It seems everyone loves potato salad.
On July 3, Zack Danger Brown launched a very simple Kickstarter campaign:
"I'm making potato salad. Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet."
Brown's crowdfunding goal: $10.
His tasty idea was an instant hit online. As money poured in, he added stretch goals: For $35, he'd make four times as much potato salad. If he raised $75, he'd throw a pizza party. And for $100, he'd make two different potato salad recipes.
"I've always enjoyed potato salad at Memorial Day parties and Labor Day parties," Brown told Buzzfeed. "Early this week someone asked if I'd ever made potato salad and I couldn't say that I had. So I turned to Kickstarter to change that."
The money didn't stop coming. So he added even greater stretch goals: For $250, he'd use "better mayonnaise." If he raised $1,000, he'd do a live stream of the potato-salad-making.
“[My original goal was] $10. I thought I could possibly get to $20 and have to make potato salad with a stranger," he said. "Now I get to make potato salad with the whole internet! Someone said they could help me set up a live stream, so I guess we’re doing that!”
On Sunday, after he raised $5,000, Brown uploaded a thank-you video to his supporters.
He also made T-shirts.
As of Tuesday morning, he raised just over $39,000. He still has 24 days to go.
This weekend, Brown participated in a Reddit AMA.
"I never thought it would go this far. $10 seemed like a good, conservative goal. I think the thing people are responding to is the opportunity to come together around something equal parts absurd and mundane. Potato Salad isn't controversial, but it seems to unite us all," he wrote on Reddit.
The Verge explained that Kickstarter recently loosened its project rules and regulations, "more or less allowing anything not illegal, regulated, or dangerous."
"While the company formerly vetted campaigns before letting them through, they've since adopted a more laissez-faire approach: projects can move through without approval, although Kickstarter reserves the right to shut them down," wrote The Verge's Colin Lecher.
"It's hard to say whether the potato salad project would've been shut down under older regulations. There were rules against 'fund my life'-style projects, although food was acceptable. In any case, it's gained enough attention that it seems unlikely to be closed now."
As for the "risks and challenges" of the project, Brown is honest: "It might not be that good. It's my first potato salad."
He also has some logistics to figure out. All backers who pledge $3 or more are promised a bite of the potato salad. How is he going to safely mail the perishable bites?
"Yea, it's going to be a challenge. I would have put it under risks if I had ever considered that anyone outside of Columbus would want some. I thought I'd just go to people's houses and hand it off," Brown responded to a Reddit user.
During his Reddit AMA, Brown invited everyone to his potato salad party:
"No invite needed. Just tell the bouncer that you're from the internet."
At this rate, he'll need something bigger than just a party hall.
"Now that we're inviting the whole internet, we'll have to do this outside. Maybe on Labor Day," he wrote.
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