A Columbus man is finding out what it’s like to start a joke and see it go around the world. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler talked with the Ohio man who’s made international headlines with his plea for money to make a popular summer side dish.
The request went up on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter last week: $10 to make potato salad.
Zack Danger Brown, who owns a web and mobile applications business in Columbus, put up the request..
“No experiment, no commentary. This was really about can I get a little laugh out of my friends, raise a small amount of money and then throw a party for them?" Brown said. “It’s something that I thought, hey, I know seven or eight people that will find this pretty funny. And it turns out a lot more than that found it pretty funny.”
Within a week, more than 5,500 people had tossed around $70,000 toward Brown’s potato salad project. The total has gone up and down as some contributions have turned out to be fake. Brown says he understands the criticisms that his project -- which he calls “absurd” -- has gotten so much attention when other projects remain unfunded. He says he’s working to figure out how to distribute the money to charitable causes, which Kickstarter’s terms of service don’t allow.
“I know for sure this money isn’t going in my pockets, it’s not going in any of my friends’ pockets," Brown said. "We are using it for the greater good. As for implementation of that, we’re working to figure that out with Kickstarter.”
And as Brown figures out how to use that money, he’s also dealing with a huge potential tax bill – when the fund was up around $70,000, it was estimated he could owe $21,000 in federal, state and local taxes. He says he’s handed that business off to others. Meanwhile, dollars aren’t the only contributions he’s getting.
"We committed to four different types of potato salad," Brown explained. "As you can imagine, we’ve gotten people sending in recipes. You know, I think we’re going to have to figure out how we want to decide what recipe we use.”
Brown says when he does settle on his recipes, he plans to fulfill the promises he made to them on the Kickstarter page, including saying the names of all the backers when he makes the potato salad. And he also says he wants to use this project to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness, and hopes to host a big public event to raise money for those causes.