Here’s news that will frustrate your aunt who makes potato salad at every cookout: there’s someone out there (Zack Danger Brown) who is about to earn $70,000 for it. And he’s getting paid by strangers on the internet. And he doesn’t even have a recipe for it yet. Zack created a potato salad kickstarter campaign shortly before July 4th and was pretty straightforward with his call to action: “Basically, I’m just making potato salad,” he wrote. “I haven’t decided what kind yet.” Initially, he wanted to earn $10. As of press time, he has convinced over 5,000 backers to commit more than $70,000.
How did he do it? Forbes suggests that it’s his timing and “hilarious, deadpan style” of writing that made it a brilliant Kickstarter campaign. For example, in the risks section, he writes: “It might not be that good. It’s my first potato salad.”
Zack also created prizes for contributors as the campaign got more visibility. For those who pledge $1, Zack will say their names out loud while making the potato salad. $20 gets you a (personalized) potato-salad themed haiku and Zack will carve your name into a potato that will be used in the salad. There’s also the reward of a trucker-style hat declaring, “I Potato Salad.”
It all started as a joke among friends. Zack told SF Gate: “We have some friends that just moved into a new house with a disproportionately large bathroom. One of jokes was that we’d throw party in their bathroom and fill their beautiful bathtub with potato salad. Someone said, “We’re going to need funding for that.” So I sent them a link to my Kickstarter campaign. I was hoping that my friends would laugh at the idea that I said, “Here’s a Kickstarter, give me money to make potato salad.”
$70,000 later, we can only imagine what would happen if Zack and his many backers dedicated their time toward a worthier cause.
The good news is Zack plans to donate the extra 70K: “I want to spend money doing the most good without breaking Kickstarter’s terms of service. I’d like to give it to nonprofits that support hunger and homelessness. We are going to have a massive party in Columbus and invite the Internet to come have a bite. I am going to stay true to my promise to the Internet. But people have asked me to come to all these towns and make potato salad, but I would rather be donating the money — even though flying around the world making potato salad would be pretty cool.” Considering Zack has never even made potato salad before, a nonprofit donation is much cooler.