Blame, fault and responsibility and Kickstarter creators
I’ve taken more shots at writing this blog than most that I post. That’s probably because my nature is often aggressive and discursive, and that can be divisive, which isn’t what I want this blog to be. I want this blog to be about coming together, so I will try to make it that. There is, sometimes, a tendency on the part of some Kickstarter creators, when things go slightly wrong, which they often do, to approach their responsibility in a manner that is defensive rather than open. A drive to defend against accepting blame in a manner that stops them from taking responsibility.
I don’t think that backers are looking to blame a creator when things go slightly wrong. When things go badly wrong, when money is taken and projects never delivered on, possibly then. In my experience though even when things get to that point, if an honest attempt was made to provide what was offered, if all that was done to make right that could be, backers are more understanding that creators might expect and more often than not want closure on their failed projects more than a figure to lynch. Backers are looking for a competent figure to take responsibility for failings and offer guidance towards success.
There is a difference between responsibility and fault or blame. The Kickstarter projects that I launch I am responsible for. No-one else chose to launch them on the date or in the way that I chose, only me. Everything that happens in that project then stems from me. I’m not to blame for everything that then happens, not all of it is my fault, but every single thing that occurs is my responsibility. I don’t run Kickstarter projects to put a wall between myself and my backers, I run them to show them what is happening, explain why I made the choices I made, whether they go right or wrong, and work with them to create something that we can all be proud of.
I want to write this blog not to add to the feeling of fault or blame that I know Kickstarter creators feel when things go wrong. However usual it is for projects to go over schedule that never makes it feel any better when it happens to you. Rather I want to say that coming to your backers when things to go wrong with an attitude of defense, an attitude of explaining why things weren’t your fault isn’t the way to approach them, its not fair on your backers and in the end its not right for you.
When things go wrong backers know that you couldn’t have predicted whatever it was that delayed you. They know that you didn’t want for things to slip over schedule. Don’t come to them pointing out that it wasn’t you, that they shouldn’t blame you or asking how you were supposed to know. Instead take responsibility for the errors that occur on your watch, whether you created them directly or not, offer a plan to correct or a date for the next step forwards, and you’ll find the responses that result aren’t a torrent of blame but rather appreciation for clarity and honesty and a support that goes further than any separation from failures ever would.
I know this has been one of my shorter blogs, and in truth a lot of that is due to my cutting out more specific and calling to account of creator choices in this regard. As I said, that’s not what I wanted this blog to be. I will say though, I’ve never blamed a creator for things going wrong during a project, apart from those who told me that it wasn’t their fault. What it comes down to is that when you’re a Kickstarter project creator, you’re the one with “The buck stops here” sat on your desk. That won’t always feel fair, and it will sometimes be scary, but that’s how it is, and shirking that responsibility doesn’t help anyone, because if not you, then who?