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Nicholas Young

Perspectives on family, disability, technology, and media.


Co-created in 2013 by Joshua Wentz and Nicholas Young, Dispatch touches almost every aspect of the modern artist’s career. Wentz, a label-owner and musician, brings a unique perspective from Chicago’s underground.

Life Without Potato Salad

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It started with Potato Salad. This now-infamous project grew from humble beginnings, only seeking to raise $10. But online jokesters soon began contributing, and as of this writing, the project has raised more than $40,000. Spurred on by it’s success, other enterprising pranksters created their own fundraisers. None have succeeded so wildly as the original, but the ranks of fake projects — not dedicated to original creative works — have continued to grow rapidly.

Behind this mayhem is a simple solution. Early in June, Kickstarter adjusted how projects are evaluated by introducing Launch Now. In the past, any new project was vetted by the Kickstarter team before it was allowed on the site. After these changes, anyone with an idea can create a project and publish it instantly, bypassing the verification process. Of course, the creator can still solicit advice from the Staff, but it’s a voluntary request.

In our mind, eliminating this step removes the quality control process that built the crowdfunding giant. Both of your hosts, but Joshua especially, would browse Kickstarter during off-hours looking for Chicago-based art projects to support. Now, instead of seeing only the best, you’re forced to sift though the pile of frustrating jokes before you find a project worth backing.

Will this change unseat Kickstarter as the dominant platform? While consulting artists and entreprenuers who are considering crowdfunding, there’s little doubt that Kickstarter is top of mind. Indiegogo and the rest loom large, but there’s only one clear winner. Will this ongoing debacle encourage the site to reverse it’s decision? Will artists think twice before taking their project to Kickstarter? We discuss this (and more) today on Dispatch.