One Week on Kickstarter – 5 Things we’ve learned.

It’s been a week. Generally a very good week… If you’d have offered us ‘60% funded’ after 7 days, we’d have taken it.

So, what have we learned? Actually; an awful lot. There’s things we’d keep the same and things we’d do differently. Either way, whether we make the goal or not, there’s a lot of valuable information that we’d be able to use (and pass on to other Micro’s).

We’re by no means Kickstarter ‘black belts’ (which I think is obvious), but if there are any up and coming Micro’s out there, reading this, this is what we know so far.

1/ We love our ‘proper audience’… The people who have been with us from early on, are now turning into friends. You might think ‘aww that’s nice’, but it’s more important than that, they keep you honest and motivated to be at your best. One chap recently informed us that he was buying the watch in honour of his sadly departed dad… Can you imagine dropping your standards, to peddle shit and shortcuts to someone with that kind of motivation? No, neither can I. So my advice, is get to know your audience, they’re people too and they will remind you, especially when things seem shitty, why you started out on the journey in the first place. Invest in them as people and fuck money… Giving those guys something special is worth way more than profit. If you make something decent, the money will show up sooner or later anyway.

2/ Too much ‘being human’ can make you vulnerable to Keyboard Warriors. We made the decision early on to be ‘people’ as opposed to ‘a corporate entity’. This was a mistake. Airing errors we’ve made, showing evidence that we’d changed our mind mid-process, discussing potential failings that might need a ‘plan B’, not fitting the mould or general expectation etc… We thought that Crowdsourcing was about normal guys trying to make a go of it, but it simply isn’t. For the most part, people need security; that you’re cold, calculated and precise – (even though MOST people on Kickstarter are embarking on something they’ve never done before), and even though you and I know that this ‘corporatism’ is generally a facade and means nothing, people DO expect it. No, we’re not Rolex or Omega, but our tone of voice should probably have been commensurate with those guys… Too late now.

3/ To get reviewed or not get reviewed. Pah, I still dunno. It totally depends on your business model. If you’ve got a couple of grand to get a high standard pre-production model out there, and your release variants are going to be exactly the same, I guess you should do it. It doesn’t work for us right now, but I can tell you this much, if we don’t reach our goal, it will be hard for us to ignore this approach when we return to the table, even if the piece isn’t a fully factual representation of the finished article.

4/ Don’t watch the numbers! Unbeknown to me one week ago, backers are transient. Pledging and indeed cancelling is part of the ecosystem and it can be easy to attach your self esteem to their increase and decrease. Not healthy! Sure, keep your eye on them so you know if you have to up your work rate, but losing a backer or two doesn’t mean the world hates you and gaining a couple doesn’t mean you’re made. Staying grounded has been our biggest lesson this week.

5/ Trying to adapt to your audience’s demands puts you behind… Everyone, I mean everyone has a unique requirement. And you can tie yourself in knots trying to keep up with them, but some basic process automation can get you out of the ’emotional loop’. I’m not saying turn into a copy and paste merchant, but having a ‘go to’ approach for certain communication scenarios, will save you hours.