Kickstarter hires Everette Taylor as CEO amid growing competition and blockchain worries
33-year-old Taylor replaces Aziz Hasan after the latter stepped down in March 2022.
Crowdfunding giant Kickstarter has hired Everette Taylor as its new CEO, replacing Aziz Hasan after the cofounder stepped down in March of this year.
The company announced the hire in an article posted to its official blog on September 28th. Interim CEO Sean Leow will step down and back into his regular role as chief operating officer.
Taylor previously served as chief marketing officer for the New York-based online art brokerage Artsy, and before that boasted a resume of entrepreneurial ventures ranging from media outfits such as BESE to licensed software services and social media software.
The 33-year-old businessman takes the helm during an important period for Kickstarter. After laying off 40% of its workforce during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, the company has hosted several record-breaking campaigns, such as the Avatar Legends tabletop RPG and fantasy author Brandon Sanderson’s staggering $41.7 million dollar project.
Kickstarter also garnered criticism and ire from the community following its announcement of a blockchain research initiative in December 2021, with the reported aim of eventually layering the Web3 technology powering NFTs and cryptocurrency into the platform’s foundation. Poor communication and long bouts of silence led many to leave the platform for competitors, such as Gamefound, Indiegogo and Backerkit’s nascent crowdfunding site.
How Taylor fits into those plans, which the company has said are still happening but won’t arrive anytime soon, remains an open question. He is an ostensible supporter of Web3 technology himself - Artsy still sells NFTs on its website, and the now seemingly defunct addiction recovery app Hayver developed its own cryptocurrency (the Duitcoin) that was awarded to users as a “psychological incentive”, according to cofounder Dr. John M. Copenhaver.
The blog announcing Taylor’s hiring conspicuously makes no mention of Kickstarter’s plans, nor Taylor’s history with supporting Web3 technology. In an interview with Dicebreaker, Taylor claims his “focus is the core business” and that any blockchain research will be “a very small part of what we do here”.
An advisory council founded earlier this year, composed of creators and backers across Kickstarter’s broad project categories, will ostensibly check any of the company’s rash decisions when rushing to adopt shiny, new technologies. Taylor said he is excited to work alongside the council and reached out to them directly on his second day as CEO.
Taylor freely admitted to Dicebreaker that Kickstarter has much it can improve upon, communication being key among them. He claims it is too early in his tenure to speak of concrete plans but that his “heart is with indie creators” struggling to find purchase in an ecosystem often choked with FOMO tactics, immediacy and bloated reward structures.