In the annals of crowdfunding history, this description for a new Kickstarter project may go down as one of the most beautifully simple ever conceived: "I'm making potato salad. Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet."
The internet swooned
The internet swooned. The project has raised more than $30,000 since July 3rd, when Zack Brown posted it with a goal of $10. At time of writing, there were a healthy 25 days left to go in the funding period.
Brown has been rapidly, hilariously adding stretch goals to keep pace with the donations. The simple goals — trying two different recipes after reaching $100, throwing a pizza party at $75 — have taken a turn for the delirious: Brown has now promised to live-stream the potato salad's creation ($1,000) and rent out a venue to invite backers to the party ($3,000). The $3 reward, a bite of the potato salad, will present geographic conundrums that Brown must resolve.
It may be ridiculous, but if people are willing to shell out for a gag, they're probably free to do so. Kickstarter recently loosened its project rules, 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. 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.
Brown didn't expect the fame, but isn't shying away from it, either. In an Ask Me Anything post on Reddit, Brown told the community: "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."
There is one tiny caveat at the bottom of Brown's Kickstarter page: "It might not be that good. It's my first potato salad."
Update, July 7th, 6:40PM ET: The potato salad Kickstarter had raised more than $23,000 at one point, but the total amount pledged has since dropped to just over $15,000 as of this update for reasons unknown.
Update, July 8th, 12:45AM ET: Article updated to reflect new funding.