Commentary

Five Times Matthew Inman Won The Internet

I love Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal.

I love his writing style, his drawing style, and the fact that he has all this technical skill and yet chooses, in his words, to “make my living from drawing fat, frog-eyed, stick-armed oval people.”

From him, I have learned about mantis shrimp and angler fish. I’ve laughed at his description of the Web design process and been surprised about how much cats actually kill. But all of these things are just my baseline measure of appreciation for Inman. Below are five times he blew it out of the water.

1. This week, when Exploding Kittens became the Kickstarter with the most backers, ever.

Last week, along with game designers Elan Lee and Shane Small, Inman launched a Kickstarter campaign for a card game called Exploding Kittens. In less than seven hours, they raised over a million dollars. In just over 24 hours, $2 million. In two days, they became the most-funded card game in the history of Kickstarter. Two days ago, they tipped the scales to become the Kickstarter with the highest number of backers ever. As I write this, they’re closing in on $5 million, they’re the 7th highest funded Kickstarter ever, and they still have 20 days to go.

2. When he wrote that comic about how horrible Christopher Columbus was and that we should be celebrating Bartolome de las Casas instead, and Seattle changed “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous People’s Day.”

On October 13, 2013 (Columbus Day), The Oatmeal published a comic called, “Christopher Columbus was awful (but this other guy was not).” In it, he detailed atrocities committed by Columbus and suggested that a more worthy recipient of celebration would be Bartolome de las Casas. While possibly not causative, his post proved to be prescient; in April the following year, Minneapolis changed the holiday to “Indigenous People’s Day;” Seattle followed suit in October.

3. When FunnyJunk.com tried to sue him and he used the opportunity to raise over $200,000 for the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

In 2011, Inman wrote a blog post complaining that the website FunnyJunk.com was stealing and monetizing his content. A year later, FunnyJunk sent him a letter complaining that his post was defamatory and demanding $20,000. Instead of coughing up, Inman published the letter along with his plan. He was going to try to raise $20,000 in donations. He was then going to take a picture of the money and send it to Charles Carreon, FunnyJunk’s lawyer, along with a picture of Carreon’s mom seducing a Kodiak bear. Instead of going to FunnyJunk, the donations would be split equally between the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. He then asked his fans for the $20k. They gave him $220,024.

4. The first time he raised money towards the Tesla museum, and got $1,370,461 to buy back Tesla’s old laboratory.

One of The Oatmeal’s best-known comics is called, “Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived.” In August 2012, Nikola Tesla’s former laboratory went up for sale; its potential purchaser intended to tear it down and put up a retail establishment instead. Working with a nonprofit, he ran an IndieGoGo campaign that successfully raised the money to secure the property for a museum.

5. The second time he raised money towards the Tesla museum, and convinced Elon Musk to donate one million dollars.

Matthew Inman owns a Tesla Car, and he really, really loves it. So when he found out that they were going to need another $8 million to fully build and sustainably fund the museum, he sought help from the founder of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk. His respectful and passionate request was so well-put that Musk gave the museum $1 million.

BOOM.

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