Lessons for Kickstarter creators from the worst project I ever funded on Kickstarter

i+case

[update: I've had to change out the image above to my own after i+case project creators insisted I remove an image of the case displayed on their Kickstarter page. Also, if you'd like to see the entire conversation thread including the i+case creators, be sure to click the "show more comments" link just above the comment field]

This is the story of the worst project I've funded on Kickstarter. I am posting this not to single out the creators behind it, or bad mouth their business, but to go over my disappointment in the hopes that future Kickstarter project creators can learn from it. It's all about communication with your funders, setting up and delivering on expectations for funders, and doing the right thing when things go wrong.

My relationship with Kickstarter is a long one. I've funded 72 projects to date and I'm also a (very small) investor in it. All but a small handful of projects have delivered items/goods/works of art that met or exceeded my expectations, and most creators are doing a wonderful job. Sometimes, creators take time to make art, as at least two documentaries I've funded have gone over a year without delivering the final cuts, and I totally understand that as I'm currently late on my own small personal film project.

This is the story of the i+case for the iPhone. Like almost every iPhone/iPod/iPad project on Kickstarter, it went from launch to overfunded several times over in a short period of time. I liked the look of it since I'm not normally someone that uses a case with my iPhone, and I tend to drop my iPhone about 2-3 times a year (so far, no breakage has happened). I liked the old iPhone bumper Apple made, but the bottom cutout was never big enough for my chargers and car adapter. This i+case looked cool in anodized aluminum, and it looked like it solved a few design problems I had with the Apple bumper.

The creators started the project with CAD renderings of what it would look like but quickly followed up with real photos of built prototypes on actual phones, just days into the project. This is huge in that as a funder, seeing actual prototypes convinced me it would become a real thing and it appeared to look as good as the CAD renderings, and I threw money into the project at this point. Soon after however, some antenna issues popped up. The creators attempted to downplay it by describing the upcoming new iPhone 4S antenna design as well as showing their prototype only affecting signals by one bar. That update sent red flags, but I trusted the creators when they said "We hope this helps demonstrate our pursuit of not only making a case that looks good, but performs just as well". It is a cool looking, durable case and though it might affect my phone performance slightly, I get 3-5 bars everywhere so I figured I'd continue funding and looked forward to trying it out. I did notice a very specific comment (from Jaspreet Sidhu on the signal testing post) asking the creators to measure signal loss was ignored, even though a person went to the trouble of describing how to enter into a diagnostic mode and take accurate measurements. Another red flag, but still, I stuck with it with my hopes up.

The iPhone 4S was released before the project was funded so everyone backing it from the start was hoping it would work, and soon after the 4S launch the creators showed one working with a new 4S even though they couched the post with a few caveats. The following update sent up more red flags however. They described their problems with feedback, discounted much of it as "negative" and equated that with frivolous, and the core issue that sparked this was their prototype cases featured a prominent white logo etched into the case. In my opinion, it made the case look a little gaudy and ugly. What set off red flags was how the creators handled the feedback and I would characterize this one as "not well". Later they followed up and doubled down on their insistence that the logo stay and that no one would be happy so they will push forward. Funny enough, later that day they offered up a survey with the bright white logo vs. a subdued etched colorless logo and within 24hrs they shut the survey down showing that 85% did not want the white logo on the case. I do have to say the creators deserve some credit for going with the audience voting, as they never mentioned the white logo from the prototypes again after defending it so hard the previous week.

Miscommunication happened next. A couple days after the logo battle and just a day before the final funding completion date, the creators sent out a (now redacted) email that they miscalculated the shipping and were going to ask everyone to up their pledge and the use of bold is theirs:

All backers must add the cost of shipping to their pledge. Shipping in the US is $5, International is 9$. We will not ship if not paid in full. To do this just add the correct amount to your initial pledge. Sorry for the confusion.

