Hello everyone, it's that time again! Welcome to the Hack Chat, and welcome to Josh Lifton. He's CEO of Crowd Supply and we'll be talking all about crowdfunding and mentoring today.
Hi Josh - can you start us off with a quick introduction?
Hello @Joshua Lifton :-)
Well, I've been running Crowd Supply for about six years now.
Before that, I spent some time at Puppet as a software engineer turned manager.
Before that I did a lot of independent contracting / start up work in the hardware and software space in NYC.
And before that, I got my doctorate from the MIT Media Lab studying distributed sensor networks with Joe Paradiso.
That's the short version, anyway.
What made you start with Crowd Supply?
I wanted to get back to hardware.
Of course, there was a logical fallacy there.
haha, of course
It's hard to work on your own projects if you build a platform to help everyone else run theirs. :)
but then everyone else can work on theirs easier
Yeah, and I get to vicariously enjoy them.
Actually, it's been awesome being exposed to so many cool projects and having the chance to give some input on them.
That's probably the best part of my job - the constant exposure to new projects.
how did you get to the idea of combining a crowdfunding site with fulfilment and shopping system?
That, and the kombucha keg at the office.
For reference, here's Josh's many-year project: https://www.crowdsupply.com/open-steno-project/stenosaurus
We basically just looked at all the problems engineers and product designers were having and decided to take as much off their plate as possible.
Fulfillment was a no-brainer. Turns out that ongoing sales and distribution is also difficult for a lot of people.
Designing and building a product takes a different set of skills and personality traits than keeping it in production and shipping it to customers.
Is it more like a kick-starters or a Tindie?
The opening talk at last year's Supercon explains this well.
Do you have a link handy?
It's not really either and co-exists with those.
Actuallym, forget it, someone will post it here
I don't have a link. Someone does!
What about the buyers and backers? Are you helping them to learn to use these products? Is that something you do, or do you try to get the designers to teach and support the users?
Neither Tindie nor Kickstarter are really built for product development in the way Crowd Supply is.
We're limited by our capacity, so we mostly rely on backers and creators supporting each other. We facilitate as much as possible.
One way we're doing that is with our new Field Reports initiative.
A field report is basically a repot from a backer about how they are using a project.
It shows off what can be done with a product.
If it take...
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