Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

A event log for Crowd Supply Hack Chat with Josh Lifton

Crowdfunding and mentoring hardware hackers

lutetiumLutetium 07/24/2019 at 20:040 Comments

Johny Radio12:26 PM
Traction question?

Tyler12:26 PM
Bubbling it up:

@Joshua Lifton On your intake form, you ask for traction (email signups or something like that), how much traction are you looking for to get started? Or how much traction do successful projects have when they apply?

Darrell Rossman12:26 PM
Piotr also runs his own PnP's:

Joshua Lifton12:27 PM
Ah, traction. There are a few milestones: number of subscribers to a pre-launch page, number of those who convert to paying customers, response from the newsletter and other media, etc.

Brandon12:27 PM
Have you had products that ship w/ barebones firmware and then follow-up w/ improvements and full functionality?

Like our solution ( we could probably ship earlier, and it will still have value, but it won't have nearly the firmware functionality we want it to have in the long-run.

So we're thinking we're just candid about that for early supporters, so that they can get the hardware and start toying with it, using it, and then see better more feature-rich firmware later.

de∫hipu12:27 PM
I suspect it's more of an excuse to get a new shiny toy

Joshua Lifton12:27 PM
It really depends on how much you are looking to raise and the price/value ratio.

Tyler12:28 PM
I see a lot of projects raise in the $10K to $25K range. What about those?

Joshua Lifton12:28 PM
@Brandon that's certainly happened. The path from here to there needs to be clear, though.

Tyler12:28 PM

Joshua Lifton12:28 PM
@Tyler some of those have been our best sellers after the campaign.

Brandon12:28 PM
Thanks @Joshua Lifton that makes sense. So probably spell that out w/ approximate dates on the launch page.

Prof. Fartsparkle12:28 PM
has the selling to mouser helped with logistics? It sounds like things like shipping could get a lot easier with such a larger distributor in the back. Also do you plan any cross promotions with mouser (think discounted part prices for campaings or so)

Johny Radio12:28 PM
You're saying $25k is your low or high end?

Joshua Lifton12:29 PM
@Brandon yep.

Joshua Lifton12:29 PM
@Tyler depends also on the price, not just the raise.

Digicool Things12:29 PM
@Joshua Lifton A challenge seems to be those of us outside the USA. eg. (Unexpected Maker in AUS). Where product needs to be shipped to USA too then be re-shipped to customers. When do you think you might be able to setup regional hubs for distribution? eg. AUS / NZL makers & customers can use a local Asia/Pacific? re-distribution point. Also, I imagine global shipping from Asia would be cheaper than from USA?

Tyler12:29 PM
@Johny Radio I was just saying that range pops up for many successfully funded projects on CrowdSupply.

Joshua Lifton12:30 PM
@Johny Radio our low end is about $100. Our high end is well over $1M.

marvin joined  the room.12:30 PM

Tyler12:30 PM
@Joshua Lifton I have also noticed the average pledge amount on CS sees higher than kickstarter. Do you have stats on that?

Johny Radio12:30 PM
"number of those who convert to paying customers" You mean pre orders?

Joshua Lifton12:30 PM
@Tyler yes, there are a lot of electronics projects that happily live in the ~$25k space.

Joshua Lifton12:31 PM
@Tyler our average cart size is over $200.

Joshua Lifton12:31 PM
@Johny Radio we make a distinction between crowdfunding and pre-orders.

Tyler12:31 PM
OK. There was a time that KS was in the $75 range. So much higher.

Prof. Fartsparkle12:32 PM
is there a price range for products that sell specifically well or does price not matter as long as the value fits the price?

Joshua Lifton12:32 PM
The former is basically what you'd expect from a campaign, the latter are orders that pile up after the campaign while the product is being manufactured.

Tyler12:32 PM
@Joshua Lifton and that cart size is for all orders not just crowdfunding?

Joshua Lifton12:32 PM
@Prof. Fartsparkle value has to match price.

RichardCollins12:33 PM
Has any product failed badly and cost a lot to fix?