Pretty crazy, and since the project said it would ship in December, I went ahead and upped my pledge by $5 in order to get the case before xmas. The post erupted in comments and it was the first time I saw others say they were pulling their support. I hadn't ever considered that option but being just before the final funding day I considered it, but stuck with them since I thought it was a nice looking thing. The next morning, the creators called the email demand a mistake from another project, and though they apologized they also said that international shipping would in fact increase the pledges and domestic US recipients could pay more "only if they wanted to".

The funding success message mentioned they might not ship everything by the intended window, though one week into December they showed off the first units to ship, but gave the good news/bad news that most would not ship until a month later. As a funder this was disappointing to hear, but good on them for explaining the delay and why it happened and resetting expectations of what was to come. They followed this up with a somewhat defensive post saying they were working on different prototypes with the goal of eliminating any signal loss.

The last couple updates are things I hope get taught in Business schools as what not to do when company owners communicate with potential customers. The epic update #24 starts by splitting hairs over the difference between "buying" something from Kickstarter versus "investing" in an idea on Kickstarter. They then go on to discount the entire project as a first attempt at making a prototype and that design flaws are inherent in research and development. As a funder myself, I saw those actual cases well before the end of funding and assumed those were the prototypes that needed the bugs worked out and the final product I would receive would be a working one, as most other Kickstarter projects around products work. They also talked about how they can't give refunds and then talked in patronizing terms about how the stock market works and how sometimes you just lose money in a speculative deal. This was hard to read when you consider they had their prototypes done months before for ample testing, and now with $85,000 in hand they were shrugging their shoulders to say in effect "we tried". Finally, they close with the idea that some of the people leaving critical comments on their project are competitors or out to get them so their comments can be discounted.

Their final update states that they consider the project complete since they have shipped out most every case, and though they couldn't alleviate all the signal losses, they might redesign a version 2 of it and backers would get a discount if they produce a new case. Most of this last update seems reasonable, but the creators telling everyone (including dozens of international backers that hadn't received their cases yet) that it was "over" felt like they are ignoring feedback and leaving current unfulfilled backers out in the cold by shutting things down as soon as they could.

To finish this story, I got my own cool red case last week and today I assembled it. My phone normally gets 4-5 bars of Verizon coverage and 3 bars of wifi in my house. After finagling all the pieces and tiny screws into place, I flipped my iPhone over to admire the slick new case around it. I tried out the side buttons to confirm they worked, and then I looked at my signal to see if I was one of the "few" backers with signal problems the creators had a hard time reproducing.

I had one tiny bar of phone coverage and one tiny WiFi blip. $70, down the drain as I disassembled the case, flipped my phone over to see it back to 5 bars plus 3 bars of WiFi a minute later.

Again, I mention this entire project not to single out the creators as bad people but instead to show any and all past/current/future Kickstarter backers what not to do. When you are designing a product for Kickstarter and you show prototypes, backers will assume you have worked all the bugs out first. When things start to go wrong, it doesn't help to discount the comments or question the motivation of backers giving critical feedback. When shipping deadlines are going to slip, be open and explain the hows and whys and reset expectations as soon as possible to prevent backers' plans from falling through. When confronted with a core design problem, explain possible fixes, or explore options for dissatisfied backers. When confronted with a large amount of criticism, acknowledge the flaws and don't patronize your backers or question their motivations. Overall, I think this project (as well as any future projects from any creators) could have gone well if the creators did a better job with communication, stayed attentive on comments, didn't talk down or talk back to backers so much, and helped set expectations accurately and early on to prevent the feeling of being ripped off at the end of a long project.

94 thoughts on “Lessons for Kickstarter creators from the worst project I ever funded on Kickstarter

  1. I had a bad Kickstarter situation in which the thing offered to people who funded at one of the highest levels failed to materialize for over a year after the project was fully funded. I had to continually dog and email the person responsible for fulfilling this and got a ton of “It’s in the mail” messages that just plain old weren’t true. It was a lot of work and will probably keep me from high-level funding anything else on Kickstarter. Another project I funded had an orange t-shirt that was part of the “thank you” stuff and it turned out that the women’s t-shirts were silver, not orange. No big deal, really, but there seems to be little internal incentive to match the deliverables [either the things they say they’ll create or the things they says they’ll offer as thank yous for funders] to what was promised. I totally get that Kickstarter can’t really put themselves in the middle of all of these transactions, but it would be nice if there was some sort of mechanism.
    I’d love it if Kickstarter had a “flag this project” option for funders so that if something really goes off the rails there’s a way to make sure those people don’t get to use Kickstarter again until it’s resolved, or they could see some sort of “alert level” color code in the corner of the project, something that everyone else could see as well.

