“In 2013 3 million people pledged $480 million to Kickstarter projects” - Via Kickstarter
Reading that quote made me realize that I have also backed quite a few Kickstarter projects. The first project in my Kickstarter backer history is CineSkates. I thought it was a really cool idea and a cheap way to do rolling video. The project was funded successfully and also shipped on time.
While my first experience with Kickstarter was a good one it took me a year before I backed my next Kickstarter project. Pebble caught my eye one morning when I was reading my regular blogs and I was immediately sold on it. I hadn’t worn a watch in years but this one was exactly what I wanted on my wrist. The project release slipped quite a few times and lots of people thought it was vapor-ware but they proved everyone wrong. Pebble is now a full grown product available at multiple outlets and they just announced Pebble Steel. As a backer I actually felt proud when I saw their CES announcement this week and I immediately ordered a Pebble Steel Matte Black.
Next in my Kickstarter backer history are Hand Stylus, pen-like stylus featuring the world’s smallest (4mm) retracting, rotating, replaceable tip and Chameleon, a better home screen for your Android Tablet. In all honesty… I’ve only used them for a while but it was still cool to see it come to life.
Ouya was another well publicized Kickstarter project. Just about every single tech blog wrote about it and for good reason. Ouya promised to disrupt the gaming console market but it has failed to do so. While there are a bunch of really cool games available on Ouya it still doesn’t have that one title that would make you want to get one.
Mobi-Lens was another cool project. Mobi-Lens is a “one size fits all, universal device made to fit any phones, tablets, and laptops to enhance your mobile photography.”. The idea was really simple. They put a wide angle/macro lens and a fisheye lens in 2 clips that you just clip on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
So far my experiences with Kickstarter were all positive. The project owners were all communicating and while some releases slipped they all ended up in backer’s hands. All positive… until Instacube.
I still like the idea behind Instacube. A nice looking photo frame that displays photos from your social streams. I liked it so much that I backed the project for 3 of them. I thought it would be great to see the photos from my friends at home and in the office. The third one was going to be a gift for someone. While the project was successfully funded on Sep 21 2012 backers are still waiting for their Instacubes. Working in the tech industry I know that releases can slip but Instacube is now close to being 1 year behind schedule. That’s not even the worst part about it though. The problem is the lack of communication from the project owner and when they do communicate it’s also often contradicting something they said earlier. So here’s my number 1 lesson for new Kickstarter projects: communicate! You cannot over-communicate when you take people’s money! I’m not sure if we’ll ever see our Instacubes. I guess that’s the risk of investing.
When I first saw Lace Anchors I thought it was a clever idea. I really hate tying shoelaces and Lace Anchors solves that problem. It was also the first project I backed in 2013 almost immediately followed by Mini Micro SD Reader and Everly.
Dash Wallet 2.0 was a solution for another one of those things that really bugged me: my bulky wallet. I found their version 1 wallet a few months before they launched this Kickstarter and backing this was a no-brainer.
The Buccaneer is probably the one project I look forward to getting my hands on the most. The Buccaneer is an affordable and easy-to-use 3D printer. The combination of easy-to-use software and nice looking hardware was what got me interested in it. It’s supposed to ship next month… Fingers crossed.
Have you ever wondered why a certain USB charger or port fails to charge your device? It’s probably because it’s not providing enough power. With The Practical Meter you can see whether or not your device is getting enough power from a USB charger or port.
MagCozy is one of those ideas that really solves an annoying problem: losing your MagSafe adapter (thank you again, Apple for changing your MagSafe ports).
Ivee Sleek was one of the projects I was really looking forward to but they recently took a turn that really left a bad taste. Instead of shipping their first units to backers they opted to ship them to Staples instead making a bunch of backers really unhappy. They also said that Ivee would now ship with one of the features they promised as a stretch goal. I still think Ivee is a cool idea and I would love to get my hands on it. The last communications from the project owner have been contradicting though and I’m not sure when we’ll see them. The original ship date was October 2013. The last date backers got was January 10th but it now seems that they are still on a boat from China. Fingers crossed.
Pressy was another well publicized and well funded project. Again such a simple idea: Add a physical button to the headphone plug on your Android phone and use it to perform common tasks. Should be shipping in March.
Nota is another stylus with an “ultrafine” tip. When I backed the project there were no others like it on the market or even announced but that’s a different story today. Still looking forward to give it a shot but I think they may be too late to the market. Supposedly shipping this month.
Zendure is probably the fastest shipping product I backed on Kickstarter. The project was funded in October and I received mine in December. Zendure found out that it’s not really easy to ship to different countries (as did Pebble). There are so many variables to take into account (eg. weather, different shipping companies, customs, …).
Besides fooling around with code and gadgets I also enjoy photography and my two most recent Kickstarters pledges will help me with that. Michron is an easy-to-use app and hardware “dongle” to do timelapse photography. I’ll have to wait until March to take this out for some shooting but it promises to make this a lot easier. Air Strap is a lightweight, breathable camera strap from the makers of the ProDot. There’s still time to back this one but you have to be fast.
So far I’ve only pledged 2 projects that failed to raise enough money and all in all my Kickstarter experience has been a pleasant one. So far I’ve backed about $1900 worth of projects with the highest pledge being $397 (for The Buccaneer). I plan on continuing to back interesting projects so if you find something cool do let me know. I’d also love to hear your Kickstarter stories!