Survivorship bias is where we draw conclusions from the evidence that we see, ignoring the cases that we don't see because they failed and we never heard about them. This leads us to base our conclusions on the exceptions.
It's very kind of Catharsis to share his experiences so we're not mis-guided by the kickstarter success stories where the entrepreneur was probably just lucky. As they say, shit happens, so don't blame yourself for failures, and 'fortune favours the bold', so keep on trying.
Thanks @CommanderKeith as I was just trying to give insight into my experience.
Boo, I've been delayed from responding..
I lost a friend in the devastating structure fire in Oakland at an underground electronic music event last weekend along with several others I met in passing over the years, so quite the gloomy week. I have my reminisces of a very talented sound / audio engineer + artist, Barrett Clark here
I guess I'll leave a few more stats. Beating the street did end up with seemingly more folks contributing more than the minimum amount. Here is the breakdown:
22 at $5
5 at $15
35 at $20 (limited offer $25 tier)
10 at $25
6 at $50
4 at $100
1 at $250
1 at $3k (actually $5k)
So overwhelmingly the 3/4th majority pledged more than the minimum amount and this likely had to do with all of the in person outreach / demos that I did at conferences and other meetups. One would assume if the word actually got out in mass that the $5 tier would dwarf the more expensive ones. The golden outlier was my parents which entered in the first week and only on the condition that they were aware that if the goal wasn't reached they owed nothing; they knew nothing about crowd funding. So yeah... Only $2,132 actually raised from outside sources.
You can see the Kicktraq graph
as well. No big start or finish. Just the barren middle the whole way through.
At a certain point once there is a significant threshold to reach likely around $10k+ it's absolutely necessary to reach a large amount of folks through the media / press.
Since I was doing something in an unknown / unproven area (creative effects composition video engine) right at the first moment it was first possible the only thing that I think would have changed the outcome is if I had a closed free alpha with 500+ people already using the app with as many press / bloggers involved in that group as possible. Conceivably giving the finished app away for free for everyone who could point to contributing or saying a good word in any forum (Reddit, etc.). Even sending out ~10 devices to press / bloggers with the app preloaded probably wouldn't have been enough to get significant press coverage to tip the goal; though a lot closer.
The takeaway is that if you are coming from the self-funded / bootstrapping side then crowd funding isn't necessarily about starting your community unless you are asking for less than $10k and the sweet spot is probably around $3k-$5k from a completely cold start.
I have a general musing on the success of Minecraft. IMHO Markus benefited from charging ~$10 for an early alpha and right around the time there were significantly new social networking services; Twitter, etc. you know back when people took it seriously. Get a few positive "check this out tweets" by gaming oriented influencers around then with 50k+ followers with reshares and a potential network effect and that significantly helps sans full blown articles in the press / blogs.
Oh yeah.. Guess who plunked down $10 though I just fired up Minecraft once when originally posted on JGO when it was free... ;P
Sigh... Now I'll address Riven.... It only takes one person in any forum to caste shade preventing further positive discourse.
To me it's no surprise... That you continue to be critical without actually being constructive for the most part. I guess that is just you.
To me it's no surprise that merely sub-1% of JGO's active members, and sub-1% facebook friends were interested in TyphonJS.
So true, classic me!
Yes.. classic you. I'll just point to a previous post you made that was negative
and short sighted; typical JGO peanut gallery fare.
Furthermore I think it's moronic to suggest sub-1% of JGO potentially interested in the actual product especially considering a limited mode without saving and such is going to be free. It's a supped up post processing engine that allows anyone to freely explore infinite combinations of post processing and indirectly learn numerous things about GLSL with an interactive environment; IE play around with some effects composition / figure out what you used then go implement it in your own code. Besides there are plenty of non-gaming creative efforts folks work on with Java via JGO. Now perhaps sub-1% of JGO backs any crowd funding effort here. The amount certainly isn't above 3% quite likely for any of them.
Besides while I never mentioned it a longer term goal is to create a desktop app for programmers to directly create their own shaders / filters and upload to the running app on device for testing / usage and eventually I'd like to support a 3rd party marketplace for programmers.
As mentioned on general principal I back all crowd funding efforts from active JGO members.
I applaud the gesture, but I think it's a bit out there, and one cannot expect people to return that favor. I wouldn't even fund my friends projects blindly, I think that goes for most people, but it might be classic me again.
Never said I expected more or anything from JGO. I just expressed what I do. Your assumption still is on the ridiculous side considering I've spent $40 over the last 2+ years. $5 on Retro-Pixel Castles and Tomb of Tyrants; $30 on Spine. There simply aren't many folks trying to do crowd funding posted to JGO. I can go without a beer to support anyone here without question. Now if there were one a week I'd perhaps take a bit more of a critical look. Again this is still down to who you are as a person and what kind of community you'd like to see JGO be. I still think there is going to be another breakout hit and even at least one or more "FU money" successes from JGO in the future.