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  2. Something similar happened with this kickstarter project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cwandt/pen-type-a-a-minimal-pen
    They got 1000x the interested they had planned, and had major issues trying to get the pen created and ramping up production to a scale they have never been exposed to.
    The pens seem finally finished, a couple of months after they thought they’d be, but I thought the updates were great and can’t wait to get the final product.

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  3. Yeah, I was skeptical, but trusted the creators that they could beat the problem through insulating material or putting a coating on the inside, and other ideas they mentioned during the project duration.

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  4. If you want another one to flag, how about that “multi-touch keyboard” there is no way the optics work outside of a controlled lighting situation, it will be a mess when people actually start using these in real world situations. Looks are great, but I doubt it will ever work as users would expect. All FTIR devices I have ever seen have a sealed chamber to keep out stray IR and even the Kinect does not operate properly in sunlight.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this. I saw this when it first was proposed, and now I’m glad I decided to go against it. I loved the look of it, but could not get over the fact that it might augment the antenna issue. Also, hope they kept the logo off.

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  6. Thank You for this article. I can completely relate as a kickstarter backer to a similar poorly managed and communicated project. All of the backers for http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/schuyler/lockpicks-by-open-locksport are having a field day for well over a year now.
    Fortunately for your kickstart…something materialized and was shipped out to the backers.
    Kickstarter needs to crack down on these poorly managed projects…prevent individuals from creating additional kickstarts if they have not completed a prior one successfully even when a fully funded project fails. The project creator for Open Locksports is a complete failure and needs to be shutdown and erased.

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  7. Given how much cut Kickstarter are pulling for themselves, I think a mechanism for notifying and helping resolves issues is incumbent on them. I forget their take but it’s upwards of 10% form memory.

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  8. I’m almost positive it’s only 5%, but yeah, they should have a slush fund of $250k or so on hand to perhaps pay backers back and try and collect from the original creator through collections or something.

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  9. I could not agree with you more. I backed this project, read the creators’ comments with increasing unease, and in the end received a beautiful case that was totally non-functional. What gets me, in addition to the way they reacted to criticism, was how much warning they should have had that a bare metal case would degrade the phone signal.

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  10. Another one here who was in on the Locksport picks on Kickstarter. That one even went as far as selling a ’round B’ though a web site before the Kickstarter backers received anything. He still doesn’t even know how he’s going to make the picks – in October it was chemical etching, last month it was a punch press.
    Personally, I managed to get my money back by contacting him directly, but I wonder how many others managed the same.
    I agree with the comments that Kickstarter needs to protect backers a bit more. Yes, it could be considered like the stock market, but that’s not the way Kickstarter bills the interaction. I wonder if there’s any recourse through Amazon since the payments are handled by them. There should be some kind of escrow arrangement so that the projects can get access to the funds, but there’s some money held over to pay back to backers if it all goes south.

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  11. The creators wrote:
    “As was also stated in another post by me and another here, OEM’s have multi-million dollar labs to test signals and often still have issues. We don’t have access to those tools. “
    That is pure inexperience talking. They are located in Seattle – Google reveals several EMI testing labs in the area (http://www.ckc.com/ for example). A few hours of testing in an anechoic chamber will cost less than $1000 and a good facility will have technicians that know what they’re doing to provide feedback.
    I was not a backer – perhaps someone who is can point them in the direction of for-hire multi-million dollar labs.

