Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

A event log for Kickstarter Hack Chat

Beau Ambur and Clarissa Redwine

lutetiumLutetium 08/07/2019 at 20:040 Comments

@Clarissa Redwine got it. thx

Beau12:34 PM
@Bob Swinkels figuring out who your audience is, and how to best talk to them is key. I think the best way to do that is by connecting directly thru meetups initially, and developing your story over time. A project that I'm a fan of that I found thru hackaday was this ESP project

Frank Buss12:34 PM
@alireza safdari I've done a crowdfunding project as a freelancer from Germany, shipping it to many different countries, was no problem, but was only a EUR 4.5k project ( ), currently I'm working on a Kickstarter project which is a bit late

de∫hipu12:36 PM
I have a kind of a meta-question, not necessarily kickstarter-specific, but maybe you will know: is there any online resource that is listing and comparing the crowdsourcing platforms out there?

alireza safdari12:36 PM
I was initially in Malaysia and kickstarted was not available there but just recently (5 days ago) I moved to the US as a PhD student. So now I can use Kickstarter but there are still a lot of new things to figure out over here in the US. Specially legal stuff, do you have any guide, document, web page to help with the case of foreigners in the US?

PS: #Alpha V1: Open-Source Remote Controller is our project

Clarissa Redwine12:36 PM
@Matt Ruffner If you want that inside scoop ;) That Google Form generates a trello card that gives our team a snapshot of your goals. Magic! We share that link very selectively to creator swe think have projects we'd like to give extra support. Our team takes a look at the projects that come through that form once a week and decided how we want to feature or support them. We do offer campaign strategy support to a handful of creators and are always happy to share educational resources.

Beau12:36 PM
@mosaicmerc sounds like a great strategy, and focusing on communities that have a direct interest in what you are doing. It's never too soon to start building a mailing list, and starting to regular send out updates on your progress and plans.

mosaicmerc12:37 PM
@Clarissa Redwine , Are there statistics on the average return/contribution based on the number of people reached & informed?

benw12:38 PM
@Clarissa Redwine So would you still recommend using the Google Form even if you are still prototyping the project and in need of CAD support for example?

Clarissa Redwine12:38 PM
@de∫hipu this is actually a great snapshot of the two leading platforms:

Clarissa Redwine12:39 PM
@benw absolutely! We sometimes start working with creators years before launch :P

Beau12:39 PM
@alireza safdari there is some information available here to get you started on requirements for creators

mosaicmerc12:40 PM
@benw , Hi Ben, I might be able to hook you up with CAD support.

de∫hipu12:40 PM
I would actually be more interested in the smaller ones, as they might be better suited for a particular project.

Asher Gomez12:40 PM
@Clarissa Redwine, Is it necessary to have a prototype for successful crowdfunding or just some concept art and a good description? If it is necessary then what are some ways to earn money to make that prototype?

Clarissa Redwine12:40 PM
@benw One more thing: The Google Form response will just go to me and Beau- so you know you're sending it to friendly folk :)

Matt Ruffner12:41 PM
@Clarissa Redwine Thanks :) thats very informative. also thanks for asking that @benw that was also helpful

mosaicmerc12:41 PM
@Clarissa Redwine , I'll be sure to submit the google form soon!..Thanks a lot ..that is golden!

Frank Buss12:41 PM
@Clarissa Redwine the Hackchats are all public ( ) so this link isn't that secret now anymore

sanfinsk12:41 PM
So to what i'm reading, it is more advisable to find a sure community to finance the kickstarter rather than to rely on kickstarter to find this said community?

Clarissa Redwine12:41 PM
Hahaha- no worries! We love the Hackaday community ;)

benw12:41 PM
@mosaicmerc That would be great :P Freeform modelling is abit beyond me

I can redact the transcript if needed

Clarissa Redwine12:41 PM
Trust!! ;)

Frank Buss12:42 PM
unlike this room, the transcripts are readable by anyone without an account

Matt Ruffner12:43 PM
But who will actually read the transcript? or care to scroll? Or have a project to launch? and what if the trello card it creates looks super boring?

Beau12:43 PM
@sanfinsk Kickstarter is a great way to bring together and expand a community around supporting your project, there are a lot of projects live (1,000's) at any given time so you really need at least a core group of folks to help support and generate interest in projects and then amplify with your campaign.

mosaicmerc12:43 PM
Well, I have a small FabLab of my own going in Trinidad with access to Engineers, techs, manufacturing if u guys need to get some prototyping help/advice....I am a World Bank Tech Micro mentor for Climate change....

