Image of Bento grid by S. K. Camille

How a Kickstarter Founder’s Decision-Making System Is Changing the World

SK Camille
7 min readAug 24, 2021


One person, one decision at a time

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, the website where people can raise funds to start businesses. Kickstarter was one of the first big crowdfunding platforms where entrepreneurs, musicians, filmmakers, and other creative people could obtain funding without having to go through the usual laborious funding routes.

Kickstarter helped create the crowdfunding ethos: everyday people helping other everyday people achieve their dreams and make change.

One of the founders of Kickstarter is a 42-year-old guy by the name of Yancey Strickler. He’s from rural Kentucky and was a music critic before he started Kickstarter. He seems to be a very smart, sweet, socially engaged guy, and has gone on to write an influential book about how we can create a better world, called This Could Be Our Future.

After Strickler stepped down from Kickstarter four years ago, he was at loose ends, not sure what he wanted to do next. One day, as he worked toward making a decision, he was thinking about self-interest: What’s truly good for a person? And how does that flow into the future and affect other people?

He drew a simple chart with four grid squares — a square divided into four smaller squares. In one, he wrote “now me.” In the others, he wrote “future me,” and then “now us” and “future us.” By “us” he meant the people in his life he cares about and feels some responsibility for — his family and friends, mostly, but also everyone in the world.

“I realized that every decision I make leaves a footprint in every one of these spaces.”

— Yancey Strickler

Looking at this chart, he says, reminded him of a bento box — the traditional Japanese box for packed lunches, which has separate compartments for the different parts of the meal, kind of like a school lunch tray. The bento box helps people be sure to eat a variety of different foods, in healthy proportions.

Strickler also noticed that the word bento could stand for “beyond near-term orientation.”



SK Camille

I cover general-interest professional topics in clear, actionable briefs. I also write about change, growth, and faith with warmth and optimism.