Public Update: The PopSockets Story from Funding to Now
Earlier this week NPR aired this piece, which generated a substantial discussion of whether failed Kickstarter projects should issue refunds (to see a sample of the discussion, google 'NPR Kickstarter'). The piece suggested that PopSockets is an example of a failed project that offers refunds to its backers. Since the piece aired, I've had many inquiries as to whether the PopSockets project is in fact failed. The short answer is No, PopSockets is not dead! I am offering refunds to my backers, but not because the project is dead. To help the public understand why I'm offering refunds, and what the status of the PopSockets project is, I've created the following timeline of major events since PopSockets was successfully funded:
February 12, 2012 The PopSockets Kickstarter campaign is successfully funded, with $18,591 raised to manufacture PopSockets cases.
March 8, 2012 After extended negotiations, I sign an exclusive licensing agreement with Case-Mate, according to which Case-Mate will exclusively manufacture, market, and sell PopSockets cases in exchange for paying me a royalty on each case sold. Case-Mate initially expressed interest in PopSockets at the January 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. I promise backers PopSockets cases made by Case-Mate, who estimates that it will take three or four weeks to build the molds to manufacture the PopSockets cases. Where does the $18,591 go? Over $10,000 goes toward legal fees relating to the agreement with Case-Mate. Over the next few months, much of the remainder goes toward prototyping better versions of the accordion component of PopSockets, as well as developing and prototyping a novel sticky-gel platform for attaching individual PopSockets to the backside of any phone or case.
March 9, 2012 I offer refunds to any backers who are disappointed by the unexpected arrangement with Case-Mate.
June 9, 2012 Case-Mate announces that they will eliminate some products from their upcoming lineup, including PopSockets. Case-Mate promises to finish building the molds for the production of the PopSockets cases, on the premise that I might then decide to purchase the molds at cost from Case-Mate and use them to produce PopSockets on my own.
June 25, 2012 In an effort to compensate me for my setback, Case-Mate offers to give me the molds, which Case-Mate paid roughly $20,000 for, at no cost to me, in exchange for my agreeing to terminate our licensing agreement, conditional upon my satisfaction with the quality of the first parts from these molds.
July 11, 2012 I receive the first PopSockets case parts from Case-Mate and am not satisfied with their quality. Their bodies are too long and too wide. The buttons have numerous serious problems. And the general quality is not up to my standards. At Case-Mate's request, I agree to allow Case-Mate's vendor to revise the molds in an effort to address the problems.
August 14, 2012 I receive the second round of PopSockets case parts from Case-Mate. The bodies are still too long and too wide; the buttons still have serious problems; and the general quality is still not up to my standards.
August 31, 2012 I reject Case-Mate's June 25th offer to give me the molds at no cost and open the door to discussions with Case-Mate over the appropriate compensation owed to me for my setbacks due to Case-Mate's decision to pull out of our agreement.
September 4, 2012 I announce to my backers that there will be no PopSockets case for the iPhone 4/4S. I offer two forthcoming iPhone 5 cases for every case that I initially promised, or five pairs of "PopSockets for All" -- individual PopSockets that attach to backside of any phone or case by way of a thin reusable sticky-gel pad. (Alternatively, I will offer one iPhone 5 case and two pairs of PopSockets for All.) I also reiterate my offer to refund my backers.