The Actoblog

Bringing metrics to light, one dashboard at a time

Monitoring the Potato Salad

A weird Kickstarter project made the buzz recently: its creator asked for $10 to make a potato salad. It surprisingly took like fire and backers flocked, pledging much more that the few bucks the guy asked for.

We though it would be nice to monitor how pledges were progressing for this rather unusual project. So we quickly wrote a small script that scrapes the backers and pledges numbers from the Kickstarter page to produce JSON data, and instructed Actoboard to collect it every 5 minutes. Armed with this brand new data source, it just took a couple of minutes to build this dashboard:

Potato salad dashboard

To our biggest surprise, monitoring these numbers showed that some backers were pledging insane amounts of data for a potato salad, in the $1k ~ $10k range, just to remove them a couple of hours later. Maybe some people wanting to show off after a couple of (or lots of) beers, and realizing how stupid they were a few hours later!

This little experiment is a nice illustration that new, unexpected information can emerge from just following data visually on a dashboard. And Actoboard makes it trivially easy!

Update (2014-08-05): Now that the project is closed, Kickstarter have blogged about it, with additional internal stats. However they don’t show what we observed with Actoboard!

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