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Kickstarter: Bringing an idea to life

Kai Ryssdal Sep 21, 2015
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Note: In light of Kickstarter’s announcement Sunday that it will become a public benefit corporation, we’re resurfacing our 2014 interview with their CEO.

Yancey Strickler was eating at a restaurant in Brooklyn where he had been a regular for many years. His waiter was Perry Chen.

“Perry was an artist and someone who had a lot of interesting ideas,” says Strickler. “He had this thought about creating a system where he could propose an idea to the world, and people would support it if they wanted to, but no one would be charged unless everyone thought it was a good idea.”

Thus, Kickstarter was born, Strickler is CEO and Chen is Chairman. But it didn’t happen overnight. They went around pitching the idea to big investors for four years, facing rejection after rejection.

“It was terrible,” Strickler says. “One guy said, ‘There’s already enough art in the world why does there need to be more?'”

Ouch.

Listen to the full conversation from Marketplace’s live show in New York by clicking on the audio player above.

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Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.