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  12. I was tremendously excited about the Drawing Machine Project, by Harvey Moon ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/notever/the-drawing-machine/ and his personal website: http://unanything.com/ ) and nothing has come of it. I was tremendously excited about the project and was planning on purchasing several of the kits. However, it’s been a year since the last update. It’s also been a year since I’ve last supported someone I didn’t already know on kickstarter.
    I’m going to take the same route GadgetGav took, directly contacting Harvey Moon about a refund.

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  13. I’m shocked anyone believed covering the antenna in metal was going to be anything other than a disaster.
    Also in the event of dropping the phone wouldn’t a metal case just cause even more pressure to be exerted on the phone? Cases should absorb an impact

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  14. Hilarious,
    “Yeah… I’ve not delivered but I’m learning 3D software to make instructional videos”
    WHY? No one asked you for that they asked for a product.

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  15. Hey, at least you got yours! I was one of the people who put $800,000 into the HexBright Flashlight. They pitched it as “we need the money to pay our suppliers who will make the flashlights” and gave an October delivery date.
    Once funded, the story changed– now they’re playing around with different design choices, changing it, constantly talking abou the evolution of the product, etc, etc.
    Yet the thing is, we didn’t pay them to DESIGN a flashlight– they said they had one designed already.
    And of course, no shipment date is in sight.
    Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, I was defrauded.
    I wrote to kickstarter, and what did they do? They gave me a BS PR speak (cut and paste obviously) form letter about how they “advise their products to ship”.
    Well, they’ve got 30 more days, or I’m going to start pressing the charge of fraud against them. Against kickstarter, who takes their funding from Amazon.
    We’ll see how Amazon feels about taking money for products and then not shipping for 6 months. (4 months past the promise date.)
    If Amazon doesn’t help me, then I’ll be calling the police local to the Kickstarter offices and the police local to the hexbright offices.
    When you fail to deliver, you HAVE to offer people refunds. Kickstarter refuses to do this.
    This isn’t just good customer service, its the difference between business and FRAUD. (And its the law– you have 6 weeks to deliver, or give a refund or get permission to extend the delivery time, according to the FTC.)

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  16. Agreed with Aldo, I am also a backer of Pen Type-A and the way they have handled, production delays, design issues has been exemplary in my opinion.
    Most importantly, at no point during the delays have I thought – I wish I hadn’t backed this project. in fact the opposite – being along for the ride has been a learning experience, with the creators taking backers along with them on the journey to realise their creation.
    Sam

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  17. You sound more like a consumer than an investor. You are complaining about a product that did not meet your expectations and was not delivered on time and budget.
    I build prototypes for a living. Proof of concepts. They exist to prove a concept. Sometimes those concepts work, sometimes they don’t. Investors are always willing to take a risk. You did not take a calculated risk if you are complaining about a concept that did not work.

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  18. On the contrary, it sounds like the creators are acting like the investors are consumers:
    DIsmissing the critical comments and contructive suggestions as ramblings of whining nobody’s.
    Investors / venture capitalists need to protect their investments. They have a “vested” interest in the successful outcome of the venture. Therefore, they lend their expertise and insight. You dismiss that at your peril. Watch a few episodes of Dragons Den (or Shark Tank or whatever it is called in USA). Some humility is required on the part of an inventor seeking investment — much more so than of a salesman selling a product.
    Sounds like anybody on these boards could have suggested they needed to put insulation between their case and the iPhone, or that there are any number of labs they could hire for a fraction of the funding total. So, what were they doing all this time?

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  19. About 6 months ago, I jumped on to the Juicies Cables (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laudowicz/juicies-colorful-cables-for-ipod-iphone-and-ipad/posts/157892?ref=menu) and have yet to see anything materialise. I was fond of the colours and they were meant to be cheaper and comparable quality to Apples own cables. Sounds like a win-win to me!
    An update a month or so back stated that the cables were being manufactured and now, that’s being ignored and we’re being told that the Project Manager was looking for more investments and making a business plan (basically using our Kickstarter money to fund his life over a few months whilst he did this, and then looked for more money to actually produce the products).
    I still like the product, but this is an absolute ‘bait and switch’. I bought into the project having been shown prototypes via kickstarter and given a time scale for shipment. Everything seemed in great shape. It now feels like the guy took us for mugs. Some kind of system needs to be implemented for reporting/flagging and requesting refunds.

