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on Mar 25, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite

I can't say that I care if its a lie or not. I find it utterly distasteful that a millionaire parent would 'use' their kid on Kickstarter for $900 in some strange publicity stunt or an unprecedented act of greed.

The fact that Kickstarter seems to allow this also takes away from their credibility, not to mention the complete idiocy of allowing the campaign to collect over $20k.

The again, I guess if you are massively cheap, have zero integrity and don't mind ruining your reputation for less than 1/1000th of your net worth I guess it's a good idea.

>ruining your reputation

She owns a collections agency. I think it's safe to say that she has no reputation that can be ruined by discovery of the fact that she will shamelessly grab every dime in sight, every chance she gets.

This is absolutely brilliant if you want to teach kids lessons about raising money. What better way to teach the barnum lesson about suckers than to take advantage of them? I can fully imagine the mother thinking that this is a lesson she wanted to teach her daughter.

Correction, if you want to teach your children how to be sleezeballs and raise money the huckster way.

There are more than a few ways to make money, raise money, and live life that don't involve being a scumbag.

Except Barnum never said that, and was actually a pretty fucking stand up guy when you look into it.

You mean an apocryphal quote about the ease of fooling people is itself false? Say it ain't so! I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

The quote isn't false per se, just wrongly attributed.

That does create a sort of tragic irony I suppose, because like I said, Barnum was a pretty great guy all told (philanthropist, abolitionist...)

Lesson or not, it is still a scam.

One would hope that the excess would be applied to something worthy - like maybe funding scholarships to RPG camp for underprivileged girls?

This is a publicity stunt and/or money grab by Susan Wilson.

This reddit post sums it up: http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/1awr1n/millionai...

The authors dug up some of her old tweets, and it's clear that Susan tends to behave unethically.

Also breaches Kickstarter rules: You can't fund your life (i.e. pay my tuition, or camp expenses). She is spamming all over twitter, including celebs.

Older siblings give younger siblings a hard time in general, regardless of gender; it's an evolved behavior, similar to baby birds pushing siblings out of the nest.

I don't think "don't end up with a sugar daddy" is an appropriate motivational tactic for a little girl...

But, other than that, I don't see the problem. It seems mom is trying to instill her daughter with some 'how to hustle' life skills.

This seems like a modern-day take on "if you want to go to camp, sell lemonade and pay for it yourself."

The problem with this and your comparison to lemonade sales is that the lemonade-sale is honest. You bought lemonade and you paid 50 cents. This KS thing was just a big lie designed to pull on heart-strings. Little girl at the corner maybe makes $100 if it's a nice neighborhood and the weather is hot. This KS looks to have collected about 20 grand, for a millionaire mom. I assume(wrongly?) that the girl selling lemonade at the corner is not rich.

The little girl selling lemonade is out there in the hot sun hustling lemonade, even if mom helped her make it or buy the ingredients. This KS, on the other hand, was obviously written entirely by the mother. That's the problem. The kid didn't do anything, and I doubt she's going to wind up with $20K in cash in her pocket.

"This KS thing was just a big lie designed to pull on heart-strings."

I don't doubt that every single contributor feels better about himself or herself, even though they essentially purchased overpriced clothes. The lemonade itself is overpriced: You could squeeze lemonade yourself or get one of those packets for far less than 50 cents. In both case, the appeal is to emotion.

Perhaps you're right. I guess to bring it to a finer point, I assume(wrongly?) that the girl I'm buying lemonade from desperately needs the money.

The lemonade isn't necessarily overpriced. It involved a cost of time and labor. You're exchanging not having to make that time and labor investment for money.

You have to buy lemons. You have to squeeze the lemons. You have to blend the lemonade right to get a good flavor. You have to refrigerate the lemonade.

Also, one of those little packets != actual lemonade.

You know, that would be a totally fair, level-headed comment in a discussion about pricing 101, not kids' lemonade stands. You're paying more because it's a damn kid in a lemonade stand, as personal charity, not because there is extraordinary value in that squeezed lemon juice.

I don't see how it's different than paying 5 times the cost of manufacturing for a Lipton bottle of lemonade at a convenience store.

Why is the lemonade from the kids' stand inherently charity, but Lipton isn't? If I'm paying $5 for that lemonade stand product, then sure, that might be charity because it's an extreme price.

I see no reason a 9 year old can't build a service, make a profit, and have it not be charity just because they're a kid.

