Yellow potato salad with eggs and pickles (Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock)

Potato salad Kickstarter raises over $23,000 and counting

Because the Internet works in strange and perverse ways


Sarah Gray
July 8, 2014 1:15AM (UTC)

At 3:30 PM on Monday, I stared at the money-ticker for a Kickstarter page titled "Potato Salad." Yes a guy, Zach Danger Brown, is crowd-funding the making of potato salad. At 3:30 PM the project had received over $11,000 and the number continued to rise.

At 4:20 PM it was poised to cross the $22,000 threshold, at $21,925. Who knows how much the crowd-funded potato salad project will have raised by August 2, the deadline for the campaign? It is much more than Brown anticipated.

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"Basically I'm just making potato salad," Brown wrote on the Kickstarter page. "I haven't decided what kind yet."

It is no wonder that Brown, whose original goal was $10, has received so many funds. He's been written up on ABC 6, CNET, BuzzFeed and Mashable.

“[My original goal was] $10. I thought I could possibly get to $20 and have to make potato salad with a stranger," Brown told BuzzFeed. "Now I get to make potato salad with the whole internet! Someone said they could help me set up a live stream, so I guess we’re doing that!”

The entire endeavor hovers between comedy at its finest, and difficult to swallow -- not just because I'm no fan of mayo. Or because Brown admits on the Kickstarter page that "It  might not be that good. It's my first potato salad."

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It is the epitome of Internet culture: People from all over -- close to 2,000 at this moment -- donating to and sharing the latest sensation. (Brown hit is "stretch goal" of $3,000 so now "the whole internet (sic) is invited!" to his pizza party celebrating the salad.)

But in this case, it isn't just sharing a cat video, creating a meme or downloading the latest app. It is real money. This sum (as of right now) is around twice as much as what the Huffington Post reported a McDonald's employee working 24 hours per week, at $8.95 and hour, makes in a year ($11,000). And according to figures from CNN, the amount raised is several thousand short of what the average student loan debt was at the end of 2013 ($29,400).

I am not laying the blame on Brown, or throwing a shade at the Internet. I think it is incredible how much people are willing to pitch in for folks' dreams and projects. Crowd-funding can be an incredible and community building process.

I do, however, think a little perspective is needed. Maybe we can gear the overwhelming power of the Internet towards a different goal.

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We live in a world where an app like Yo raises millions and a potato salad raises over $20,000.

As of 5:10 PM EDT, "Potato Salad" has raised $23,295.


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

MORE FROM Sarah Gray

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Crowdfunding Food Kickstarter Potato Salad Technology The Internet Video

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