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  20. I imagine many RF engineers would fall off their chairs laughing at the idea of a conductive metal bumper case for the iPhone 4.
    Tbe cavalier attitude the entire project took to the signal strength issue shows that the designers are simply out of their depth. Which can happen, but as Matt says, it’s how you deal with it that counts. (Never mind the anechoic chamber—the team apparently still hasn’t published Field Test results.)
    It strikes me that Kickstarter could improve the value of its commenting system if it could find a way to allow upvoting of expert commentary.

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  21. Dan, I also backed the Juices project. I also have the same feeling about project creator Laudowicz. I don’t think we will ever receive our colored cables. Moreover what also is bothering me is that Kickstarter does not really seem to care about it’s community. Without us they would not exist. If you contact them, they keep saying they are not responsible and cannot help us. I ask myself is it “can’t or not willing to”? They only seem to care about taking their percentage of the project fundings and in case of any problems they hide behind their terms and conditions.
    Moreover about Laudowicz he took more than 22k of funding and in his updates, in which he hardly tells anything news, he is now saying that he needs 100k for manufacturing? He is also playing the victim, a bit the same as the mentioned “defense update” in Matts’s blog. reversing the facts. But the problem is really himself, he does not communicate. If I am not mistaken we have not heard anything from him for over 6 months. Giving updates is the first step, but also contentwise it must be useful. His last updates where all the same. Apologizing, having problems, not reacting to the real questions that his backers has.
    Despite this bad experience and other project examples I will keep supporting the startups because I can’t imagine it can be worse than this!

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  22. I’m a backer as well of Pen Type-A, and I agree. Most importantly, I don’t think they’ve ever acted patronizing or resentful of those that backed their project. Feels like it should go without saying, but according to the above, I guess not.

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  23. Where an investment is predicated on a product with a stated brief, it is reasonable to expect the delivery of that product.
    Unless it was clearly stated that the investment was into an R&D project what was being invested in was mis-represented at best.
    When making an investment, on the stock market, as a business angel, or on kick starter, it is critical that all elements of what is being invested in are made absolutely clear. As the only individual or group who knows what is being offered, it is the project team who are responsible for doing that clearly.
    The stock exchange has extremely strict rules about describing what share-holders are investing in, the current state of it etc as well as the attendant risks. It also sounds like Kickstarter may need to tighten its rules on project descriptions. However, again, it is the project owners who must describe those risks clearly.
    This investor vs. consumer argument is bogus. An investor is a consumer, this is always true.

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  24. I think Laurens Laudowicz all scammed us. If you search the internet on his name and phone number things can be found that will not make us happy. I found that he has raised money for all kind of projects. I wonder if he has used the Kickstarter money not only to fund his life of the past few months, but perhaps also to pay for his other debts and outstanding loans. This Laudowicz guy is really desperate in search of money, check out this link (it is him, the ad has the same phone number as given in his last update on KS):
    http://myinternetresume.com/2011/10/free-this-weekend-honolulu/
    The google search also gave this link, which worry me even more than his fake Juices project and lies to us:
    http://www.state.hi.us/jud/opinions/ica/2007/ica27957sdo.htm
    He is convicted for harassment of his wife. Such a guy is offering himself as a baby sitter….. I hope no parents will be fooled by him!
    At this moment everyone can start a project on Kickstarter. I have the opinion that KS should check everyones background first. Does someone has a criminal records or perhaps financial problems etc. Now every individual with bad intentions can scam a lot of people. That should not be possible!