The Lipton product sure sounds like charity to me on this scale. Because why would anyone pay so much for lemonade they can easily make on their own at maybe 10% the cost? And yet people do it every day, instead of making their own product they pay huge mark-ups for convenience. So why can't a child's lemonade stand serve the same function?

I remember running a little stand when I was a kid. We sold vanilla yogurt covered pretzels too, those were a big hit and you couldn't easily buy them at a store at the time. I never thought of any of it as charity, I thought of it as a fun expedition into an adult world. Plenty of people didn't mind paying $0.25 for a glass of lemonade on a hot Summer day when they were coming home from work. Maybe some buyers thought of it as charity, but we never charged those kinds of prices. $0.25 was a very fair deal.

>I don't see how it's different than paying 5 times the cost of manufacturing for a Lipton bottle of lemonade at a convenience store.

So you have no logical or emotional differences between buying overpriced lemonade from the following sources?

1. http://t2.ftcdn.net/jpg/00/43/34/25/400_F_43342520_VKrcDJlV8...

2. http://insidebiz.com/files/ibiz/imagecache/fulllsize/picture...

Hey completely agree.. Don't understand why people down voted you... Starbucks makes a pretty fine business off of beverages.. And probably charges more for sub par lemonade... I've had some great sidewalk lemonade lol

Also on the case of this whole thing... I don't see why people are making a huge deal out of this... Someone paid.. They weren't tricked... She is planning to make a game... The mother probably helped alot but she had to have put some effort into this.. I say probs to her

I don't think "don't end up with a sugar daddy" is an appropriate motivational tactic for a little girl...

Yeah, that screamed 'fake' to me as well.

Hacker news should be above this salacious crap. This is a distraction of little consequence.

What is wrong with questioning someone's motives? Also, how is this a distraction? People are still giving her money, but some people believe that money is all for naught, and should not be given.

I don't think the fact she is obviously very wealthy is the issue here. Sure, there are some who have the attitude, "She's rich, she doesn't need the money" the Kickstarter is for her kid. Perhaps to teach her daughter a lesson in entrepreneurialism, to teach her daughter a life lesson. It would be too easy for a parent like Susan Wilson to throw money at this RPG camp and say, "There you go have fun". The real problem here is the fact Susan is making her sons public villains here, posting a photo of them and making them out to be really horrible people when in reality what brother isn't horrible to his sisters when growing up? I was horrible and terrorised my 5 sisters (only boy), it's how things go. I would hate to think how I would feel if my parents exploited this very normal fact.

When I was a kid and wanted money (I was around 10) my parents gave me a proposition. My dad is a small engine mechanic, so he gave me a mower and a whipper snipper and said if I wanted to earn money I should go knock on doors and ask if they wanted to mow their lawn. And who honestly would say no to a 10 year old kid (I was quite small for 10 too)? The catch here was any money I earned had to be invested in paying for fuel (fuel was way under a $1 when I was 10), they supplied the fuel initially and then I had to keep buying my own. While Kickstarter doesn't involve any effort, it seems Susan is teaching her kid how to hustle much like my parents did when I was younger. If my parents were rich, would it have been a low thing for them to do? Definitely not. My parents weren't rich, but if they were I can't see the harm in making your kids work for their money (no matter which way they decide to do so).

Are we forgetting gaming companies and people in the industry with money have been exploiting Kickstarter in the same kind of ways, why is Susan any different? She even discloses some information about herself on her Kickstarter bio, it doesn't appear she is trying to hide who she really is, what's the problem with exception of the exploitation here? Maybe her daughter really wants to go to this camp and make a game. The thing that irks me is the high tiered rewards, if the camp is only just under a $1000, what is the rest of the money going towards? Why a $10,000 tier?

I did something similar. I hustled to acquire the lawn mowing gigs for $30 per yard, then subcontracted the actual mowing part to my neighbor for $15 per yard. My parents were pissed when they found out. To this day I still think it was genius

Previous, lively HN discussion, not six hours old at this point: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5433258

I checked out the comments section for the first time on the KS page and found this parody: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/623745679/948103832?toke...

Doesn't KS have an option to stop the project when it raises the needed amount like Indiegogo? Whatever the answer to that is, she can just argue it was too hard to find that option, or that it didn't exist. It'll be forgotten in one year.

