The Making of the Glif

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Last year, the Glif had an amazing run as a project, seeming to nail every aspect of what it takes to make a project succeed: a great video, good updates, and swiftly delivered rewards. Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt, the creators behind the Glif, recently published a fascinating post-mortem on how they brought the Glif from idea to market in just five months, a feat that until recently would have been virtually impossible. Here are some highlights:

It begins with an idea:

“From the beginning, it was clear that simplicity was going to be a key tenet of our design. Not just for philosophical reasons, but to keep the design focused, and quite frankly, achievable.”

Good design requires a bit of trial and error:

“Upon receiving our first prototype in the mail, we could immediately see that our idea of how the stand would function was flawed. There was basically no way for us to have known that without having a physical prototype to test. It became much easier to iterate once we began receiving prints from Shapeways. Due to the 10 day turnaround Shapeways required, we would begin working on the next iteration while the previous one was being manufactured.”

Sound advice on how to make a great video:

“Speaking to the camera (at the beginning and end of the promotional video) was actually the hardest part, owed to the fact that neither Tom nor I are trained actors. It is incredibly difficult to sound natural. My best advice: do lots of takes. And take a couple whiskey shots.”

Even the Glif make mistakes:

“If there was one mistake we made in setting up the pricing tiers, it was attempting to embed different shipping costs (for domestic, Canadian, and international) within the tiers. This ended up confusing quite a few people, and we did a poor job communicating how this was meant to work. Best advice: however simple you think your pricing tiers are, make them even simpler.”

And perhaps most important of all, how to deliver rewards:

“The next big problem to solve was order fulfillment. We could handle the ~500 orders of 3D prints, but there was no way we could efficiently ship out over 5000 orders. Enter Shipwire stores your inventory in several possible warehouse locations, and will take care of fulfilling your orders. It’s costly, relatively speaking (now I know what the ‘handling’ part of ‘shipping & handling’ is for) but completely worth it. The great thing about Shipwire is they tie directly to the online store we built (using Shopify), so orders are sent from the store to the warehouse, seamlessly. When Shipwire first received our inventory from themanufacturers, they shipped out over 7000 orders (all of Kickstarter plus some online orders) within 24 hours. Awesome.”

There’s so much more to the Glif’s story, and in telling it, they’ve created an invaluable resource for everyone to share. Make sure you check out the complete post here.

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