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Fail! Why Kick-Ass Kickstarters Don’t Get Funded


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Fail! Why Kick-Ass Kickstarters Don’t Get Funded

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this was a pretty cool read about kickstarter..

Fail! Why Kick-Ass Kickstarters Don't Get Funded | Wired Design | Wired.com

Fail! Why Kick-Ass Kickstarters Don’t Get Funded

BY JOSEPH FLAHERTY

Why do bad things happen to good Kickstarters? It’s a timeless question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for millennia. At Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference, Kickstarter cofounder Yancy Strickler reported that 56 percent of the site’s projects fail to meet their funding goals. Sure, many are silly and ill conceived and deserve to go down. But some of the most promising projects are also falling through the cracks.

Etcher is one of those unfortunate cases. Etcher is an accessory and app that turns the iPad into an Etch A Sketch, and works exactly as you remember it from childhood. Twist the knobs and it draws. Shake it and it clears. Backtrack over a line and it gets darker. The user interface was obsessively designed to replicate the challenge of drawing something using only two knobs.

But wait, there’s more: Etcher also updates the red plastic box for the digital age. The app can save drawings, store multiple projects, share masterpieces on Facebook, and even make time-lapse videos.

Despite its solid design, and a wealth of hype — the project was covered by everyone from HuffPo to Wired’s own Gadget Lab — Etcher raised less than a third of its goal before its funding deadline on Saturday.

Perhaps the problem was with the people behind the project? Not in this case. Ari Krupnik is a journeyman — one of the first independent developers to create hardware accessories for the iPhone and iPad. He quickly understood the potential of the platform, and what it meant for product development. “Building a sensor, like a Geiger counter, for the iPhone is much easier than building an iPhone around a Geiger counter,” Krupnik says.


Lazer Tag was given an extra life with an augmented reality app for the iPhone. Photo: Hasbro
This early insight set him apart from others in the field. Since then, Krupnik has developed a variety of products that connect to Apple devices, including surgical tools that connect to the iPad and an iPhone-based reboot of the venerable Lazer Tag franchise for Hasbro. He also independently developed a product called the “iPhly” — an iPhone case that allows people to drive RC cars or pilot drones — raised funds for it on Kickstarter, and successfully shipped the product.

So, Etcher is a stunner and its designer a Kickstarter veteran. Why didn’t it blow its funding goal out of the water? There are no easy answers, and Krupnik didn’t hide his disappointment. “I think I’m completing my Kübler-Ross stages,” he says. “First I went through denial, then anger, then bargaining ‘If I can just get on this blog’, to resignation ‘it’s just not happening’ and finally to acceptance.”

In an attempt to understand the factors that tip the scales of success and failure on Kickstarter I expanded the famous “4 P’s” of marketing to the 7 P’s of Kickstarter Marketing.

Etcher has:

Product: Solid; Krupnik even got an official license from Ohio Art, the makers of the Etch A Sketch. It couldn’t be a more faithful reproduction and people who use it, love it.

Price:*An Etch A Sketch is $15 while Etcher costs $60 — not cheap, but neither are other impractical iPad drawing tools that have raised six figures.

Promotion:*Etcher has been featured on TV a number of times, and has been covered by CNET, TechCrunch, Wired, and every tech news outlet that matters. Most Kickstarter projects have to beg for this kind of exposure.

Proven Track Record:*Few inventors have a better track record of developing iOS accessories. Krupnick is a known quantity and in a league of his own.

Etcher doesn’t have:

Place:*Kickstarter makes impulse buying hard. If Etcher were on the shelf of Best Buy, it might have been tipped into some shopping carts, but having to wait six months for delivery puts the brakes on buying decisions.

Purpose:*Successful gadgets on Kickstarter tend to have a purpose beyond play. Products like the TikTok watch, Elevation Dock, and the ScanBox*are good examples.

People:*The biggest problem Etcher faces is market size. A single tweet from John Gruber can lead hundreds of thousands of Apple fanboys to back an iGadget. Engaged communities like DSLR owners will support a variety of camera widgets, but the number of people clamoring for a digital Etch A Sketch just wasn’t big enough.

Our conclusion? The beauty of Kickstarter is that it forces a proof of concept before the product hits shelves. Though Krupnik and his backers may be crestfallen over Etcher’s failure, just imagine the pain of having sunk thousands of dollars along with the sweat equity of manufacturing, marketing, and fulfillment into a product that was doomed to fail.

The crowd has delivered its verdict. And in this new era of startups, the crowd rules.

dont believe anything you hear and only half of what you see

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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