't pay the rent.
 
2013-06-17 03:11:29 PM
As many Farkers have identified, this is a cautionary tale of someone without experience and a without a good plan going into business based on the notion that his idea is smarter than conventional retail and distribution channels.  He promised the moon without a shred of an idea about what the actual costs would be to fulfill his promises. I have several friends who have had very successful Kickstarter game projects (including at least one that funded at $250K), and they have had success because they have their shiat together.

Lessons to learn
1) Don't base your ability to communicate with your manufacturers on a personal relationship.
2) Don't try to go for some bizarre scheme of distribution where backers pick their product up at a retailer -- not only does it require a high-level of logistical planning, but the plan also places a lot of trust into retailers to handle your fulfillment.
3) Have an idea of what your shipping costs are going to be before you promote free shipping -- If you end up losing money on each item you ship, you fail at math.
 
2013-06-17 03:46:23 PM

NerdCoreRageQuit: I agree with the people who say that the fault is not in the kickstarter being too successful; it was the fact that he skipped payments on the house.

That said, it's a sad story.  Glory to Rome is an enjoyable game to play.


Apparently not so enjoyable to obtain, however.
 
2013-06-17 04:07:49 PM

bjorky: As many Farkers have identified, this is a cautionary tale of someone without experience and a without a good plan going into business based on the notion that his idea is smarter than conventional retail and distribution channels.  He promised the moon without a shred of an idea about what the actual costs would be to fulfill his promises. I have several friends who have had very successful Kickstarter game projects (including at least one that funded at $250K), and they have had success because they have their shiat together.

Lessons to learn
1) Don't base your ability to communicate with your manufacturers on a personal relationship.
2) Don't try to go for some bizarre scheme of distribution where backers pick their product up at a retailer -- not only does it require a high-level of logistical planning, but the plan also places a lot of trust into retailers to handle your fulfillment.
3) Have an idea of what your shipping costs are going to be before you promote free shipping -- If you end up losing money on each item you ship, you fail at math.


I am going to disagree with number 2. That was a nifty little idea on his part to 1) simplify shipping as you ship to fewer destinations, 2) make contacts with stores and get your product into them, and 3) decrease shipping costs.

Now if it was a universal requirement it brings along potential issues, but if he contacted stores in cities and lined them up and said "if you pick up your game at one of these stores, shipping is reduced by so much" it would be a great little win for everyone.

The offering services without any idea of the cost and not getting a new contact who spoke Chinese when the person he was working with left were the big issues.
 
2013-06-17 04:32:37 PM

dywed88: I am going to disagree with number 2. That was a nifty little idea on his part to 1) simplify shipping as you ship to fewer destinations, 2) make contacts with stores and get your product into them, and 3) decrease shipping costs.


The problem with it is that it's something that shouldn't be promised in a Kickstarter without making sure it was doable first. He had no idea how hard it would be to arrange or whether it would even be feasible when he promised it.
 
2013-06-17 04:40:22 PM
4closurefraud.org


Gee... it's almost as if they DESERVE their wealth, because they really, really do EARN IT.  I mean, who would have thought that a small peon pretending to be a business manager would fail, just because he was GROSSLY INCOMPETENT and out of his depth?
 
2013-06-17 04:52:19 PM

dywed88: Now if it was a universal requirement it brings along potential issues, but if he contacted stores in cities and lined them up and said "if you pick up your game at one of these stores, shipping is reduced by so much" it would be a great little win for everyone.


What's in it for the shop?
 
2013-06-17 04:53:37 PM

weltallica: [4closurefraud.org image 640x380]


Gee... it's almost as if they DESERVE their wealth, because they really, really do EARN IT.  I mean, who would have thought that a small peon pretending to be a business manager would fail, just because he was GROSSLY INCOMPETENT and out of his depth?


Did you just equate a one-man-band operation with a business manager of a mega-corporation?  I do believe you just did.

Impressive.  Stupid, but impressive.
 
2013-06-17 05:07:40 PM
I was kind of moved until I read at the bottom that he would do it again, then I totally lost interest and I couldn't care less if he died. I have no patience for stupidity.

/rtfa
//regrets it
///first use of slashies, going nuts
 
2013-06-17 05:11:14 PM

Gunther: dywed88: I am going to disagree with number 2. That was a nifty little idea on his part to 1) simplify shipping as you ship to fewer destinations, 2) make contacts with stores and get your product into them, and 3) decrease shipping costs.

The problem with it is that it's something that shouldn't be promised in a Kickstarter without making sure it was doable first. He had no idea how hard it would be to arrange or whether it would even be feasible when he promised it.


But it WAS possible, he just didn't do the research into doing it properly.

orbister: dywed88: Now if it was a universal requirement it brings along potential issues, but if he contacted stores in cities and lined them up and said "if you pick up your game at one of these stores, shipping is reduced by so much" it would be a great little win for everyone.

What's in it for the shop?


More people in your store. More people knowing ABOUT your store. It's a pretty ingenious plan, IMO.