How can she argue that she really only wanted $829 or whatever when she allocated 5 spots for $10,000 donation rewards? Doesn't add up. This is a shameless money grab and while I don't think it is illegal (and unlike some, I don't think it looks bad for Kickstarter, though it does look bad for people who blindly donated), it is certainly worth a public shaming, IMO.

The problem is that Kickstarter gets a 5% fee, so it is to their business interests to raise as much money as possible

The whole thing is terrible, but I was particularly impressed with this:

>My Mom has to hire programmers and developers sometimes for her work. She's really glad I like computers and programming because she says as a business person she feels like she's held hostage by developers.

Besides the undertones of Clients From Hell-ian "my daughter can do this for free", isn't this counterproductive? If the girl is getting horror stories about developers from her mom, won't she be wary of becoming a developer?

Personally, I think it's irrelevant how much money her mom has and this could be a great teaching lesson for her daughter. The modern day lemonade stand.

But...I don't think her daughter has much to do with this: http://i.imgur.com/F03oG3e.png (picture of Larry King & Donald Trump with their "trophy wives") or this http://i.imgur.com/Y0yH2OK.png (I think it's a Greek billionaire w/ younger woman but not sure). If this was a project for a 9 yr old girl it would be much more about the actual project. Instead, it appears the mom is trying to take advantage of feminists who might be down after the whole PyCon fiasco.

And her mom's previous attempt to raise $20k for making capes has to make one wonder how much of the cash is going to her pocket. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/susanwilson/the-cape-pro...

Edit: Fact that mom has a debt collection business - maybe it's just me but makes it feel more likely the intentions aren't completely honorable.

Hey you're right. I didn't think of this project as an exploitation of the PyCon fiasco and feminist. Good analysis.

She can just say she'll give it to charity- she has time to turn this around. Still...what 9 year old would like for her mom to manage her stuff? When I was 9 I hated my mom managing my stuff, I would have made the video my self and wrote everything too and collected the money from my friends by sharing the project on FB.

"Still...what 9 year old would like for her mom to manage her stuff?"

She's 9. The mom has orchestrated every inch of this and the child likely has no clue what mommy is planning.

So because the mother is rich, the kickstarter campaign is a scam? As discussed extensively in the earlier post, there are dozens of successful, well-received kickstarter campaigns started by millionaires.

This kind of harmful and devoid of content article should not be featured on HN.

I think the reason this article came into existence was the other thread discussing this issue got renamed to a innocuous title (Under the title should be the original articles title rule) and hence didn't make sense.

Millionaires asking for money to create a product that requires a dev cost of millions which they often then give to donators is a little different.

The real question is, who are the naive suckers that actually donated to this campaign? I wish we could interview one of these donors. What goes through their head when they click the donate button? Do they just read the keywords like, "gender", "girl", "bullying", and pull out their credit card with tears in their eyes?

Ungh, I wish we could move past vague titles phrased as questions.

Where are the lies? Where's the fraud? How is any of this misrepresented?

This is more of the ever-popular "eat the rich" sentiment. Frankly, until someone can show that:

a) she doesn't have a daughter, or sons for the matter.


b) she pockets the money instead of spending on her daughter's hobby

there is no fraud. Basically if the mother wasn't worth north of a million no one would have batted an eye at this.

Best quote from that conversation: "I see kickstarter on the same level as Quibids these days"


See? I already thought this was suspicious.

and to think I've spent twenty years doing just the R&D for my MMORTSFPSRPG

So Shinta of Destructoid declares a "scam" and all these commenters here take their word for it.

I am by no means a millionaire, but we're reasonably comfortable. I don't hand my children money, they have to earn it. Yes, you get a place to live, food, clothes, and some reasonable toys. Anything else? Well, you need to find a way to earn money for it. If I did have millions, I'd still do this because I'd rather not raise spoiled little brats that grow into adult-sized spoiled little brats.

Others have said it better in other comments here, but the sheer number of people jumping on the scam bandwagon with this article, without a bit of independent reasoning, is appalling.

Now, if she's breaking KS rules, she's breaking the rules. That doesn't automatically classify it as scam material.

iirc and as far as I know, the mother did the kickstarter, the mother "spammed" twitter, and said it was for her daughter. That's not what I'd classify as the daughter "earn[ing] it".

"a company that focuses on debt collection"

Oh, so a manipulative vulture. Makes sense now.

The kickstarter concept is incredibly naive.

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