I’m updating again to let you know that I have decided to cancel my campaign for StreetXSW. After spending some time analyzing what went wrong, I thought it would be interesting for you to hear why I think the project failed.
Despite a strong response I realized very quickly that the project was not going as I had hoped. It wasn’t attracting enough backers and I was getting some negative feedback about the rewards. I could make some adjustments to the rewards or the project description but I feel like this would not fix the underling issue of not having a prototype.
What I learned
Generally speaking project creators on Kickstarter are trying to do one of two things. Get funding for an idea they would like to do, or get funding to help complete a project they have been working on. It turns out that knowing what kind of project you are working on is very important because they operate in different ways.
A Kickstarter campaign that is raising funds to start an idea should set a lower goal ($10,000 or less) and probably will not get over funded. A campaign that is trying to finish an idea can set higher goals and has a better chance of getting over funded.
An easier way to think about the difference is by asking “does it have a prototype.” If you are starting an idea you are asking your backers to help build the prototype. If you are finishing an idea you have a prototype and you are asking backers to help bring it to market. This doesn’t just apply to design products but also to artistic projects. For example a movie that needs funding to be completed is a project with a prototype.
There are of course exceptions to the rule. If you have a “fan base” and proven track record, than a campaign to build a prototype can have a higher goal and might get over funded.
Where I went wrong
The mistake I made was not knowing which type of project I was launching. I intended to launch a campaign to help finish my idea but did not have a prototype. The result is that I ended up in the middle of the two types of projects and that is what people were responding to.
I am not giving up on the project. I think it’s a great idea and based on the feedback I got, other people think so too. I will just have to take the project further, and build a prototype before I attempt a relaunch.
Taking my own advice
This experience was interesting because I talk about having a prototype in A Kickstarter’s Guide. Maybe I should have read my own book before launching! However, when writing the book I’m not sure I realized just how important the prototype is. It just goes to show that even a two time Kickstarter such as myself doesn’t always get it right.
The good news is that I have a lot of new material that will make the case studies even better. I’ve already started outlining what I will write about. Hopefully I will have them in your hands sooner than I thought.
In closing I want to leave you with my summary of A Kickstarter’s Guide which pretty much says it all.
Great Kickstarter projects are successful because they connect and resonate with a specific audience. They use compelling storytelling combined with interesting or wacky ideas to attract backers. They are authentic while effectively communicating goals, passion, credibility and purpose. The more time spent thinking about these elements BEFORE the project is launched the easier the campaign becomes.
If you want to do a Kickstarter project because you think the Internet will find and love your project, stop right now. The Internet does not care about you. However, if you can reach out to the right people, in the right way, before time runs out, you just might get lucky.
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Aug 7, 2011 - Sep 6, 2011 (30 days)
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