Satanic_Hamster: Like I said, I know a lot of people in the gaming industry and a number of tried to go the self publishing route, pre-kickstarter. The failure rate is DAMN high. Trying to self publish a game is pretty much throwing your money away, even if you have an awesome game.


Yes, it is. But Kickstarter now exists, and if done correctly, can be a great way to launch a new game. See: Sentinels of the Universe, Cards Against Humanity (which was virtually all the same rules set from Apples to Apples, just with a twisted theme), and a whole variety of RPGs by veteran (and not-so-veteran) game designers. My household failed to back SotM and CAH because we just didn't hear about them. However, we've supported 12 Days, Superfight, the Pathfinder MMO, the Reaper Bones minis set, the new Dwarven Forge stuff, and Monte Cook's Numenera. The guy in the article got overfunded by about 350%. Reaper was overfunded by 11,000% and Dwarven Forge by 3800%. And Dwarven Forge is run by a guy out of his house. So the dude in the article was a total noob who didn't know how to run a business. He relied on what was apparently a girlfriend to translate for him. He didn't know ANYTHING about shipping or publishing. He failed to do his research, and it ruined him.
 
2013-06-17 05:12:18 PM

Avenger: I was kind of moved until I read at the bottom that he would do it again, then I totally lost interest and I couldn't care less if he died. I have no patience for stupidity.

/rtfa
//regrets it
///first use of slashies, going nuts


That's not a bad thing.  Entrepreneurs make mistakes all the time, and for every success story you here there are dozens or hundreds of people who lost everything trying to make their ideas work.  As long as he learned from his mistakes and doesn't repeat them, the next go might well be much more successful for him.  After all, it seems like he can create a product people want, his trouble was on the logistical side.
 
2013-06-17 05:50:41 PM
Never place the future of your business in the hands of romance.
 
2013-06-17 05:54:33 PM

bjorky: lemurs: As I recall, the Ogre Designer's Edition from Steve Jackson Games also had difficulty breaking even despite getting almost $1 million in Kickstarter funds, and that had a bunch of experienced professionals working on it.  So it's no surprise when amateurs wind up suffering from Stretch Goal scope creep and get in way over their heads.

Steve Jackson's Ogre campaign was a labor of love for him, and was priced as it was because he wanted to sell a game to fans rather than make large profits.  The game itself is a 25-pound box of paper that is ca. 28" x 24" x 10".  In reality, a product like that should have cost $250 or should have been meted out into separate expansions, but the goal of the project was to celebrate one of Steve Jackson's favorite designs.


Also, as someone with a bit of inside knowledge about Steve Jackson Games - my wife worked there for some time - I can tell you that he's not really good with money.  Not ever.  He goes through a sequence of accountants whom he then fires, blames for his problems, and has his mother do the accounting.

When printing, they have to rotate around, because he won't pay a printer until he has to use them again, and then tries to bargain down in the form of, "I'll pay you X percent of our last bill if you print this one," and so on.

In the end, it's the employees there that really bear the brunt of these tactics, as they are burned through and discarded or have their pay cut to meet payroll, or have their name removed from their work and credit given to a long time employee who really only does miniatures.  Really, it's a pretty horrible time all around, especially considering that he lives off of other people's love for gaming, abuses that, and spits them out.

So his money problems aren't necessarily associated with this project.  They're endemic to how he does business.
 
2013-06-17 06:09:04 PM
Kickstarters are a scam, whether or not they "work".

DoubleFine and Veronica Mars just found a new way to make a profit, with suckers offering seed money.
 
2013-06-17 06:16:44 PM

quietwalker: bjorky: lemurs: As I recall, the Ogre Designer's Edition from Steve Jackson Games also had difficulty breaking even despite getting almost $1 million in Kickstarter funds, and that had a bunch of experienced professionals working on it.  So it's no surprise when amateurs wind up suffering from Stretch Goal scope creep and get in way over their heads.

Steve Jackson's Ogre campaign was a labor of love for him, and was priced as it was because he wanted to sell a game to fans rather than make large profits.  The game itself is a 25-pound box of paper that is ca. 28" x 24" x 10".  In reality, a product like that should have cost $250 or should have been meted out into separate expansions, but the goal of the project was to celebrate one of Steve Jackson's favorite designs.

Also, as someone with a bit of inside knowledge about Steve Jackson Games - my wife worked there for some time - I can tell you that he's not really good with money.  Not ever.  He goes through a sequence of accountants whom he then fires, blames for his problems, and has his mother do the accounting.

When printing, they have to rotate around, because he won't pay a printer until he has to use them again, and then tries to bargain down in the form of, "I'll pay you X percent of our last bill if you print this one," and so on.

In the end, it's the employees there that really bear the brunt of these tactics, as they are burned through and discarded or have their pay cut to meet payroll, or have their name removed from their work and credit given to a long time employee who really only does miniatures.  Really, it's a pretty horrible time all around, especially considering that he lives off of other people's love for gaming, abuses that, and spits them out.

So his money problems aren't necessarily associated with this project.  They're endemic to how he does business.