My moot musings are the best, I'm glad you finally take the time to set the record straight on this one.
Yes.. There is context involved. I simply don't believe you intended to be helpful given past negativity expressed and the moot nitpicking that you did provide. That alone could have dissuaded anyone else from joining the conversation. Moot also meaning "non-actionable". You provided nothing actionable that could have been put into use at the time. Want me to explicitly spell out the exact reasoning and why that is the case for all of your criticism?
Your criticism even of not taking time between relaunching things at a lower goal amount also was moot. In the following days after I did that I spoke at AnDevCon; and gave a 5 minute inspired lightning talk addressing all attendees. There was no time to adjust assets as I was constantly beating the street and reaching out to people, so an immediate reboot was pertinent.
Your consistent panning of splicing two videos together (IE 8 second gap) as a horrible thing to do is moot in the context that I highly doubt that had anything to do with why things didn't turn out better.
As mentioned next time though via a direct public launch I'll be doing more of an interspersed video with narration highlighting specific features as that seems the popular thing to do.
I respect that you sank $10K into that video, but it simply - to me - didn't look like it. I actually think you could have done a better job yourself (this is somewhat of a compliment, you see). The firm that delivered on a budget made some rookie-mistakes IMHO (like that 8 second (!) fade out, in the middle of the video), that I seriously think that *you*, given a day to work on it, could have done it better than what that firm delivered.
At some point in time it makes sense to delegate work. I actually asked a pro video editing acquaintance of mine what the minimum non-offensive value should be for the SF Bay Area when engaging such a service; his answer $10k. The next month when I had that available he kind of led me on for a couple of months then declined to assist. The next best option perhaps wasn't the best per se. Another point of consideration is that everyone except the group I used would charge per diem fees. Want to get a clear / sunny content of SF / Golden Gate bridge, etc. Well if it's not a clear day then too bad a significant per diem for showing up regardless is charged. The folks I worked with were lenient in this regard. The first time I tried to shoot the narrative / dialog part of the video (2nd half) I was so stressed I couldn't do it. They came back a few days latter; no extra charge. Heh, you can still see I was a bit stressed in the video..
Not to brag per se, but at the time with the seed stage startup ($1MM funding) I was working for 60+ hours a week it took me ~69 hours to fund the video. Much easier for me to work ~6 days programming while others got actors (which I couldn't do) to be in the video and run around the city. With my last contract at higher corporate rates it would take ~45 hours and an upcoming contract would take ~36 hours to fund it; we'll see though as until it's in the bank it doesn't count. I don't have taxes withheld when paid and this expenditure is a tax write off to boot. I gather that I'm likely the highest hourly paid professional involved with JGO or in the top 0.0001%. So yes at some point delegation is more than reasonable.
I also think you grossly underestimate the work required to setup a Kickstarter. At the time the requirements for a company were strict and I had to run around finding a bank I wanted to work with that wasn't a consumer bank instead of making a video and many hours of coordinating documents between Amazon (payments) and such. That and all of the speaking / networking I did in person on top of a 50-60 hour work week had my schedule full and then some. Being an introvert none of that was energizing and was pretty challenging given the amount of in person indifference encountered; Big Android BBQ was a good example of that. Being "in friendly territory" wasn't so friendly on the surface in general.
And as mentioned I don't think changing the video would have significantly changed the outcome. The early alpha user community IMHO would have been the far larger difference.
Given that quite a few kickstarters succeed with minimal investment, I think it's more of a hype/goodwill centered issue than a financial one.
Again I think this is a naive point of view unless you list specific data. Perhaps when Kickstarter launched and the early years ('09 to '11 maybe '12) saw more minimal investment successes until there was massive discontent about crowd funding. Also the goal amount is pertinent. Sure that $500 or $3k goal for some small efforts were raised. As mentioned I certainly think anything over $10k gets a lot more dicey these days and at $20k+ you definitely need a preexisting community, pay money for articles and / or potentially receive outside help for the video. Perhaps if one has unlimited time and or significant funds on hand more can be done in house over a longer period ramping up before launch; that wasn't my situation re: time / funds.
I'm not sure what actually changed with Google Play though - couldn't you always release a 0.x version of your app and publish it in Google Play? Surely even your alpha/beta version beat a lot of existing 'proper' apps, capability wise, that were in the store, back then?
alpha / beta testing and staged rollouts. http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-ways-to-optimize-your-business-in.htmlhttps://developer.android.com/distribute/engage/beta.html
I hadn't used these features before and was how I was going to manage the delivery of the Kickstarter goals to early supporters. Had I known the outcome or knew I'd have a AAA corporate contract months later that brought in a windfall for 4 months of work I would have postponed things and got a solid closed alpha release up with 500+ folks + bloggers / press before doing any crowd funding effort.