Scam a Million People

Kickstarter - What would you say to a million people - We're making a book, written by everyone. Your story can inspire others and we would like to share it in this book.

Here’s a classic scam!

Step One : Convince people they’re writers (or poets)

Tell people how creative they are, and how you’re eager to print their work.
Kickstarter - We all have a story to tell. Your story matters to us and we would love to publish it in this book. We aim to create an interesting read that will hopefully inspire at least one person.

Step Two : Print a cheap book

Give each sucker as little page space as possible, to keep printing costs low.

Step Three : Charge a fortune for the book

Everybody who contributed will want a copy! They’ll probably be so proud they’ll buy extra copies for their parents or grandchildren!


Gizmo – The Dog Bowl

Kickstarter : Gizmo The Pet Bowl - The friendlier and engaging pet bowl made to reflect the personality of your best friend in the simplest way.

A pet bowl? Hope this is better than that last one.

Kickstarter : Most pet bowls on the market today aren’t made to reflect the fun and spontaneous personality of our pet friends. My goal was to conceptualize and develop a pet bowl that characterizes the key attributes of a pet while still reflecting balance and elegance. Engaging and simplistic, Gizmo is a product that a pet owner would be proud to display in their home.
Well, that’s quite a load of designer-speak.

I don’t really know what any of that means, so let’s check out the picture.

Kickstarter : Bowl set $45
They’re two thin, vacuum-formed plastic bowls with a colored stripe.

I guess it’s “fun and spontaneous” because the top curves a little?

Kickstarter - From ideation to fabrication, gizmo has made quite a journey. Through concept development and establishing various design constraints, Gizmo is finally ready for production. The prototypes for the Gizmo bowl set were made at the University of Illinois at Chicago using our lathe and vacuum-forming machines.
This project is a perfect example of why I hate the word “ideation”. It’s only ever used by people who think the act of having an idea is magical and special. It’s supposed to imply that having an idea is a process that talented people have to work very hard at.

That’s all complete bullshit. Everybody has a hundred ideas every day. Having an idea is not something to be proud of. It’s not something to brag about. It’s just a thing that happens to anybody that isn’t isn’t functionally brain-dead.

The thing to be proud of is figuring out which ideas are good, Figuring out which ideas will work, Figuring out which ideas are valuable and desirable, and then (and this is the important bit) doing all the hard work to make the idea a reality.

Kickstarter - sketches of dog bowls

So before you put yourself up on a pedestal for being special and creative enough to “have an idea” and then rush to Kickstarter to unveil your idea to the world, stop and figure out if the idea is honestly better than the sea of ideas we all wade through every single day of our lives.

Because this one wasn’t.


Steampunk Jewelry


I’ll grudgingly admit that this project, to make jewelry out of 1950s watch movements ‘counts’ as real steampunk, and not just just glue-some-gears-on-it opportunism.

But here’s what caught my eye :

These are bracelets, with small clocks attached to them. You’ve probably heard of this invention before, but these are special : The clocks don’t work.


loe, the Shoehorn iPhone Cover

Kickstarter :  loe cover is a new smartphonecover with shoehorn

Have you ever wished your phone could help you put on a tight pair of shoes? Of course you have. Well this project tried to make those dreams a reality.

Back in the day it was quite common to own a shoehorn.

This genius apparently believes that shoehorns are some kind of lost technology. He probably found one on an archeological dig and realized that the ancients must have used these mystic devices for putting on tight shoes.

In actual real life, shoehorns are available cheaply in a wide variety of styles. If you haven’t seen one lately, it’s probably because you hang around with people who only wear sneakers and other easy-to-put-on types of shoe.

Kickstarter - iPhone case / shoehorn prototype

Ah, but those old-fashioned shoehorns don’t attach to your phone. … and somehow that’s a problem?

Maybe some people change their shoes so often that just leaving a shoehorn wherever they store their shoes isn’t sufficient. Maybe some people change their shoes constantly, on the road, at coffee shops, during business meetings, weddings, and other situations where they couldn’t carry a shoehorn, but they’d definetely still have their phone!

Prototype iphone case / shoehorn hybrid So go ahead. Use your phone as the handle to what is basically a small pry-bar. What could go wrong?


Lifestyle Design Journal


The “Lifestyle Design Journal” appears to just be a diary with writing prompts. Boring. But I don’t want to talk about the product.

Also, The project was mysteriously canceled after reaching its funding goal. That’s weird, but I don’t want to talk about that either.

I want to talk about this video.

This is so generic it feels like it’s a perfect parody of all those tech startup promo videos we see on Kickstarter and elsewhere. Like all these videos, it’s a festival of stock-footage that serves as a self-congratulatory ode to how awesome upper-middle-class white men are.

Let’s look at the important elements that are required for any start up company’s video :

☑ Creator/Founder sitting in front of wood panels, gesturing with his hands and asking rhetorical questions

☑️ White dude writing inspirational nonsense on a piece of glass.

☑️ A specific example shaming people who don’t use the product.

☑️ White dudes being “creative”

LDJ_Vid_6 LDJ_Vid_5

☑️ Montage of stock footage illustrating “success”

LDJ_Vid_7 LDJ_Vid_10
LDJ_Vid_9 LDJ_Vid_8

☑️ Only show non-whites doing weird “cultural” things.

LDJ_Vid_4 LDJ_Vid_13

☑️ Look! We designed our product on a computer!