Prof. Fartsparkle12:33 PM
of course but do higher priced products sell worse even though the value matches?

Joshua Lifton12:33 PM
Early adopters and innovators tend to be willing to pay more for more value, hence the success of "deluxe kits."

Joshua Lifton12:33 PM
They sell better.

Prof. Fartsparkle12:33 PM
huh ok

Joshua Lifton12:33 PM

Joshua Lifton12:34 PM
@RichardCollins there are all sorts of failures.

de∫hipu12:34 PM
you can buy the cheap stuff everywhere, I suppose

Joshua Lifton12:34 PM
No project has failed so badly that they didn't deliver, or in a small number of cases, give full refunds.

Patrick Van Oosterwijck12:34 PM
For the cheap stuff it's really hard to compete with China. :)

Joshua Lifton12:34 PM
That's the thing we optimize the most for.

Joshua Lifton12:35 PM
Yeah, we generally don't sell stuff that is mass market.

Johny Radio12:35 PM
Unclear. What does this mean: "depends on number of those who convert to paying customers". If we haven't started selling yet, how could there be any?

raviypujar12:35 PM
@Joshua, Why closed projects are not accepted, why do you prefer product to be open source.?

Joshua Lifton12:35 PM
@Johny Radio when your campaign launches, the first people you tell about it are the subscribers.

Joshua Lifton12:36 PM
You want to see how they react before telling anyone else.

Johny Radio12:36 PM
Launches on CS? But we're talking about your application process, before launching, before accepted into cs

Joshua Lifton12:37 PM
@raviypujar open source is what enables other people to build, learn, teach, innovate, etc. It has so much more leverage than closed source.

Darrell Rossman12:37 PM
For some context: before a crowdfunding campaign goes live, most creators have a pre-launch page that viewers can subscribe to. Ex.

RichardCollins12:37 PM
There must be some way to ask people what they want designed, tested and manufactured for small runs. Kind of micromanufacturing on demand. There are plenty of creative designers it seems, and this takes care of funding and manufacturing?

Joshua Lifton12:37 PM
@Johny Radio ah, I didn't catch that. You mean, how do you know if the project is worth pursuing on CS?

Joshua Lifton12:38 PM
@RichardCollins the problem with asking people what they want is that they often don't know and will therefore inadvertently lie to you. :)

Johny Radio12:38 PM
No, how does CS accept a project. You said depends on number of those who convert to paying customers, I thought

Joshua Lifton12:39 PM
Oh, sorry, that's not what I meant.

Joshua Lifton12:39 PM
@Johny Radio we accept projects based on the answers to two questions.

Kelly Heaton12:39 PM
@Joshua Lifton "open source" does not mean full public domain, i.e., zero copyright on the look / feel / branding... correct? (and hi, by the way! We were at the ML together)

RichardCollins12:39 PM
@Joshua Lifton Yes

Joshua Lifton12:39 PM
Well, three.

Joshua Lifton12:39 PM
@Kelly Heaton hi!

Joshua Lifton12:39 PM
and correct, it is very nebulous.

Joshua Lifton12:40 PM
The three questions are:

Joshua Lifton12:40 PM
1. Is this an interesting project?

Joshua Lifton12:40 PM
2. Can the plan presented succeed in raising the funds needed?

Arsenijs12:40 PM

Darrell Rossman12:41 PM
Hey @Arsenijs !

Joshua Lifton12:41 PM
3. Can the plan presented succeed in spending the funds raised to deliver its promise to backers?

de∫hipu12:41 PM
How fast can you type? I think you are the first hackchat host who is keeping up with the questions!

Joshua Lifton12:41 PM
If the answer is no to any of those questions, we try to help make it yes.

Joshua Lifton12:41 PM
I cannot type fast. :)

raviypujar12:41 PM
@Darrell we had a discussion in September 2017 about launching my project. You had sent a list of queries which i had answered, but unfortunately never heard back on mails. Could i know the reason why project was not suitable for CS. So that i can fix next time before submitting?

