I’m not addicted, really I’m not. Its interesting, it keeps me up to date, it keeps me broke, but I’m not addicted.
If you have never heard of it, its an online ‘marketplace’ where people can propose ideas and people can back those ideas (or not) with money.
Thats about as simple as it gets.
The main thing that attracts me is that you can get your hands on stuff that just does not make the mainstream or is too neitch for a big company to make, or breaks new ground.
So hows it work? Lets say I come up with a cool idea for something for the Smart Car.
I make a few prototypes, get something close, then decide that I want to offer it to other people, or I need a little money to make it possible to manufacture in quality.
Or I really need to make said thing in volume to make it cheap enough for other people to consider buying. Where do you get both people (ie, orders) and money?
I put the item (called a project) up on Kickstarter and get to see if it makes the numbers (you get to put how many you need to sell – or more typically, how long the project runs for), then the money comes in and you make it and ship it.
If I need 100 people and 99 sign up, then no one pays anything and its all bad luck, it did not fly.
If I need 100 and 1,000,000 people sign up, then I’m in a world of hurt. Yeah, I have the money, but a million smart car widgets is probably beyond me and Freddy to arrange manufacturing and shipping, so what happens then?
Well, the guy (girl, group) behind the project usually start to slip on their ‘deliver by’ timeframe.
Welcome to my life.
Most of the projects I back end up either being more technical than they first thought, or, they are really popular and the shear numbers overwhelm the author…. As a result, I don’t get it when they say they expect to ship.
Lets take a look first at Kickstarter.
1.15 billion dollars. Thats a lot of money in anyones launguage.
Kickstarter get a slice of that, so they are sitting pretty pretty. ‘All’s’ they have to do is run a web site. They can not be held liable for any success or failure of any project, so its pretty sweet idea for them.
It will be down to time to see if their tweaking with the way projects are managed and backed help or hinder.
My backed projects.
Pebble. I have always loved watches, so it should come as no surprise that I backed this one.
It shipped late due to the numbers. Its the most successful project to date.
The quality control of the watch is not good. Hard to say if they tried to keep the manufacturing too cheap to keep the money for themselves or the sheer numbers meant they ended up cutting corners.
I love the idea of a smart watch, this one is a toy. Im looking forward to getting my next (non Kickstarter) one, the Moto360.
Atlas. I’m still really enjoying my running and pushups, so want something (a health band) to track my runs and such.
As you can see, this one is not on Kickstarter, but another crowdsource website called Indigogo. With the success of Kickstarter, of course it was not long for others to jump on the money bandwagon and say ‘me too’.
From a backer point of view, there is no difference. I’m still the one taking all the risk and handing my money over….
And yes, when I get this in December, I will be wearing two bands, one on each wrist. Yes, I’m a dork.
uArm. I love robots. This one shipped on time and is sitting (assembled) on my dining table. Just need some time to add the Opto code to get it working on groov and you will be able to play with it via the web pretty soon.
Almond + Router. This one is way late. They hit some performance issues and had to go back and totally redesign the whole thing. Then they hit some approval issues on the RF (radio) side of it, then they hit some manufacturing issues. Its supposed to ship this month. I’m not holding my breath.
Keeping your backers up to date with progress is an important part of the process. You have to be pretty up front and clear about what’s going on and why I am not seeing anything for my money.
Im excited about this one given its open nature (Linux based), its feature set and the radios built in (lots of home automation ones).
Camera tether. Backed this one when I was really into photography. It lets me see the shots just after I take them on a laptop or tablet via WiFi. Its pretty cool.
Mu Thermal Camera. This one is way way way late.
I was to bring it out with me to Australia last October and show Dad, Dan and Gary, but alas, it was not to be.
Now, due to Terrys little opps and my Smart CV joint issues, I am not sure we will be able to make it out this October… Even so, I am not sure I will have this camera by then. I hope so, its sounding like I might, but I am still not holding my breath.
Portable Oscilloscope. This is pretty cute / cool. I don’t use a scope often, but when I do its usually not at my workbench so a small portable scope is pretty handy.
So, there you have it. As you can see, I’m clearly not addicted.
Just check out their tech category.. .Go on, I will be right here…
Right, exactly! See how much other cool stuff there is that I could back, if I was addicted… but haven’t, because I’m not.
Addicted. To Kickstarer.