Crowdfunding Your Amazing Product - Hack Chat Transcript - Part 2

A event log for Crowdfunding Your Amazing Product

We'll be talking about crowdfunding your project to get to the next level. If you're considering doing this, don't miss this chat!

Jordan BunkerJordan Bunker 07/28/2017 at 20:340 Comments

Joshua Lifton says:12:36 PM Of make them by hand. :)

sheffieldnick says:12:36 PM How do you keep backers happy, provide regular updates, etc. and still get actual work on moving the project forward? ;) Do you *need* someone dedicated to the communications?

Eric Moyer has joined this room.12:37 PM

Arsenijs says:12:37 PM I like this question, would like to know this myself =)

doug.leppard says:12:37 PM for one I designed around an existing enclosure worked well for the MVP

Joshua Lifton says:12:37 PM Hi, @Arsenijs :)

Joshua Lifton says:12:37 PM Someone has to own communications, but that shouldn't be their only job.

Joshua Lifton says:12:38 PM You have to be super responsive.

Joshua Lifton says:12:38 PM And super upfront about your status.

Joshua Lifton says:12:38 PM Don't hide anything or brush problems out of sight.

Joshua Lifton says:12:38 PM I recommend a meaty update at least once a week during the campaign and then at least once every two to four weeks afterward until you deliver.

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:39 PM you mean people like to see how the sausages are made?

Joshua Lifton says:12:39 PM Updates can be pics of your process, lamentations of delays, high fives of reaching a milestone, etc.

Joshua Lifton says:12:39 PM Yes.

Shayna says:12:39 PM Next Q also from @Jarrett : "How do you plan for FCC testing?"

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:39 PM provided they are all-organic artisanal sausages, I guess

Shayna says:12:39 PM Hah

Arsenijs says:12:40 PM Hi, @Joshua Lifton !

Joshua Lifton says:12:40 PM Here are some examples I particularly like:

Joshua Lifton says:12:40 PM @Radomir Dopieralski Yes, this is Portland, after all. :)

sheffieldnick says:12:40 PM What do you think about setting a maximum number of orders during the campaign, so you don't accidentally have a run-away success and all the logistical/management problems of suddenly running a $1 million company?? lol

Joshua Lifton says:12:40 PM FCC testing is another question we get a lot.

Shayna says:12:40 PM Unlabeled (Maybe that one's @Oluwatobi Oyinlola ?) but along with @Jarrett 's Q there's also "Is FCC/RF emission testing required for small batched of products?"

Shayna says:12:41 PM batches* rather

Joshua Lifton says:12:41 PM I won't give certification advice here, but I'll say that many projects choose not to get it and treat their product as a development kit instead.

Arsenijs says:12:42 PM Have there been any problems with that approach?

Joshua Lifton says:12:42 PM On the other hand, some products require it. For example:

Joshua Lifton says:12:42 PM No problems that I know of, but it has to genuinely be a dev kit.

sako0938 says:12:43 PM From what I read, just putting the board in a box doesnt count as a kit

Joshua Lifton says:12:43 PM @sheffieldnick Regarding capping the number of units, that's certainly possible on CS, but we also have a way that is usually better.

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:43 PM where is the threshold?

Arsenijs says:12:44 PM What if being a development kit is one of the device's purposes?

Joshua Lifton says:12:44 PM That way is to build your production schedule into our system so that the delivery date automatically changes based on the number of orders placed.

sheffieldnick says:12:44 PM That sounds good :)

Shayna says:12:45 PM From @David : "What safetly requirements are needed for high-voltage electronics? i.e. Jacobs Ladders etc"

Joshua Lifton says:12:45 PM Be safe?

Joshua Lifton says:12:45 PM I advise being safe.

Shayna says:12:46 PM Well put

Joshua Lifton says:12:46 PM We are about to ship a power supply ( and they included a warning in the box.

sako0938 says:12:46 PM Did they get UL listing?

Joshua Lifton says:12:46 PM No. It's a kit you have to put together yourself.

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:47 PM inside the box, "if you can read this, you are risking an electric shock" ;)

Joshua Lifton says:12:47 PM :)

Joshua Lifton says:12:47 PM Of course, Crowd Supply deals with products that generally aren't going to be found on the shelves of Target.

Shayna says:12:47 PM From a mysterious anonymous author: "What sort of advice does crowd supply typically provide to projects on pricing?"

Todd says:12:47 PM so the paper is itself electrified? ;)

Shayna says:12:48 PM don't read it and you'll be fine

Joshua Lifton says:12:48 PM Dealing with someplace like Target and their customers is a completely different story.

Joshua Lifton says:12:48 PM Regarding pricing, we are strongly opinionated. :)

Joshua Lifton says:12:48 PM We have two reasons for this: we want the project to succeed and we want to sell the product afterward.

Joshua Lifton says:12:49 PM We usually examine the BOM and suggest pricing accordingly. The final decision is the creator's, of course.

sako0938 says:12:50 PM Any rule of thumb markup rule?

sheffieldnick says:12:50 PM Do you subscribe to 2.5x COGS or similar?