☑️ Tropical Sunset

The only thing they forgot to include was a shot of a couple of bearded dudes in a workshop wearing old-fashioned overalls, indicating that their product is made with old-world craftsmanship.


Absurd Survivalist Fire Starters

Let’s be honest. “Survivalist Fire Starters” are just toys.

If you really did find yourself out in the woods in danger of freezing to death, you’d probably be a lot happier with a BIC lighter you got at the drug store for two bucks than some crazy gadget you got off Kickstarter for $25 + shipping.


This device is powered by 2 AAA batteries and will start a fire if you shove it into a large piece of steel wool. This would be perfect for anyone stranded in a forest where steel wool grows naturally, somehow!

… Actually, even in the forest of steel sheep, it wouldn’t really be ideal. A Bic in a plastic bag will easily beat it at both reliability and weight, and if you absolutely have to start a fire with batteries and steel wool, you could achieve the same effect by taking the bulb out of your flashlight and shoving some steel wool into the socket.

Fire pistons are fun science demonstrations, but they’re probably the most annoying way to start a fire known to man.

Any fire piston small enough to carry and operate with your bare hands will only generate a minuscule amount of fire. You need to prep it with a super-flammable material like powered magnesium or “char cloth” to capture a tiny ember barely big enough to see with the naked eye. It’ll take you five minutes to carefully nurse that ember to a fire the size of the flame a lighter would just give you automatically!
fire_tinyspark Oh look! He’s created a fire! Look at it burn!
If I was freezing to death out in the woods, and had just created this pin-prick of fire, I’d sure feel proud of myself for not wimping out and bringing a lighter.

Here’s another one that belongs in the classroom, not the survival kit.
This was actually removed from kickstarter, not because it’s an absurd product, but because it’s a reselling scam. You can pick these up on eBay for about $7 each. (Cheaper in bulk!)
In ideal, sunny conditions, you could light a cigarette with these, but can you imagine using it as a “Great survival tool”?

There you are, stranded on a mountaintop. You spent the daylight hours hiking back into civilization or hunting for food, and now the sun is setting so you need a fire to cook your dinner and avoid freezing to death in your sleep. You reach into your survival kit and pull out … this. Don’t you feel clever?


I really can’t think of a situation, from a plane-crash in The Alps, to being the last survivor of the Zombocalypse, where I would prefer to have one of these crazy tools instead of an ordinary lighter, but if you absolutely must stock your survival kit with a non-standard fire starter, just get yourself an ordinary ferro rod. They’re dirt cheap and work perfectly fine.

Just be sure to also pack a lighter or some waterproof matches for when you get tired of playing cave-man.


ManBox – A Box for Men.


If you’re a man, and you need a place to put your things, it might occur to you that a large, nicely made wooden box would be the way to go.

But wait! If people see you putting things into a nicely made wooden chest, they might assume that it’s a hope chest, and from that, of course, it follows that you are living in hope of soon marrying a man. (hence the name.)

Oh what shame and disgrace! All because you needed a convenient storage container for your various manly items.

 A selection of beautiful, solid oak wood boxes at amazing prices, designed to be innovative, fun and practical.

Ah, finally! A box made just for men. At long last, I can put my things into a box without any risk to my masculinity and heterosexuality.

…, uh. Unless “ManBox” turns out to be gay slang for something, which seems plausible but I’m not going to Google it.


Food bath!

I’ve already covered a woman who wants to bath in gumballs, but but what about other, messier, forms of food?

 Mozzarella Stick Bath  by Ghostus Coyote That's right! I will take a bath in mozzarella sticks to fulfill a lifelong dream as well as help pay for college! Sandy, UT Film & Video  That's right! I will take a bath in mozzarella sticks to fulfill a lifelong dream as well as help pay for college!

That's right! An idea so crazy, it just might work! Take a bath in MOZZARELLA STICKS to raise funds for this years fall and next year spring semester at Snow College. The REAL goal is $8,000 to $10,000 but I did not want people to feel like it would take all that much to get this to happen. Anyway, the plan is simple:
I don’t understand how this is supposed to work. It’s like he looked at a charity event, and not understanding why people give to charity, decided that the magic formula was “Do something stupid == free money”. Cargo-cult fund-raising.

You don’t get free money just to be wacky. Maybe if you were a popular performer you could make it work, but then people would be paying you for the performance, not just for the … mozzerella sticks.

 I am keeping it a secret, calling it my "sexy plan"

Wow, ok. Let’s move on to the next one.

 Spaghetti Bath Double Dare  by Guido "Sauce Boss" Pietto Los Angeles, CA Events  I need some help with a sticky situation. My friends double dared me to take a full-sized bath in delicious spaghetti.

I can’t tell how much of an it is an act (probably all of it), but this guy couldn’t be more of an italian-american stereotype.

Anyway, Harry and Travis double dared me to bathe in a tub full of spaghetti. If you knew me better, you'd know I never turn down a double dare, so this is gonna happen! My family heritage is on the line here.
Well, at least this guy’s honest about his motives. Though, personally, I would have held out for the double dog dare.

Go BIG or go home!  Sincerely,  The Sauce Boss
Well, you can’t argue with math.

Risks and challenges  Plumbing. I'm not sure bathtubs can handle this much spaghetti. I don't have a choice, so I will probably have to redo the plumbing in my building.
Wait. What? No!

Why would the spaghetti go in the plumbing?!? Put the stopper in! You can’t wash it down the drain!