Update 15: Mistakes & Apologies
Hello and a big thank you to the 1,950 of you who pledged over $275,000 to make the Light by Moore'sCloud a reality.
As you may already know, we did not reach our Kickstarter funding goal. Disappointing, but hardly unexpected. That final total is still astounding -- and entirely due to your generosity.
More thanks are due to more than 300 of you who have already converted your pledges into pre-orders at store.moorescloud.com. We’ve reached nearly $50,000 in the first 24 hours! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Why the changes?
Several of you have asked us two questions:
- Why has the pre-order price gone from $99 to $149?
- Why do you only need to raise $500,000?
In brief: we killed the $99 mains-only Light; by charging 15% more for the battery-powered Light we need fewer pre-sales to generate enough revenue to enter production.
A more detailed answer to the first question can be found below, while a detailed answer to the second question was published on our blog this morning.
While we continue to be focused on our opportunities ahead, it’s time to have a look at what went wrong, and why.
We Priced Incorrectly
We’ve had some time to reflect on the mistakes in our execution. First among these was an error in pricing the Light. Although we very much wanted to offer it for $99, the cost of the Light - greater than $50 - plus the cost of funding on Kickstarter (nearly 10%) - meant that there was precious little left over to fund the development of the mass-production for the Light itself. This meant we had to get a lot of backers - around 6000 - in order to provide sufficient development funds.
If we’d made the price just a little higher - $149 - we would have needed only about half as many backers. Applying that pricing to our current backing, we’d be much nearer to the goal - around 65%.
We Set The Funding Bar Too High
Crowdfunding is a discipline that mixes individual and mass psychology - people back you because they like you, but they also back you because everyone likes to back a winner. The more you look like a winner, the more backers you’re likely to get. That’s the virtuous cycle at the heart of crowdfunding, and it’s the reason why the CEO of a crowdfunding site advised us to set our goal a lot lower - $200K.
We chose not to do that. If we had, and had funded to the level we have now, we’d be getting your $270,000, but would lack sufficient resources to design and ship all the Lights people had asked for. That was too big a risk to assume, although it would have made us look like a winner, would have attracted additional backers, and might even have put us up over our actual $700K funding requirement. Was that a mistake? Hard to say. Either choice is problematic, though it is obviously more problematic to have no funding at all than to be underfunded.
We Went To Market Too Early
We probably launched our Kickstarter too soon. We had the prototype of the Light ready, but we didn’t have a lot software or demos to show. Those came along much later, possibly too late to make much of an impression on a world busy preparing for the holidays. We did not want to run a campaign through the holidays (that would have been wasted time), and we did not want to wait until 2013 to launch the Light. This space is already becoming quite crowded, and we felt a real need to get out there and make a mark.
We launched before we had a clear marketing or messaging strategy. To secure our 6000 backers, we needed to get consistent media attention and we needed to reach key markets with our message. We were so busy getting ready to launch the Kickstarter we didn’t begin to develop this until late October, and by the time we were ready to lead with it in mid-November, the holidays made coordination and planning very difficult. We should have had a complete marketing strategy in place before we launched the Kickstarter.
Kickstarter versus Multiple Sales
In September Kickstarter issued a directive in the ‘Kickstarter is not a store’ blog post, which informed projects that they could not offer multiple units as rewards. Many of you asked us - repeatedly - to create reward levels for 2 or 3 or more Lights, but we had been specifically forbidden by Kickstarter from doing that. That likely slowed progress toward our funding goal.
We could have chosen to use a different crowdfunding platform, but we wanted to take a chance on the big name in crowdfunding. This meant we had to play by Kickstarter’s rules.
We believe this policy is poorly thought out and essentially unenforceable. Plenty of you pledged for multiple of Lights - knowing we would do the rest. It’s all nudge-nudge-wink-wink, which is ridiculous, and the sign of a policy that is at best ineffective, and, at worst, punitive.
Nonetheless, the decision to go with Kickstarter - and accept their rules - was ours. And that, too, may have been a mistake.
Finally, many of you were offended by the tone in update 12. There’s a thin line between salesmanship and pushiness, and we clearly crossed it. For that - and everything else we did wrong - we are deeply sorry. We promise we will do better.
We’re going to get some badly-needed rest over the holidays, and we will be back in 2013 with more updates. In the meantime, we hope for your continued support, and we hope you turn your pledges into pre-orders at store.moorescloud.com.
It’s been an amazing journey -- because of you. We hope you'll remain with us as it continues.
The MooresCloud Team