Perry loved music. When he graduated from college he became a regular DJ in New Orleans. He then moved into a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan with a couple of friends hoping to get in the music business. He applied for many entry level positions, though he wasn’t able to get a single interview.
He moved back to New Orleans and spent several years trying to become an electronic musician while waiting on tables and working at a pre-school. He got an idea to create a web site to help working artists like him. He contacted Austrian DJ duo Kruder and Dorfmeister to ask what it would cost to bring their show to the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2001. They wanted $15,000 and five business class tickets, an amount that was beyond what Perry could raise. He felt that if he could only create a way for people to contribute, they could raise the money and many people would have a great time.
Over the next 4 years, he would ignore the idea and return to it when he was feeling lost. “This thing had a power to it,” says Perry, referring to his idea as “it was pulling me”. In 2005, he returned to New York to start working on his idea, “Kickstarter”. He bounced between day jobs. He was waiting on tables at a Brooklyn restaurant where he met Yancy Strickler, who began to help.
Eight years after Perry came up with the idea, Kickstarter went live April 2009. It had just a few projects that included a Grace Jones T-Shirt and Yancy Strickler’s collaborative art book. In March of this year, Kickstarter surpassed over one billion in pledges for creative projects in film, music, art and theater.
With over 63,000 projects funded, Perry idea that inspired him in New Orleans was validated. Many people are willing to contribute small sums to creative projects that we can all enjoy.
Kickstarter contributors are not investors, as they do not become part owners of the project. Contributors are not buying a product, though they receive gifts at certain contribution levels that are far less than their contributions. Why do people want you to pursue your dream?
Dr. Martin Seligman, a founder of Positive Psychology, may be able to explain this by what else Kickstarter contributors get. Positive Psychology is about understanding how to achieve personal well being rather than solve past problems. The theory is that once we have enough money that we are not stressed about it, we want five things:
- Positive Emotions
- Engagement that leverages our strengths and talents
When we pursue our dreams, sometime we wonder what is in it for others. Dr. Seligman and Perry Chen show us that we (and those who will help you) need relationships, meaning and accomplishment for well being. Dr Seligman supports this with scientific evidence in his book Flourish and Perry Chen demonstrates it with his company Kickstarter. There was a lot of well being in Kickstarter contributers the night of the Academy Awards in 2013. The documentary Inocente became the first Kickstarter funded film to win an Oscar.
If you have a dream or a big idea, we are ready to improve our levels of well being by helping you. If it requires raising money, post it on Kickstarter today. It may just help you make almost anything happen.