Joshua Lifton12:41 PM
But answering these questions is my full-time job.

de∫hipu12:41 PM
you are not using the steno thingy? ;-)

Darrell Rossman12:41 PM
That's why Josh is designing his own stenography machine. :-).

Joshua Lifton12:42 PM
@raviypujar unfortunately, we had a very big backlog this year.

jolthoff12:42 PM
What about packaging-- do you work with helping to create custom packaging/inserts?

de∫hipu12:42 PM
by the way, I tried that too with #Steno Keyboard

Digicool Things12:42 PM
@Joshua Lifton Question 1. is very subjective. How do you asses what is "an interesting project" ?

Joshua Lifton12:42 PM
Sorry we didn't get back to you - we'll look into it.

Darrell Rossman12:42 PM
@raviyogi9300 - hmmm, sorry about that. What was the project? I can look into it after the chat?

RichardCollins12:42 PM
1. Does if fill a gap in what tools and systems are available for much harder projects we can't do because we do not have the basic building blocks?

2. Is it well-written and have they done a basic survey of users and applcations, costs and difficulties?

3. If is oversubscribed what plans do you have?

Joshua Lifton12:43 PM
@Digicool Things honestly, it's a fairly low bar, because we know we're not perfect judges of what's interesting. More than our personal opinions is the reaction of other people.

Johny Radio12:43 PM
How to turn off auto scroll on this thing? Can't read on mobile

RichardCollins12:43 PM
Good reply! @Joshua Lifton

Joshua Lifton12:44 PM
@RichardCollins oversubscription is an interesting problem with a simple solution: change the expected ship date as more and more items are ordered.

Kelly Heaton12:44 PM
@Joshua Lifton I'm onboard with open source hardware... but what about design copyright and branding (the gestalt)?

Joshua Lifton12:44 PM
We built that feature into CS from day one.

@Johny Radio Sorry, no way to turn off scrolling. Although you can compress each message - use the hamburger icon upper left

Patrick Van Oosterwijck12:45 PM
I guess a good project following on something like is a good measure to tell whether there is general interest in the project

de∫hipu12:45 PM
@Johny Radio I'm afraid this chat is a constant work in progress, and has a lot of inconveniences...

Joshua Lifton12:45 PM
@Kelly Heaton there are many pieces that could be open source. Whether the branding being open source helps or is useful depends on the product.

Joshua Lifton12:46 PM
E.g., it may be better to keep it closed to make sure there aren't fakes.

Digicool Things12:46 PM
@Joshua Lifton Might have missed my early question on global distribution. eg. I imagine global shipping from Asia would be cheaper than from USA? ie. Are you looking at other distribution solutions for non USA based makers?

Joshua Lifton12:46 PM
@Patrick Van Oosterwijck correct.

Tyler12:46 PM
@Johny Radio I'm having the same scrolling problem. I scroll up really high to make it stop.

RichardCollins12:46 PM
@Patrick Van Oosterwijck Would you suggest that and crowdsourcing work together to identify and encourage good Hackaday project to manufacture?

Johny Radio12:46 PM
I give up. Impossible to read this chat on mobile. Keeps jumping down when I try to read. Too bad, great topic. Bye!

raviypujar12:46 PM
@Darrell Rossman,

It was submitted with this name

Project Name: Valtrack-V2 GPS tracker

Arsenijs12:47 PM
If you want to read the messages and you have an IRC client installed, you can join #hackaday on freenode

de∫hipu12:47 PM
@Johny Radio there will be a transcript posted later, and there is a one-way gateway on freenode irc

@Johny Radio - I'll post a text transcript right after the chat. Might make it easier.

Joshua Lifton12:47 PM
@Digicool Things we're looking at shipping from Asia or the EU at the moment. The overhead of managing multiple facilities eats the gains.

Darrell Rossman12:47 PM
@raviypujar - great, thanks. I'll look at that shortly.

Arsenijs12:47 PM
unfortunately, you can't write from there yet

Kelly Heaton12:47 PM
@Joshua Lifton do you work with the E14 fund?

Patrick Van Oosterwijck12:47 PM