I have numerous friends and two close family members in the gaming industry. It is my understanding that Steve Jackson is a major, major asshole.
 
2013-06-17 06:38:22 PM

TuteTibiImperes: FrancoFile: Rezurok: This man lost  his house one of his houses because his Kickstarter was too successful he sucks at project planning and was too stupid to hire an experienced logistics manager.

Choosing to do business directly with China despite not speaking Chinese likely didn't help him either.  Going through a publisher, choosing a manufacturer who operated in a country where he spoke the language, or putting a disclaimer that the free shipping would only be available in certain countries could have solved him a heap of trouble.

On the bright side, it's a heck of a learning experience so next time he'll know what to do differently.


I've been in purchasing for 25 years. most established companies in asia want to do business in the west, and are sure to have someone one on staff who can read/write passable English. this must have been a pretty dodgy outfit he contracted with. also there are any number of logistics companies who will arrange manufacturer to customer direct service, and handle all the paperwork. to me it's like going to court without an attorney, you can do it, but I wouldn't recommend it. since 9/11 there is just too many regulations and paperwork.
/hooray, finally something I don't have to pull out of my a**!
 
2013-06-17 06:40:40 PM

justanotherfarkinfarker: Sounds like he just sucks at running a business, and math.


This
 
2013-06-17 06:44:04 PM
He should have hired Paul Christoforo as marketing manager
 
2013-06-17 08:10:12 PM
Ask yourself this question:

"How badly would he have been screwed if he had *just barely* made his goal?"

/fark his "I lost my *house*" defense.  You were stupid, dude.
//am more and more surprised at the drama in the boardgaming world
///valley games / katalyka / odin's ravens / who did I miss?
 
2013-06-17 08:57:01 PM
fark Kickstarter.

Never again. Learned my lesson.
 
2013-06-17 10:02:04 PM
How did this guy survive childhood?
 
2013-06-18 01:29:11 AM
I've thrown money at half a dozen 'successful' kickstarters and I ain't seen shiat yet. I quit helping others about a year ago. Supposedly Shadowrun Returns is going to be delivered this month, so we'll see if I get anything out of the hundreds of dollars I've thrown away.
 
2013-06-18 03:09:14 AM
Most entrepreneurs are not successful. Many run into problems caused by themselves, or from unforeseen circumstances.

Sometimes they make it big, sometimes they fall flat on their faces. For every company like Google, Facebook, IdeaPaint, Instagram, etc. there are a LOT of failures.
 
2013-06-18 07:26:34 AM

weltallica: [4closurefraud.org image 640x380]


Gee... it's almost as if they DESERVE their wealth, because they really, really do EARN IT.  I mean, who would have thought that a small peon pretending to be a business manager would fail, just because he was GROSSLY INCOMPETENT and out of his depth?


zwinkels.co.uk

upload.wikimedia.org

Oh yeah, those 1%er executives really earn that money, they're rich because they are better. . .not because they used family connections to get cushy positions and used existing industry dominance to drift for decades, coasting on the success of previous generations or of a single previous entrepreneur who got lucky.   Uh huh.  Yeah.
 
2013-06-18 09:54:19 AM

HST's Dead Carcass: I've thrown money at half a dozen 'successful' kickstarters and I ain't seen shiat yet. I quit helping others about a year ago. Supposedly Shadowrun Returns is going to be delivered this month, so we'll see if I get anything out of the hundreds of dollars I've thrown away.


As above, it really depends how you approach Kickstarter. I've used it to get some already-established stuff. Girl Genius. Reaper. I've done a couple of other books or goodies from webcomic artists who've been around for years and years, so I'm fairly confident they aren't going away.

However, Kickstarter is in essence, as someone (many people) said, investing for the masses. You invest your money voluntarily in a product that you hope will complete. Some don't. If that bothers you, then the risk is too high for you personally. Mileage varies.
 
2013-06-18 02:37:50 PM

Prey4reign: Maybe he should write a book about it -- call it "Kickstarting A Business For Dummies."


Monte Cook already wrote that book.

People and businesses failing due to the sudden surge of success is nothing new, it happened all the time  when the internet first came out. There was a lot of amazon-like companies that failed because they couldn't scale up like amazon could (there are plenty of businesses cases out there for the details.
 
2013-06-18 03:00:48 PM

Jument: Call me old and grumpy but every time someone links me a kickstarter that's supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, to me it just seems lame and stupid.


Everyone and their mother is trying to use the site to make their dreams come true. I avoid anything that some untested person is pinching and doesn't already have some sort of product already in development. I also tend to avoid anything physical (PDFs, downloadable music)

For example:

Numenera - $50, Monte Cooke has done this before and I only got the digital package.

Rifftrax (mst3k) live Twilight show - $100, I love these guys so much I don't care that they didn't get Twilight. But they got Starship Troopers instead and a bunch of swag.

Kobolds Ate My Baby RPG: $25,They already had digital copies available, they wanted to do a print run. I got a digital value pack.

Torment 2 - $80, again they've done this before and I also get a digital copy of Wasteland 2.
 
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