Saimon joined  the room.12:44 PM

Frank Buss12:44 PM
right, maybe not a problem :-)

Clarissa Redwine12:44 PM
@Asher Gomez it kinda depends on the project. If you're working on a first prototype and you won't be shipping it to backers, you just need to be clear about that in the project. If you're promising a product, it's important to have a working prototype. Here's a bit more guidance: . And here's a good example of a prototype campaign where just a few handbuilt units were being offered:

Boian Mitov12:45 PM
I have been thinking about doing some Kickstarter campaigns for some of my software projects, but so far has always succeeded to fund them out of my own pocket. Do you think Kickstarter is good platform for Software based projects?

Shawn Hymel12:45 PM
@Beau @sanfinsk From what I understand, Kickstarter won't do much advertising for you (outside of some newsletter and social media), right? You can communicate with backers and built trust within your core group, but it sounds like you need to have developed an audience before launching the campaign. Or is my assessment a bit off?

alireza safdari12:45 PM
@Beau Thank you for the link, I guess I need to find a permanent resident or a US citizen now :D

Dmitry Shevchenko12:46 PM
Hi all. I'm from Russia. Give me please, when my country will be available in Kickstarter country list. Regards.

Saimon12:46 PM
uhuhuh.... Kickstarter... i did two campaign... the last was great! Thank you a lot!

Frank Buss12:46 PM
isn't there a Kickstarter rule that you need a working prototype for a hardware project?

Matt Ruffner12:47 PM
@Beau @Shawn Hymel that being said, if you have a developed audience, what are the most successful platforms?

Clarissa Redwine12:47 PM
@Boian Mitov Kickstarter is a great place to involve the community in a dev effort. Bringing software to life as a collective is a great way to build a supportive base. Here's one of my favorite examples of a software project that came to Kickstarter more for the community building:

Shawn Hymel12:48 PM
@Matt Ruffner I would say any platform is great if you have an audience, as you can always just ask your audience to fund your project.

Clarissa Redwine12:48 PM
@Boian Mitov Another fun example:

Boian Mitov12:48 PM
Thank you @Clarissa Redwine :-)

Beau12:48 PM
@Shawn Hymel it depends a lot on the scale of the project, for something small you may be able to get enough interest from telling your friends about it. For most projects, you will need a promotion strategy, and to do the work to get the message out there. Often that means building relationship with press, or influencers, and building up an audience prior to launch. We do more promotion for projects that we find really align with our values and areas of focus, at the end of the day Creators and their communities drive most of the support.

sanfinsk12:48 PM
And I may sound ignorant (maybeit's out of scope) but how would you even start a community? Just making a facebook page ou a website isn't probably enough, what can be done more?

Beau12:49 PM
@Saimon great to hear, hope you come back for a third!

Matt Ruffner12:49 PM
@Shawn Hymel true.

Matt Ruffner12:51 PM
Does anyone have any experience with TIndie as a platform to sell on after a successful kickstarter launch or otherwise?

Shawn Hymel12:51 PM
@sanfinsk It's all about your audience--think about who might use your product to begin with. Hardware hackers--I would post on Artsy people? Maybe Pinterest or Instagram. Find where your prospective customers hang out and go there. Start posting every day, answering questions, etc. long before introducing your product. It definitely takes time. You can also start your own web page or Facebook page, but that also takes a long time of creating posts to draw in people.

Beau12:51 PM
@sanfinsk creating a page, using twitter or any of the social media platforms are a good start. Ultimately building out your own website as well as your project matures becomes very useful as well.

Kelly Heaton12:51 PM
@Clarissa Redwine @Beau A good friend of mine did a very successful Kickstarter project several years ago. He raised about $100K, much more than his goal, which was amazing. However, he told me that he still has PTSD from the fulfillment. He said that customers were a nightmare -- some legit complaints, some not... and as a small entrepreneur it was extremely difficult to handle. I saw his product and can vouch that it was legit and fully functional. Thoughts?

Clarissa Redwine12:51 PM
@Frank Buss yep, for campaigns that are promising the product as a reward, you absolutely need a working prototype. . But if it's something like this project, you don't really need a prototype... how that makes sense!

Clarissa Redwine12:51 PM

mosaicmerc12:51 PM
@Shawn Hymel , I plan to define what will appeal to my audience sufficiently to get them engaged, and then to define how I am going to reach them.