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  25. We’re in the process of starting our first kickstarter, we’ve been approved and just working on the video and stuff. so this is good stuff to read, though honestly it seems just more a lesson in good customer service.
    I have wondered what happens with some of the projects that go radio silent and such after funding. Our thing that might be different is that we’re as excited to get the finished product as hopefully anyone else will involved will be, and that so far what we’ve really enjoyed is the actual build and manufacturing processes for some of the other projects we’ve done.
    Reading over the comments i’m wondering about our approach, we’re in the design stages of something that’s cad’ed up, and we’ve built similar but not the same thing ( i don’t want to specifically say what it is since i’m not astroturfing).
    It is difficult to gauge the kickstarter audience i’ve seen projects fund with x10 x20 the funding with just a block of cnc wax and others with finished projects.
    So i wonder if you have to go super early with it, and just show the CADed models with tech background or do a finished design.
    cheers

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  26. Hi Matt, I agree with you 100%.. I just got my cases (2) today and my iP4s on AT&T went from 5bars of 3G connection to 2bars E (Edge).. I think they should put insulation like EVA material was only installed a small strip on each side of the bumper and not all around.. To sum it up, very disappointed to say the least..

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  27. Dear Pissed: I’ve backed several kickstarters, and I’ve always been pleasantly surprised when something is shipped – I certainly don’t expect it. I’ve paid money mostly to participate in the ups/downs of an entrepreneurial launch, with the understanding that yes, things go awry.
    I don’t know what your experience is – I’m wondering what percentage of kickstarters actually ship anything, and how many (if any) end up shipping precisely what they said they would. I’ve certainly participated in kickstarters in which products have not shipped – and I wasn’t particularly shocked.
    So – no, if nothing ever comes of it, I certainly don’t consider it to be fraud. I’m not purchasing a product from amazon.com. I’m taking a flyer on a startup endeavor in which the odds are stacked against shipping, and, actually receiving something, even if it doesn’t rise to one’s original hopes, is fairly pleasant.
    Like I said – if I wanted to just buy a product, I’d go to a retail outlet, not a startup funding website.

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  28. I’d have to agree about the “multi-touch keyboard.” I’ve got some experience in computer vision and they seem pretty “green” on the technical challenges. I’ve got a very sinking feeling that people aren’t aware of what they’re buying into and are going to be disappointed with the results. There are very early stage projects on Kickstarter like this one, just CAD renderings or first-gen prototypes, which present a much higher risk to backers. I think it’s a challenge to balance these types of projects with the more seasoned or mature projects because I think this process is so new to people; investing in a personal/team to fulfill a project rather than just flat-out buying a product.

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  29. Wow guys, this is totally fascinating. I’ve run two successful Kickstarters now (http://kck.st/sMQelT) and (http://kck.st/jcYZ1y), one of which was extremely complicated and shipped late and the other was very simple and delivered on time (mostly).
    A big part of the problem is that many of the people who start Kickstarter product campaigns don’t have a lot of experience in the execution of their product. While they may be successful with design and marketing, it’s the all the OTHER stuff that tends to get in the way, like financials, customer service, operations, manufacturing, fulfillment, etc (and some like these case guys just suck at all of it). As a point of reference, on the Loomi project my partner and I only ended the project with about $1500 each out of $34K pledged. Cash doesn’t go very far in this game and it’s NOT the only thing you need to deliver a successful product.
    I think what is missing are the resources for project creators to go get help with this stuff. The KS stuff available on the net is either all anecdotal… no one is addressing the fundamentals in a way that works for these people. They end up getting in tough situations and not knowing where to go, but with some simple planning they can avoid the tough situations altogether.
    Here’s a for instance: we started the Loomi project less than a month before xmas and promised delivery before xmas. It’s a simple product, but my partner and I planned and implemented the entire supply chain prior to getting funded so that the timing would work out. When we put it on KS we knew how much each unit would cost us, who would build it, and when it would be done… we just needed the funds to make it happen. Sadly we did have a hiccup with our fulfillment company messing things up but we did mostly deliver on time.
    Honestly, it’s my belief that if you haven’t done the right work prior to going up on KS then your simply lucky if you can deliver anything close to what you promise. Lots of these projects view KS as a bank but it’s really more of a step in a MUCH larger process that they’re mostly not prepared for, as we are hearing in this post.