Joshua Lifton says:12:50 PM Depends on the product and actual price range.

sheffieldnick says:12:51 PM Do you recommend selling with very little profit during a campaign to get the interest, and then increase prices for future orders? Or aim to pay wages and keep the lights on from day 1 ?

Joshua Lifton says:12:51 PM For most products, you'll want to offer a nice discount during the campaign, ramp up the price for pre-orders, ramp up again for retail sales, and have enough margin for some channel partners.

Joshua Lifton says:12:52 PM @sheffieldnick the main value of crowdfunding is quick market validation, so I lean toward the former, but not so far that you are losing money or regret doing it.

Shayna says:12:52 PM Another Q w/r/t UL listing from @sako0938 : "UL listing or CSA listing is expensive, and not always required for home users, is it worthwhile to do before crowdsourcing or after crowdsourcing has validated the product?"

Christopher Niemöller says:12:52 PM Example: BoM is $120, competitors are selling at $800 to $2k, would you go for 2k with a bit more functionality?

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:53 PM you can't say "I'm sorry, we miscalculated the price, here's the new one", can you?

Joshua Lifton says:12:54 PM @Christopher Niemöller I'd go for $800 (or less) out of the gate with more functionality and then move up to $1500 for retail.

Joshua Lifton says:12:54 PM @sako0938 depends on a lot of things.

Joshua Lifton says:12:55 PM For many people, they don't need the money, they just want an easy way to release the product, so they might have already paid for it.

Joshua Lifton says:12:55 PM If money is the main concern, I'd build it into the funding goal.

Christopher Niemöller says:12:55 PM Yes, thats my view right now

Christopher Niemöller says:12:55 PM I've developed all hardware and software

sako0938 says:12:56 PM Use it as a selling point, we need these margins in order to have a certified product in the end

Joshua Lifton says:12:56 PM @Christopher Niemöller You will receive a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number when your order ships. If you have more questions about shipping, please take a look at:

Joshua Lifton says:12:56 PM Weird.

Christopher Niemöller says:12:56 PM oO

Joshua Lifton says:12:56 PM Sorry about that - paste buffer mishap. :)

Christopher Niemöller says:12:56 PM No worries

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:56 PM EVERYTHING IS FINE PLEASE PROCEED

Radomir Dopieralski says:12:57 PM NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT

sako0938 says:12:57 PM !

Joshua Lifton says:12:57 PM What I meant was: @Christopher Niemöller :)

Shayna says:12:57 PM Hah, last but not least, @Radomir Dopieralski asks "If I have my own funding and potential distributors, does it still make sense to use the crowd funding?"

Joshua Lifton says:12:57 PM Hey, that could have been way worse than it was. :)

Joshua Lifton says:12:58 PM @Radomir Dopieralski Funding and distributors != fast market validation, so yes.

Shayna says:12:58 PM :)

Joshua Lifton says:12:58 PM Also, with market validation comes a great user base of advocates and early adopters.

Joshua Lifton says:12:59 PM It's amazing how supportive people can be when they back a project early on.

Joshua Lifton says:12:59 PM Also, you can get some really interesting partnerships coming out of the woodwork.

Joshua Lifton says:1:00 PM For example, the CORE2 campaign ( is a nice robotics platform for individuals, but it's had two large companies whose names you'd recognize approach them as well because of the campaign.

Joshua Lifton says:1:01 PM There's a big difference between working on a neat project and announcing a neat project to the world.

Christopher Niemöller says:1:02 PM Thanks, I guess what I'm missing is a nice video and marketing :)

Shayna says:1:02 PM That's all for the spreadsheet -- Thank you so much @Joshua Lifton and everyone hanging with us & submitting questions!

Joshua Lifton says:1:02 PM We do videos and marketing. :)

Shayna says:1:02 PM Go launch your stuff on :)

Joshua Lifton says:1:03 PM Thanks, @Shayna and everyone else. Feel free to ping me for other questions.

Jarrett says:1:04 PM thanks, @Joshua Lifton!

sheffieldnick says:1:04 PM Many thanks @Joshua Lifton - that was very interesting!

Jarrett says:1:04 PM I've got one more question!

sako0938 says:1:04 PM Thanks, had never heard of it before, and it seems like a good way to launch open source products!

Joshua Lifton says:1:04 PM Yay. Thanks.

Radomir Dopieralski says:1:04 PM thank you

Joshua Lifton says:1:04 PM @Jarrett shoot.

Jarrett says:1:04 PM could you add a "next"/"back" button on backer updates? :D

Jarrett says:1:04 PM like:

Arsenijs says:1:04 PM Thank you, very informative!

Joshua Lifton says:1:05 PM @Jarrett That's a good idea. Adding it to the list.

Joshua Lifton says:1:05 PM We actually have a lot of plans for our project updates features - stay tuned.

Jarrett says:1:05 PM woo

Jordan Bunker says:1:06 PM Thank @Joshua Lifton!!

Joshua Lifton says:1:06 PM Heading out for some lunch. I'll check in again when I get back. Thanks again all!

Jordan Bunker says:1:06 PM errr, Thanks!

Shayna says:1:06 PM Thanks again @Joshua Lifton !