Saimon12:52 PM
@Matt Ruffner Yes i have

de∫hipu12:52 PM
@Matt Ruffner there is a #Tindie Dog Park chat in here where you can find a lot of tindie users and employees

Matt Ruffner12:52 PM
@de∫hipu thanks, the question was kind off topic

Shawn Hymel12:52 PM
@Kelly Heaton That's a good point! And a question for @Clarissa Redwine @Beau -- how do you recommend limiting success should you have something that skyrockets and you can't hope to fulfill all the demand? Sometimes it's a good problem to have :)

de∫hipu12:52 PM
@Matt Ruffner not at all, I just thought you will get much better feedback there

Frank Buss12:53 PM
thanks, makes sense, it is all about what you promise to deliver. If you need money to do something and promise t-shirts and deliver it, then it is ok

Clarissa Redwine12:53 PM
@Frank Buss Exactly!

Matt Ruffner12:54 PM
@Saimon awesome I will PM you

Beau12:54 PM
@Shawn Hymel @Kelly Heaton it's often great when a project generates a lot of interest, however it can easily become overwhelming, one of the features that you can use is to limit the number of rewards that you offer to keep things from growing faster than you are prepared for.

Shawn Hymel12:54 PM
@mosaicmerc Definitely a good plan!

Shawn Hymel12:55 PM
@Beau Do you mean limiting even the basic tier of rewards? For example, if you know you can only realistically fulfill at most 1000 orders, don't post more than that on the campaign?

Kelly Heaton12:55 PM
@beau do you have relationships with fulfillment companies who help Kickstarter folks?

Frank Buss12:55 PM
btw, my brother once tried a Kickstarter as well, did invest quite some money in the artwork for the product, but was not successful:

but he didn't invest much in marketing, I guess this is a problem. Or is there something other that could have been done better?

Kelly Heaton12:56 PM
It's not even about building the actual objects. It's about shipping, insurance, customer relations... etc.

mosaicmerc12:56 PM
@Beau : I'd like to post a couple questions to the group as a possible example to how I plan to engage the wider audience. Would that be ok for everyone to give a simple yes or no answer, kinda like a poll?

Beau12:56 PM
@Shawn Hymel exactly, also you can have multiple stages for the same reward, so you can offer say 100 to be delivered soon, and then offer a 2nd wave to a larger audience, but factor in additional time to address feedback and any issues in the initial batch.

jhdewitt joined  the room.12:56 PM

Shawn Hymel12:57 PM
@Beau That makes sense

jhdewitt12:57 PM
@Beau good idea. scaling and delivery schedule opacity is an issue

benw12:57 PM
@mosaicmerc Do you want me to PM you about CAD support :D

Bob Swinkels12:57 PM
@Beau that is actually a really good suggestion

mosaicmerc12:58 PM
@benw sure, a PM is fine

mosaicmerc12:58 PM
I have a joint venture with for manufacturing support

benw12:59 PM
@mosaicmerc Nice :D

OK, I know Beau has a hard stop now - catching a flight. I'm calling an official end and thanking Beau and Clarissa both for their time today. Perhaps Clarissa can stay on a bit and field last-minutes questions?

One last thing - next week we'll have Sam Zeloof here talking about his homemade ICs!

mosaicmerc1:00 PM
Homemade ICs...impressive!

Shawn Hymel1:00 PM
Thank you! This was definitely helpful :)

Beau1:00 PM
@Frank Buss that looks like a solid project, and didn't quite reach as many people as needed. Marketing can certainly help build a large audience, it's really important to understand the cost that adds as well and finding the right balance.

Asher Gomez1:00 PM
*Adds next Hack Chat to calendar*

sanfinsk1:00 PM
Yep, awesome that you came by!

Frank Buss1:00 PM
thanks, yes, he did all the calculations for production, but there was no money for marketing :-)

mosaicmerc1:01 PM
Oh my....

Beau1:01 PM
Thanks @Dan Maloney it's been fun talking with you and everyone, and yes I'm actually off to DEFCON so hope to run in to some of you there, and if anyone has more questions or tips on cool projects you can message me directly as well

Kelly Heaton1:01 PM
@beau thanks! Have fun at DEFCON!

jhdewitt1:01 PM
@Beau ok and good luck and have fun !!

Safe travels @Beau. Thanks!

Nicolas Schurando1:01 PM
Thank you @Clarissa Redwine and @Beau for your time.