Asked Potato

I’m sure that everyone who ever launched a creative project in earnest and barely scratched 5% of their Kickstarter goal is looking at the Potato Salad project with a certain amount of nun-tripping frustration. The project is to make a bowl of potato salad. The founder was looking for $10. As of this writing, he’s raised $38,804, with 25 days left in the campaign.

I’m not going to make fun of Zack Danger Brown. No no no. I have nothing but bemused admiration for his achievement. He’s like Lindberg, only without the ties to Hitler. He’s accomplished something amazing and downright inspirational: he’s accumulated enough money for a down payment on a house, off the back of a silly idea that doesn’t have any ulterior motive other than whimsy. It’d be lovely if he swung this project over to “donating money to community food banks,” but he’s under no moral obligation to do so. And he isn’t defrauding a single person.

But let’s see him follow through on the rewards he’s promised to his backers. “A bite of the potato salad”? My first thought was to buy thousands of little packets of mayo, salt, and pepper, hire someone to make little packets of dried potato flakes, then hire someone else to throw ’em into envelopes and mail them out. Or can he get away with claiming that “a bite of the potato salad” does not include travel and accommodations to the place where the potato salad will be made?)

My second thought was that if Mel Brooks had a grandson who wanted to get into the movie business and was eager to trade off of the family name, he’d do a rebooted version of “The Producers” and call it “The Kickstarters.”

Aside: it’s definitely time for the world to treat the phrase “Springtime For Hitler” as a catchphrase. It means “Any project that can only fail if it succeeds beyond even the most optimistic projections of its creators.” Such as a connected app that serves a valuable function that people are willing to pay for, BUT can’t possibly scale up. It can sustain itself with 5000 users, it can make a decent living for its creators at 50,000 users, but with 500,000 users, the company goes out of business.

(Usage: “MarinarApp had the ‘should I add more basil to this red sauce?’ solutionspace all to itself. But they failed to attract angel funding. Without the ability to buy more server capacity to handle all of the incoming photos, or hire more chefs to screen those photos and punch in a BasilMeter™ score, the service inevitably Springtime For Hitlered.”)

So let’s all sit back and see how all of this plays out.

My third thought?

Thank God this didn’t happen ten or fifteen years ago. Those were dark days, when early-middle-aged movie executives were desperate to prove to middle-middle-aged senior executives that they were spunky fresh-thinkers with their thumbs on the zeitgeist and please please please there’s no need to fire them and replace them with younger people. Creators of silly blogs were getting movie offers left and right.

If that kind of thinking were still in place, Twerking Cinnamon Challenge Potato Salad Party would be a “go” picture.