Kickstarter’s Charles Adler Shares What The Platform Learned from “We Were Wrong” Decision

kickstarter-logoBack in June 2013, Kickstarter posted a letter to everyone regarding the crowdfunding giant’s campaign for a seduction guide – which was pulled from the platform after it was fully funded. A previously reported, the “Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women” had established a goal of $2000.00 but blew past that target and ended over $16,000.  Prodded by a blog post by Casey Malone – management moved quickly.

Kickstarter, when it shut down the campaign, posted a link to the campaign in an effort for transparency.  The campaign generated much media attention on various levels but also surfaced a needed review on the responsibility of crowdfunding platforms in allowing controversial campaigns to crowdfund on their platform.

Now, co-founder of Kickstarter, Charles Adler, sat down with the Chicago Tribune to discuss the letter’s impact on the platform. During his interview, Adler shared, “As an organization, we prided ourselves in minimizing hierarchy. Our role as leaders was to empower those people working for us.”

Adler revealed to the media outlet that company leaders, including only one woman, quickly gathered to discuss the book’s problem and decided to let the project run its course. After Kickstarter made the decision, a woman in Adler’s design department voiced her opinion.

Charles Adler2Adler recalled, “I got a sense of why the project was so difficult for her. I’m not a woman, so as much as I was also offended by the project, I did not have the same visceral reaction that she did. I did have empathy for what was going on.”

Adler also shared that the company then initiated a discussion on how to handle similar issues and invited those interested to participate. He noted, “If she had a voice, she should be at that table.”

In regards to Kickstarter’s growth since the “We Were Wrong” letter, Adler added, “This was a big growing period for the company. It’s how you deal with those things and those moments that’s important. I think we did a good job working through that in a way that reflected an empathy for everybody who wanted to have a voice in that decision.”


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