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  30. Hey Charlie, as I said below it’s more a matter of having the supply chain in place so that you know you CAN deliver. It’s not a great idea to go onto Kickstarter with a project that’s not in the absolute final stages of development or you risk late delivery or being forced to change your deliverables altogether.
    I think I can probably provide some insight to help you avoid some of this and provide a reality check if you’re interested. Shoot me an email at josh@makercapitalist.com

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  31. Wow, I am on the funding for Hexbright too, and have found them to be very good at communicating, and letting us know what is going on. I guess I look at it very differently than you. We are funding a project, with people that are not pros. There will be ups and down. There will be wins and setbacks. I am funding early, to get a cool product at a discount, because I am helping them create a product to come to market.
    I really don’t think you should EVER use Kickstarter, Pissed. It is not what you are looking for.
    I have funded another Kickstarter for a photo product that has gone way over. The creator has been very forthcoming there, as well. It is amazing to watch what goes on in this process. Supplies vanishing, Paypal being complete asses and . Just everything that goes into this.

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  32. Probably a dumb question but can’t they use some kind of escrow service particularly for large investors? I appreciate projects need the funds to complete but I’m surprised that this many projects are getting through the vetting process that seem so poorly thought out.

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  33. I’m surprised these guys ever even thought to try and make this case the way they did. They did not do their due diligence in researching what it takes to make an iPhone case. Apple provides ample resources to case manufacturers here: http://developer.apple.com/resources/cases/ so things like this don’t happen. I found this page within 2 Google searches which took all of 30 seconds. The diagram for the GSM iPhone 4 found here: https://devimages.apple.com.edgekey.net/resources/cases/dimensions/iPhone-4-GSM-model-R2.pdf has very few directions but it clearly states “1. No metal contact with iPhone 4 metal band”. The diagrams for the CDMA iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S have the same instructions.

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  34. I’m a backer too, and I’m quite pleased that they’ve been putting in the attention to detail that they have. I’d much rather have the final product arrive late than on time but with numerous flaws.

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  35. The i+Case team reached out to Matt to open a dialogue around this article and provide more details around the other side of the story. We have yet to get a response. Perhaps posting here will net a response.
    Also, I’m not sure that the image that used is licensed. The i+Case team certainly has not granted rights to use that image.

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  36. Hey i+case team, yeah you emailed me a pretty snotty note implying that I was both wrong and smearing your team’s name. I already gave my story here, what more is there to discuss? If you’d like to give “your side” feel free to leave a comment, you’re welcome to. I didn’t see any reason to have a email fight privately with you guys when I’ve said all I wanted to say.
    I was disappointed in the thing you guys produced and I thought you handled the entire campaign poorly, which I described here to illustrate to other makers and creators what not to do and how to avoid a situation where you have thousands of people that feel like they got kind of ripped off and don’t want to use Kickstarter any more.
    And I’m using the photo off your kickstarter page to illustrate the story, for journalistic purposes. If you guys want, I’ll remove it (just say the word), but hey, I figured I already paid you guys $70 for a case I can’t use, maybe you can use that money as image rights.

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  37. You seem to assume that they’re being completely honest with you, Rifter. Accidents, mishaps and setbacks do happen in life–I have actually seen a dog eat someone’s homework–but, after a while, they start to wear thin, especially in aggregate.

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  38. The question is are you investing in a business, or buying a product?
    It seems many backers believe they are buying a product. But reading some of these stories, it seems that many of those individuals and companies running the campaigns, believe the backers are investing in a business.
    The whole relationship is a bizarre combination of venture funding, charity, and a simple retail transaction.
    I think Kickstarter should consider requiring the projects to include detailed financials on exactly how the $ will be used, prior to officially funding it. Those running the campaign need to be held accountable, especially for those projects that have raised over $100k. And this is the companies job.
    They should at least *offer* insurance as well, even if they charge you $5 for it – it would incentivize Kickstarter to take a more hands-on approach to the management of the project.

