People have been picking up their Hugalopes and packages have started going out via UPS and USPS and I've been putting in some very long hours continuously since the shipment came in to pull all this off and I've been discovering that shipping logistics on a tight budget is just really, really hard. But we're incredibly excited to be sending these out and seeing new orders come in via the website is deeply gratifying.
But I just had to stop for a bit and post about my day. Through a TechShop connection I was recently put in touch with a woman who is giving a presentation at SXSW this coming week. She wanted to interview some TechShop people who had run successful kickstarters and hear about their experiences as background for her talk. She's super nice by the way.
Well, I'm telling her our story and the keys to promoting a campaign effectively and I'm giving her all this advice about how best to raise money through crowd-funding and the things I wish I knew when I started, etc. All the advice I pass on whenever people who are starting campaigns of their own ask me how to do it.
I tell her the single most important lesson I can give from my own experience is to involve your friends in the creation and preparation for the campaign early on before you launch. Getting them invested in this way is so much better than having everything in place, launching, and then asking them to spread the word. Our most effective evangelists were the ones who helped us from the very start and they turned out to be essential in so many ways. So I always tell people to engage their friends early and meaningfully - it's also more fun that way.
Then the discussion turns to our experience with fulfillment and delays and keeping your backers in the loop about what's happening. I have to admit we took way longer than we expected to pull this off and how at first I was really sheepish about discussing this in updates. And how there were times when we were stuck waiting on the factory and the time between updates felt too long. And then when stuff would happen it would be all at once and it was so hard to keep up with changing events. And about all the frustrations surrounding the reality of fulfillment and making sure our backers understood that we were in fact incredibly dedicated to all of this and to the support they'd shown. And she mentions how Kickstarter projects in general are notorious for this.
Then I start telling her how the experience has evolved for me. How I started hearing from people who were (amazingly) reading every update and following our progress incredibly closely. And how they really paid attention and knew what was happening (I always wonder since my posts tend to run super long). And how much they are really, really rooting for us. I tell her how understanding all these hundreds of people have been and how even the least patient ones have motivated our efforts and we're grateful for all of the feedback.
And I tell her about meeting people in person for the first time and how they have all this knowledge about your experience and familiarity with your journey. And how I always expect people to be annoyed with the delay and instead I keep hearing congratulations on our success. Which is weird since I feel like we have such a long way to go and we're always struggling just to keep the company alive. But then this helps put things in perspective and I can see how much we've actually accomplished that we never even imagined at first. And how people have told me the updates have been chapters in a story and every one of them a true cliffhanger. And how so many people have shown how much they support and care about our adventure as it continues. And I start gushing to this woman about how we have the best backers in the world and yeah, every campaign says that because all of us really feel that way, and isn't that just a great thing about kickstarter?
So then I stop and tell her I was completely wrong about the most important lesson I've learned from running a campaign. I tell her that without a doubt the single most important thing I've learned from running a kickstarter campaign is that people are amazing. They are fundamentally good and wonderful in the most surprising ways and if you put them in your path they will show you just how incredible they can be. You guys have awesomized our lives.
Now, there are still Hugalopes to send and I have to get back to work.