The Fountain War kickstarter campaign that marked the joint venture between CCP and TMC has been pulled. The effort to commission the established author, Jeff Edwards, to write a genre-creating “non-fiction sci-fi” on the 2013 war between Goonswarm and Test Alliance, principally has been terminated early. With only a few days left, the project neared $40,000 of the $150,000 goal, well below where it should have been to become a success.
In an internal statement to Imperium members, The Mittani addressed the project troubles and blamed himself for its ultimate failure to find crowd sourced funding. He also apologized and talked about future prospects for the book effort.
“Shooting Old Yeller: Nuking & Relaunching the Kickstarter
In about an hour I’m going to nuke the Kickstarter for the Fountain War and announce that it will be re-launched in March without all the stupid and now-obvious fuckups: the 150k funding goal, the backer rewards, the shipping costs, the lack of sample fiction, the whole thing was rushed as fuck and an easy win turned into an opportunity for our enemies to come at us with long knives and settle scores.
The ultimate responsibility is mine; we’ve never listened to outside experts on anything but for some reason on this one, even though my intuition was screaming that shit was wrong, I did the ‘what do I know, I just run a big space guild’ and next thing you know, the whole coalition is attached to a fucked up version of what is legitimately a really cool project. The fuckup was not ‘outsiders led us astray, blame them’, the fuckup was listening to them at all. Who’s fault? Mine. Every one of you got dragged along behind that mess and I’ve been kicking myself nonstop since it began, and I’m sorry.
Here’s how it went down. In September we began talking to CCP about this deal. We wanted to launch in October, but lawyer crap takes time and the deal was only inked two days before EVE Vegas. The two best ‘windows’ for a Kickstarter are October and March. Because we didn’t do tons of preparation until the deal was signed — prepping for a non-existent deal is unwise — at this point we could have either waited for March or tried for a November, pre-holidays launch. We rushed to November and spent 90% of our efforts on video production, writing the Kickstarter page itself, and on art assets and endorsements. As you can guess, pretty much everything we fucked up was done at the last minute. Let’s examine those fuckups in more detail.
The funding goal for 150k was dumb as hell. It should have been in the 10-20k range with stretch goals for more of Jeff taking time off work and doing stuff like audiobook editions. Unlike every other part of a Kickstarter which you can edit after launch, the funding goal is set in stone and that was an albatross around our necks. Folks may want to have this book, but not to the point of Jeff taking a whole year off his day job to do it without any sample chapters to read first.
The backer rewards were particularly fucked up, and this is where I feel the most cringe – in a long pre-launch meeting I stopped arguing with our ˜experts˜ because I assumed that the rewards that were the most stupid and inflammatory would never make it past review and approval. They did: yacht parties, Mittani corpses, all that bullshit did not get bounced, and we came off as self-obsessed, money-grubbing assholes. There were also obvious oversights like not having a proper paperback edition, the shipping costs were cribbed from the Battletech Kickstarter at the last moment by our advisors, etc.
It’s not like I have difficulty putting my foot down in other aspects of life, but I prioritized the experience of our marketing team in this and that turned out to be a mistake. As soon as the launch happened and shit went off the rails I got the Kickstarter admin login myself and seized the wheel personally and began nuking all the dumb crap and unfucking things as best as I could without listening to anyone outside of our space-tribe.
The most obvious fuckup was not making a thread on goonfleet dot com saying ‘yo heres what we wanna do how should we do this and what rewards/pricing/etc do you guys think would be cool’, and all this would have been avoided.
So I’m nuking this sucker early, in about an hour from this post or earlier if the winds of my whims change, and then we’re going to re-launch a modest and not droolingly idiotic version in March after listening to what you guys actually want (audiobook, not a dumb as shit starting price, etc) with proper backer rewards, better research and communication on shipping costs, etc.
Thanks again for putting up with these fuckups, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the rollercoaster of drama surrounding this welp. We’ve learned a lot the hard way, and there are a number of reforms we’re going to be making in the aftermath of this adventure, such as a data-dump/reveal on the mechanics and purpose behind TMC itself – after Tegiminis had his public meltdown on reddit about the vast sums of money the site earned in 2013 and 2014 (‘one whole thousand dollars a month’, ‘horny white boy lifestyle’ and ‘wallowing in pleasure’) we might as well go vulgar about the real purpose of this thing, since games media sure as shit isn’t about making fat stacks of cash.
The Mittani, on 03 Dec 2015 – 4:18 PM, said:
Realtalk: I feel ashamed about how this whole thing went down. The worst aspect of it was the 150k price making it look like we were trying to exploit our own people for profit, which is the line the enemy ran amok with, a weapon I essentially handed them on a golden platter. The ‘how do we handle shipping we need to launch tomorrow’ -> ‘just copy what Battletech did’ kludge reinforced that, both the funding goal at 150k, the shipping stuff being a last minute c&p created a perfect storm of reasonable doubt about my intentions. This has made people whose opinions I value seriously question my motives in leading our people, and I regret the shit out of that.
It’s a cool project and I want to get more shit written about Eve to draw more folks to the game by authors who aren’t hacks, and Jeff Edwards writes damn good books, but due to my fuckups here it looked like a ridiculous cashgrab instead. Ugh.”
Editor’s Note: The text quoted above was meant for internal alliance consumption, much like the alliance updates we often feature. As such, the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the TMC editorial staff.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com.