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A pre-sale of custom lockpicks designed by a competitive lockpicker to bring "Open Locksport" to market.
A pre-sale of custom lockpicks designed by a competitive lockpicker to bring "Open Locksport" to market.
1,159 backers pledged $87,407 to help bring this project to life.

Repair Board Withdraws: A Last Post from Jason Scott

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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 jason@textfiles.com

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.

- Jason

Rob Flickenger, Ted Bowman, and 14 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Ben McFarland on June 12, 2017

      for those interested in learning to pick locks, like this project, I saw this:

      https://gadgetrocks.com/products/6-piece-learn-to-lockpick-set…

      Looks like they're allowed to ship picks, so that shouldn't be an issue, and hey, for $25, you have what you're missing here, and you can forget about this.

    2. David M. Williams on October 14, 2016

      Schuyler, Jason Scott said "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" - can you please communicate what your choice is?

    3. Missing avatar

      Walter Stanish on February 16, 2016

      It seems Schuyler doesn't even have the sincerity to admit failure and apologise to us. I must say, I think we all went in to this knowing there were risks, but it's not a great ask for some baseline human decency, whatever the outcome.

    4. Jonathan Drake on November 19, 2015

      much appreciated on many levels.
      thanks for all the help and transparency you have brought.

    5. Paul Offe on October 14, 2015

      i have posted many msg with support and saying no worries as i have been through a lot of what he's gone through myself but to say the lest i lost all respect for him and the board when i posted a number of post and msgs asking some very basic questions and no one ever had the decency to reply to any of them! sorry but its a joke 5 yrs and you can't even reply to one of my posts or msgs ? all promises and no action until someone actually has some decency to contact me regarding the questions i asked i can only assume that you have just taken advantage of us all.
      i have more then one illness myself and due to this all my money go's out on medical bills i saved up $75 for this project as it's always been a dream on mine to get into picking and the magic of locksmithing and it's been a devastating to realize that i will probably never get my picks nor anyone else and for all we know some of the others that have backed this have had a shit life as well! sorry as harsh as it may seem it's true this kickstarter project is not about Schuyler personal problems or not having the money to fund it but its about the backer getting there product! i and a lot of others posted saying we would be happy to pay a additional $75 if it meant we could get owe picks but once again no reply and no reply to can we see the business plan you did and no reply to how much the picks cost and no reply to the link to updated the cad files for the picks and steel types etc and no replay to the other question i and many others asked.
      health problems are unavoidable but its ridiculous that some one cant even reply to the people that paid you $87,407 USD that did not even get used to make the products! or the weekly promised updates its very disappointing and i think if you had just been honest with us and keeped weekly updates and answers questions you could have pulled the pin long ago without everyone feeling they have been taken advantage of and cond :(

      thanks

    6. Chris Ainsworth on September 20, 2015

      Thanks Jason, appreciate all that you and the rest of the team have done.

      Schuyler, please continue to update and keep us in the loop! Even if there's no progress, just communicating will go a hell of a long way.

    7. Erik Berls on September 8, 2015

      Walter: that comes out a bit harsh. Might you rephrase?

      That said, I think the board stepping away is premature. It's still a pretty hefty project considering the ratio of $35-$100 vs >$100,<$35. I urge the [former] board to continue to be involved, and help guide and coach.

      Schuyler Towne: You've still got a significant amount of work ahead of you. Break it off into small chunks. We've waited a while, we can wait some more while you establish a good pace that doesn't burn yourself out. If you are looking at a weekly rate, don't over schedule: A quarter is generally 13 weeks, schedule only working 11 of them. Those other two weeks are yours.

    8. Danny Gagne on September 8, 2015

      Jason, Schuyler, The Rest of the board,

      What you've done is an amazing, and I'd just like to take a second to thank all of you for the work you've done to help Schuyler.

    9. Missing avatar

      Alex Robinson on September 8, 2015

      I knew that unfulfillment was a risk of this venture. I am just glad Schuyler is still around and in a good situation. This was just a passing fancy with me, I can give two shits about it now. My box of locks is long since misplaced or thrown away. If I can alleviate any stress on this project just count me out.

    10. Missing avatar

      Walter Stanish on September 8, 2015

      So what now? Transparency about the rate at which progress is happening would be the easiest way forward. Weekly updates at a minimum.

      Personally, I will not be angry unless the project is terminated, in which case I will be livid if there is nothing offered to backers. Schuyler has taken $87k + community trust (now dwindling, I think it's fair to say) + half a decade. Health issues resolved, I believe it's only fair for him to dedicate one or two days per week to getting this finished, even if that process takes another couple of years.

      To put it bluntly: lockpicks were the focus, lockpicks have not been delivered. Anyone can trans-ship third party objects and pocket most of a hundred dollars of difference, but it takes a real fool to believe they can get away with it on such a scale and simply be forgiven.

      Shuyler, do the right thing and finish what you started. If you really can't face finishing, then at a minimum please apologize, admit failure, and do a bulk deal to send us a decent pick or two made by someone else to make up for it. I believe most people would consider that a fair and sincere outcome.

    11. Missing avatar

      Ray Kuyvenhoven on September 8, 2015

      Thanks for all your efforts!