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Ryan spoke with Andy Baio, one of the greater minds on the internet. 10 years ago Andy launched Upcoming.org, an event-based community, and one of the pioneering social networks. To kick-off the show, Ryan and Andy discuss the rise and fall and now the return of Upcoming.org. This conversation was so awesome, we divided it up into 2 parts. This is “Part 1,” and “Part 2” will be up in the next few days.

Andy’s site was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005, and Yahoo! Eventually terminated the website (sadly for Andy). However, there is a happy ending, during the past year, Andy re-acquired the website, and launched a Kickstarter to re-build his community. In merely 48 hours, Andy reached his funding goal of $30,000, and a month later he raised over $100,000 from Kickstarter backers.

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Andy Baio , Founder of XOXO and Upcoming.org

Andy Baio , Founder of XOXO and Upcoming.org


Andy was also the founding CTO of Kickstarter, and he and Ryan discuss the early days of Kickstarter and some of his favorite campaigns (like Cards Against Humanity). Additionally Andy speaks about about the XOXO Festival that Andy founded along with Andy McMillan

The festival has taken place in Portland the past two years. The conference is for: “Artist and makers and hackers of all kind making a living doing what they love using the internet,” as Andy puts it. He raised over $175,000 for the conference, again launching it on Kickstarter.

Andy is an inspiring guy, who has built a lot from the internet, and offline around events. To take a page from past guest, Adam Grant’s playbook, Andy is a true giver who gives to people on the internet. The maker/builder community is a better place with Andy’s projects, and the internet “gives him a hug,” every time his projects get funded.

Part 2:

In Part 2, Ryan talked with Andy, about “Making A Living Doing What You Love,” and how Andy launched the XOXO Festival.  The next XOXO is coming up in September, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. and you can register/view the speakers: http://2014.xoxofest.com/ Dan HarmonHank Green, and Kevin Kelly.  (You can listen to Ryan and Earwolf CEO Jeff Ullrich, talk about Kevin Kelly’s inspiring 1,000 True Fans article on Episode 7 of the Influencer Economy).

Andy chats about how a theme of the XOXO conference is about “going independent” as a creator, and how it is difficult to go independent, often the pros outweigh the cons. When someone by-passes publishers in the book/gaming/board gaming/movies world (all creative industries), it can be incredible to see how far people’s ideas can go.

Ryan asked Andy about creating projects online (Kickstarter or otherwise), without having a large (pre-existing) fan following, and how one goes about that.  Or if it’s even possible.  Andy said creators with free-standing ideas that are high concept can often succeed, if you tap into a subject that people care about.

Andy sites Indie Game the Movie as a great example of a project where you don’t need a pre-existing fan-base to get off the ground.  By inviting people into the story& engaging people through the creative process, you can build a base in the process, like the creators of Indie Game did.  (You can listen to Ryan chat with VHX Founder Jamie Wilkinson about Indie Game the Movie on Episode # 8.


On this podcast you’ll learn:

  • The story of Upcoming.org: the launch, acquisition and re-birth
  • How to leverage the power of Kickstarter
  • How to run successful Kickstarter campaigns (Andy’s projects as examples)
  • How Kickstarter was founded
  • What the XOXO conference is all about (you should sign-up for updates: http://2014.xoxofest.com
  • How awesome the internet is and can be for givers
  • How to “go independent” and by-pass publishers as a creator
  • How Indie Game the Movie, built-up a fan-base and launched a movie with a large (pre-existing) following
  • How board games were re-vitalized via crowdfunding


Andy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/waxpancake

Sign-up for updates on the XLXL Festival: http://2014.xoxofest.com

Sign-up for the re-launch of Upcoming.org: http://upcoming.org