Design Challenge

It began with a single photo posted to Instagram — a peanut with pins for arms and legs and a tiny yellow hat. Based upon this first photo, I began to write the story of Pete Peanut, a quiet sort of peanut who likes Saturdays and long walks along the stream. I sent the first chapter to Mimi and she built Pete a tiny midcentury home to live in. So I kept writing. And Mimi kept building and Pete’s adventure began. When the book was done, we knew we’d created something beautiful. However, we’d also created a children’s book fixated on the passage of time and growing old and how celebrating birthdays was really bad. Just how could we get the book published and tell the world about the trouble with birthdays?


Details

First, we filmed a Kickstarter movie, getting help from our friends and colleagues at IDEO. Next we inspired a composer to write a score for the movie. And then we hired a tiny orchestra to perform that score. The Kickstarter campaign launched and we raised over $25,000, with a host of backer rewards that included 3D viewfinders, an audiobook version of Pete’s adventures, and the world’s smallest garage sale (we sold the actual miniature scenes from Pete’s book). The campaign was covered by Dwell, Curbed, and other national publications. Kickstarter revenues in hand, we commissioned a print run of 1,000 beautiful books. And just before Christmas, we mailed over 500 packages ($4,938 in postage!) from Mimi’s tiny apartment to our awesome Kickstarter backers. We took a quiet walk down by the stream to celebrate. We’re currently in discussions to publish a new Pete Peanut adventure.


My Role

I wrote Pete Peanut & the Trouble with Birthdays and co-project managed (with Mimi) the fantastically elaborate Kickstarter campaign to get the book published. Please visit this page if you'd like to download the book or listen to the audiobook.