Guest Post by Phil Reed - Kickstarter and Steve Jackson Games, A Response to Michael S
I'm always excited to present guest posters here at The Tavern. When that guest poster is none other than Phil Reed of Steve Jackson Games, I'm well beyond thrilled - Tenkar
Kickstarter and Steve Jackson Games, A Response to Michael S
Thank you, Erik, for sharing our recent "Kickstarter Projects Report" with your readers. We try to share as much info as we can (please see our annual Stakeholders' Report), and with Kickstarter, where so many gamers are helping us to create the things, we thought it essential to continue that transparency.
I noticed that Michael S commented on your share of our report and wanted to answer as best we can. In the comment, Michael wrote:
"I would really enjoy hearing how they manage their KS projects from the inside. Do they have dedicated KS staff? How much of the item is completed before they run a KS? How do they manage all their stretch goals?"
Taking each question one at a time: * "Do they have dedicated KS staff?" We do not. In most instances in the past, Steve and our marketing staff handled constructing and managing active/ongoing campaigns. Since the Munchkin Unicorns project last summer, I've taken on a large percentage of the Kickstarter management -- including outlining and planning -- with assistance from Steve, Susan, and others as appropriate. (Andrew Hackard, for example, is involved in each Munchkin project.)
* "How much of the item is completed before they run a KS?" That varies from project to project, but we try to have the majority of the work done before even launching a Kickstarter project these days. That both provides us will more info to share -- in Munchkin Steampunk: Girl Genius, for example, the team finished all of the cards and prepared them for final review before the campaign launched -- and helps us to avoid the temptation to over-complicate a project.
We don't always have the work completed before going to Kickstarter -- the Hexagram zine project, for example, is still being created -- but we try to have a lot finished. This makes it more likely that we can deliver on schedule . . . or at least close to on schedule.
* "How do they manage all their stretch goals?" Just like everyone else: A mix of marketing and magery. Stretch goals serve to maintain excitement as a campaign unfolds and to improve the final product. The trick is in balancing momentum while, more importantly, not transforming a financial success into a failure.
The majority of our stretch goals are written down and planned before we push the "launch" button -- here is where it helps that most of the work is also done at this time -- but then we're flexible with positioning those stretch goals in the project. We know roughly how much each one adds to the project's expense, so we can shift them around as necessary in reaction to a campaign's performance.
Additionally, some stretch goals are "we must do this," so we try and push those to the front of the campaign. The last thing we ever want to see is that one of our "we really want this to happen" stretch goals fails to unlock. That would lead to more crying than we've seen since the Ogre Designer's Edition project.
Michael, I'm not sure if this properly answers your questions, but I hope that we've provided you with a little more info that helps you to better understand how we approach Kickstarter.
Thanks, Erik, for allowing me to share this with your readers, and for sharing our Kickstarter campaigns on your site! -Phil Reed
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