Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Underachievers for the week of 8/14/2013

I've seen hundreds of Kickstarter projects, some successful, others not so much.  Kickstarter projects are often very personal projects by their creators that it hurts to see them not succeeding.  Kickstarter projects fail for a variety of reasons, from poor publicity, bad layout, lack of information, or the project is just plan not ready.   Lets take a look at a few of these projects and see why they're a part of the Underachievers.

As always these listings are in descending chronological order, from first to finish to last.

Solalounge - Solar Powered Misting Lounge Chair
I grew up just down the road from Las Vegas and I still live in the desert so the idea of a misting lounge chair is kind of nice. It's solar powered that's cool, the back is powered to?  Well I guess that's nice if you've got power there already... it's metal okay....  $2800 for a single chair?!?!  I'm sorry but I have no clue how a chair, a deck chair no less, can cost $2800 for a single chair!  I can mist my whole patio for under $100 and then buy two nice lounge chairs for that.  
So maybe this is a premium product and they full break down the budget and costs as to why they need $50,000? Of course they don't.  Oh and on top of that their video sounds like they're at the bottom of a well and there's absolutely no testimonials from even the wives, let alone the hundreds of folks they could put into it and get their reactions.  Honestly they seem to have put a lot of time, effort, and thought into their product, and like zero into their sales pitch and presentation.  
Now I could really dump on Leonardo here but I think many of his problems probably stem from the fact that he's probably not a native English speaker.  I bet if I tried to use my broken Spanish to make a Kickstarter for Mexico they'd laugh at my results too.  Which brings up a key issue, Kickstarter is an English language site and as such you should really get a native English speaker to review your project.  (I've seen a few Eastern European groups do this) This also allows you to get whomever is your "English faceman" to also handle the money since you need an American or UK presence to post on Kickstarter. 
A quick hit list of fixes for this project:  
  • Don't make a slideshow video with no voices.  If I want to read about your project let me read about it in the main post.
  • Make it personable, I don't know who is running this project or why. 
  • Get some words from the artist if you're not doing the art. 
  • Don't use famous works of art if they're not going to be in the book. 
  • BUDGET BREAKDOWN.  Saying it includes stuff and that you've "calculated it accurately" and just list the final total doesn't cut it anymore. 
  • Cost per unit for backers?  It looks like you can't get a physical copy of the book and at 100 you get a signed eBook? 

Symphony - Modular Automated Grow Systems

I'm not sure why, but I like seeing new hydroponic/aeroponic grow systems.  I think the whole blending of technology with something as basic as growing stuff, plus you know space based applications.  So when I see something that to my non-grower eyes is a good system not doing well I get curious.  The system seems to do everything you'd want it to do (like I know) and it all looks very well laid out and clean.  

Besides no budget breakdown (I am such a broken record) I think the reason this campaign is an underachiever is that they haven't reached their target audience.  Unfortunately I have no way of  seeing what their outreach to the hydroponic/aeroponic growing community looks like so who knows what's going on there.  I also have no clue how this compares to current equipment so again this one of those projects that I think is laid out well but without more knowledge of the topic I can only make general observations.  

Let me start off by saying Casey Clark comes across as a great guy to game with.  That jolly guy on the other side of the table with funny stories and tips as you fight whatever game you're playing. Which to mean means the video did half its job because now I like the creator, but it didn't do the other half which is making me like the product.  

Going deeper into the project page I am happy to report there IS a budget breakdown, at least as percentages which is more than I get from other projects.  The problem I see is that discussion of actual gameplay and such seems to be off site or in updates and not on the main page.  The main page description is extremely lacking I have no clue why I even need cards and why I couldn't play this game with just my dice.  I think those who are interested are investigating enough to find out why they should be interested, but I think the current campaign page is holding this project back.  Plus your main picture shouldn't be a giant yellow blob (I know it's a planet from the back of the cards) it should be interesting.  

Okay I'm listing this project if for no other reason than Ms. Kale got me to look up the word "somnolence."  Seriously though this is an odd listing to me because it seems to rely on the fact that the viewer must obviously know who Kathy Kale is or the book "All Fall Down."  There's barely a description of the book, no description of the author, no real project here.  This falls into the "please give me money" style of listings where there seems to be little to no effort in listing the project or even an attempt to make us want to support the project.  I hate listings like this because they're insulting to the creators and the backers.  The backers because I've seen panhandlers who work harder to get money, and the creators because they often have a lot of passion for their work and could be very talented but their lack of sales ability or research skills makes their work look horrible or non existent.  Kickstarter projects can and must do better. 

Speaking of "no effort" project listings, this one doesn't even bother with a video, which is extremely sad as the project is about making videos!  This project does pretty much everything wrong, but here are just a few quick things: 

  • No budget breakdown.  Seriously you need $7,000 for a Youtube channel? What is the money for? 
  • No video.  When you say you want to make videos you have no video to pitch me the idea? 
  • No proof of concept.  Anyone can say random things about video games and "nerd culture" if you want me to support you making videos doing it you might want to share what you want to say. 
  • "Unbiased?"  Seriously don't lie to me.  NO ONE is unbiased, NO ONE so why even have that up there?  (Personal Pet Peeve) 
  • Proof of past experience.  What have you done that proves you can do this?  You know, post some videos or at least a friggin blog about the topic at hand.  
Again this is one of the most egregious "give me money" posts I've seen in awhile.  I think I'm taking it a little personally since I'm into gaming and "nerd" culture, but still this listing is bad even without that. 

KEEO – World's First Keyholder with App for iPhone & Android
Behold, the most technologically advanced keychain ever invented!  No seriously watch the video and see what happens when you engineer something far beyond reason.  Don't get me wrong, this is probably a really cool idea but it seems like a solution in need of a problem.  Now if they figured out a way of getting car keys into some little hidey hole hands free kind of system maybe I'd care, but for regular keys is this really an issue?  Plus I've seen "find my key" systems since I was like in 3rd grade (remember those whistle reacting keyrings?) but this is the first one I've seen that requires probably a $100 device to use.  

Oh, and of course there's no budget breakdown so no clue why they need almost $200,000 or what they're doing with it beyond manufacturing their $116 keyrings.  Plus, $116 for a Keyring! O.O! 

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