It seems that everyone and everything these days has a Kickstarter. Some are awesome and some aren’t, some are super practical and others completely esoteric. Yet these distinctions don’t always determine which projects steal the hearts of the public (and the investors) and get funded. We can learn a little bit about crowdfunding campaigns and about what moves the masses by looking at the new king of Kickstarter: the Coolest Cooler.
Yep, a cooler. Surprised? Me too. It’s less of an invention and more of a DIY combination of existing inventions. This cooler has more features than a Ferrari: a Bluetooth-powered speaker, USB port, wheels that can handle the beach, a blender, a bottle opener, LEDs, and a divided internal compartment that holds up to 60 quarts of beer. It manages to be both practical and luxurious, and folks pledged more money than they did for the Veronica Mars movie, Reading Rainbow, and the previous Kickstarter champ, the Pebble smart watch. Those three projects are the types of projects I’d expect to see make history at Kickstarter. Veronica Mars has a huge fan following and had generated movie-related buzz for years, Reading Rainbow has LeVar Burton and the power of nostalgia, and Pebble features cutting-edge smart technology. But the Coolest reigns supreme.
The thing I appreciate most about the Coolest Cooler is that it encourages people to get outside. Want a frozen margarita while you’re out there? You can make one with the rechargeable battery-powered blender. Want to charge your phone? Want to blast music and annoy those people next to you? You can do it all from the comfort of the great outdoors. And the cooler has some other practical picnic features too, like a divider that doubles as a cutting board, integrated storage for plates and knives, and gear tie-downs so you can haul stuff on top. Not very often do you see tech that says, “get thee outside!”
Pebble appealed to tech geeks and people who were in on the idea of a smart watch from the get-go, while the Coolest plugged its little heart out via news and media outlets. Via the Kickstarter campaign, supporters could get the Coolest for $185, but now that that’s over, it’ll cost you a cool $299. Still, given its features, and especially given the hours of enjoyment one can help but have with such an awesome cooler, it’s an investment over 62,000 people feel is well worth it.