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  39. Matt,
    Here’s the note we wrote, below, so everyone can read for themselves.
    I think this is ultimately where one of the issues exists. You are subjectively interpreting things instead of having a dialogue. Show me where I said you were wrong? I didn’t suggest an email fight. I suggested setting up some time so we can discuss, not an email. We wouldn’t need to set up a time to discuss over email.
    If this article was for journalistic purposes then as a good journalist you’d report all sides of the story, not one.
    The last line in my email is a pretty common phrase and is merely used to illustrate that this is only one side of the story.
    Search for three sides to every story and you’ll see this isn’t a new concept.
    Hi Matt,
    I’m part of the i+Case project on KickStarter.  I know you haven’t personally attacked us, even saying so to try and remove finger pointing, but you ultimately are implicating the team regardless of what you say.
    If you’d like to have an open and honest discussion about this then let’s set up some time.  Otherwise you are only sharing one part of the story.  And everyone knows that there’s your side, our side, and then the truth.  And typically the truth lies somewhere in the middle. 
    Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can—and must—pursue it in a practical sense. This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation. Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods so audiences can make their own assessment of the information. Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built—context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever greater flow of data, they have more need—not less—for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.
    http://www.thepomoblog.com/papers/pomo99.htm
    i+Case

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  40. What? You said, “Show me where I said you were wrong?”
    You said it right here:
    “And everyone knows that there’s your side, our side, and then the truth.”
    So you’re saying he’s not telling the truth. I mean, come on.
    And it sounds like people have been trying to have an “open and honest discussion” about this project and you’ve refused to engage in this discussion until now, until it reaches some critical mass and you’re actually being made to look bad.
    It’s interesting how now you want to be open and honest, but in the past you’ve clearly not wanted to do so. I suspect your time has come and gone to engage in open and honest discussion.

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  41. I have to admit that I’ve always looked at Kickstarter with a bit of a jaundiced eye, but that usually had to do with getting well-above-background-radiation-level bogon readings off of things that I usually found out about through links from Boing Boing. Computer-aided design tools have produced zillions of pictures of iGadget-slick designs that aren’t necessarily practical in real life.
    Having reviewed some of the tales of woe above, I’m simultaneously embarrassed by and glad of my initial dismissiveness, as I could easily have been sucked in by some of these fiascoes. Some projects are probably quite worthy, done by responsible people with proven records of producing things (Jim Woodring and his giant pen nib come to mind), but I suspect that quite a lot of the people who make big promises that they can’t keep are not only quite naive about the whole process of getting product made and out the door (as Josh Hartung notes above), but also may simply go a little nuts when the pledges start coming in and, in some cases, end up funding their project several times over their goal. Suddenly, they don’t have to eat ramen three times a day, or enter and exit their apartment when the landlord is camped outside their door, or wear the same clothes they had ten years ago. I’m not saying that they necessarily decide to take the money and run, but for someone who may have unsuccessfully tried to get funding from conventional sources for some time, and all of a sudden has a flood of money coming in, it’s understandable that they may wonder if they were aiming too low and want to take a little more time to redo their initial design, or renegotiate terms with suppliers, or hire a few buddies to help with orders, or…
    Or maybe, in some cases, it was a straight-up con from the word go. At any rate, I’m glad that I’ve managed to avoid it for the most part. (I’m still a little embarrassed about my short-lived woot.com habit.)

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  42. @HAL you are quoting out of context and leaving things off to try and bolster you argument. Here’s the full quote. “And everyone knows that there’s your side, our side, and then the truth. And typically the truth lies somewhere in the middle. ” This means exactly what it states. There’s Matt’s side, there’s the other side, and then the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It means some things that Matt is saying are correct and some are incorrect, because Matt didn’t verify and have a discussion, there are some things on our side that are correct, and the truth lies somewhere in between. I’ll repeat this isn’t a concept I’m making up, it’s common and known. No one has verified the facts with us, no one has tried to have an OFFLINE discussion with us about the project. Everyone tries to rampage on the project in a public forum, this isn’t the place for those discussions.
    Of course there are things we could have done better, there are things we’ve learned, etc, etc. And we’ll take those learnings forward, but we are here now and dealing with what’s in front of us.

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