On Lowering Barriers and Double Rainbows—Charles Adler, Cofounder of Kickstarter

a drawing of a lightbulb with the word
Photo credit: Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Ten years ago, the world was introduced to Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform that, in the company’s own words, “helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality.” Kickstarter was founded by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler, and it was Charles who recently visited Notre Dame as part of the Mendoza College of Business’s Ten Years Hence Speaker Series.

In addition to making him feel awkward by reading back one of his tweets, host Ted Fox asked Charles about the founding of Kickstarter and his experience there as head of design. They then covered how designing the site’s rewards system was and was not like a scene from The Social Network, his influences as a designer, and whether or not he considers himself a “disruptor.” Charles also talked about his memory of watching the first two Kickstarters to hit a million dollars—and a much smaller campaign whose final product brought him to tears 30,000 feet in the air.