This is a story of hope.
Kickstarter recently loosened its strict restrictions on what types of projects may crowdfund (in short, now: Basically anything. Unless it's illegal). This has opened Pandora's box to the likes of Zack Danger Brown from Columbus, Ohio, who wants to make potato salad.
The campaign is called "Potato Salad" and, as Zack explains on the page, "Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet." He set out with a modest goal of $10.
In less than a week, nearly 2,000 backers have donated some $44,000 dollars.
As with all Kickstarters, Zack gave his backers incentive to donate: He will say your name out loud while making the potato salad ($1). You will receive a photo of Zack making the potato salad ($2) or receive a bit of the potato salad ($3). For a whopping $20, you can get a potato salad-theme haiku written by Zack.
When the campaign passed its first goal, he started adding stretch goals. And then when it passed all those stretch goals, he added even more. After $3,000 he stopped adding stretch goals:
$100 - I will try two different Potato Salad recipes.
$250 - Better mayonnaise (from the natural foods section)
$350 - Make way more potato salad and probably do a third recipe.
$1000: I'll do a live stream of the potato salad making
$3000: My kitchen is too small! I will rent out a party hall and invite the whole internet to the potato salad party...The internet loves potato salad! Let's show them that potato salad loves the internet!!
For "Risks and Challenges," Zack wrote, "It might not be that good. It's my first potato salad."
He may have a few more risks now: Like how to make $20K worth of potato salad (he says he will now make four different types of potato salad, including a vegan option). Or how he will manage to say thousands of people's names out loud while cooking said potato salad. Or how he will manage to ship a single bite of the potato salad to all of his backers.
"It's going to be a challenge," Zack explained during a Reddit AMA. "I would have put it under risks if I had ever considered that anyone outside of Columbus would want some. I thought I'd just go to people's houses and hand it off."
As for the success of the campaign, he guesses, "I think the thing people are responding to is the opportunity to come together around something equal parts absurd and mundane. Potato Salad isn't controversial, but it seems to unite us all."
"Thank you so much for helping me live my dreams," he says. We're not sure why, but we are now feeling very, very inspired. This may be the most inspirational story we've ever seen on the Internet.
[Ed. Note: At the time of writing, the Kickstarter had passed $20K. Less than an hour later, at publishing, it was approaching $50,000. An hour after publishing, the campaign was back down to just under $16,000, though the amount of backers had cracked 2,000. Maybe potato salad is more controversial than even Zack thinks.]