Repair Board Withdraws: A Last Post from Jason Scott
Jason Scott, speaking for himself.
When I took on this project a number of years ago, and helped recruit the rest of the "repair board", there was one reason and one reason only: to save a life.
I'd seen the pattern a few times before - a talented and brilliant but also inexperienced young person takes on more responsibility and pressure than they can possibly bear, begin treading water, reveal just enough of their bad situation so they don't feel that bad about their next move being a shock, and then they kill themselves. Having experienced it a few times, even with people I only sort of hung in the same circles had, I resolved in a very strong way to step in, no matter what, if I thought my actions could prevent that course of things.
So I jumped into the Open Locksport kickstart to turn it from an unstoppable swirling drain of hate, threats, morass and misery, into something that perseverance and some shared efforts could turn surmountable. I didn't know Schuyler that well and I certainly could not care less about lockpicks as an industry or product. I just didn't want another case of sitting by, reading tweets and facebook updates, and wondering why I didn't say or do something when I had the chance.
It's September 2015. This officially makes this kickstarter campaign 5 years old. That is a very long time, but it has had a lot happen along the way, and even with the occasional setback, if one looks at where things have gone, a lot of milestones have been done. Some amount of picks have been manufactured. Refinements have happened on those picks. High-end backers, who were promised frankly insane rewards for the investment, got them. In theory, everyone has gotten some percentage of the rewards they were promised, although obviously not enough for the people in the $35-$100 range who are still waiting on picks.
At this point with this kickstarter, Schuyler is in a difficult and time-consuming project, one that is insanely behind schedule. But he has a job, a wife, and a place to live. He has a family that checks on him, and friends who do the same as well. He is, in other words, a flawed yet brilliant person who has much of a life to experience in months and years to come.
He now has a tested design for lockpicks that work. He has a vendor for metal, and for cutting, and for welding. He has to tumble the metal himself, but otherwise, the time required to create the lockpicks has been greatly reduced, and more importantly can be done by third-party vendors. He needs to put his own money into each set, so that may take him longer, but if Schuyler were to press down, he could continue making and mailing lockpicks indefinitely. Conversely, he may shut the whole endeavor down. It is entirely his own choice, the choice of a man who has grown considerably in the time I've known him, and who has a lot of great things ahead, if he applies himself.
I do not regret getting involved. I did not mind the barbs and the anger, although the one guy who threatened my life was not something I expected at the outset. I hope that I and the rest of the board were sufficiently communicative over the years as circumstances allowed.
I want to give a special thank-you to Jason Aller, who has done the lion's share of the work with the spreadsheets and calculations, who was a tireless contributor to the project, and who helped find all sorts of processes for working on fulfillment. If it's not obvious, this entire project was madness in terms of logistics alone, and it was Mr. Aller's perseverance that contributed to things getting where they are.
I also want to say that besides the 4 members of the board, there were dozens of people who contributed time and money to the kickstarter, beyond the money that was raised and lost, to ensure the massive mailouts of rewards so far could happen. In some cases, the contributions were significant. I want those people to know they are thanked for their vital, incredibly trusting contribution to this.
I know there's a lot more that can be said, on all sides, but I hope that if nothing else, this project will stand as an example of the highs and lows of crowdfunding, the risks and rewards, and the nature of this new way of doing things.
I thank everyone for their time and patience so far, and I wish Schuyler the best at however he goes on from here.
I continue to offer myself for communication and confidential conversation on anything. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please, if in the future you see someone you think might be in a very bad way, reach out to them - you will make a difference.