Anatomy of a successful Kickstarter
Jeremy Williams is the San Francisco based engineer / hacker / programmer / maker / video game enthusiast behind the Game Frame, a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art and old-school video game graphics.
Earlier this year Jeremy raised over $154,000 on Kickstarter for the Game Frame – an amazing sum considering the project’s original $15,000 goal.
7 months later – With the last of the Kickstarter rewards fulfilled, we sat down with Jeremy to get some insight into what led to his amazingly successful campaign.
Here’s a look at what has happened before and after the campaign was funded, along with some important lessons—both good and bad—that crowdfunding hopefuls can learn from Jeremy’s success story.
We have a part time Customer Success Manager role (developing into a full time role) for a maker / designer / hacker to support our customers to make their custom products online. And to help us change the world.
* You believe what we believe – that consumers of the future will download and make products at home (kinda like ‘digital Ikea’).
* You value what we value.
* You have a deep desire to help others make their own custom products. This will make it easy for you to smile, persevere and shine through the ups and downs our customer’s experience on their personal creative journeys, and the ups and downs we experience on ours.
* You are:
- A designer / maker / hacker. With the empathy and communication skills of a teacher.
- An expert in these design software apps, plus Meshlab and Netfabb.
- Experienced with laser cutters and 3D printers (both desktop and pro), with a practical understanding of the properties of these materials.
- A natural at online communication, familiar with Zendesk, Twitter and Facebook to reactively support customers online.
- Someone who works harmoniously with your team members to delight customers.
- Cool under extreme pressure, and radiate this with customers and your team members.
- A happy soul, empathetic, with an ‘excited’ online voice.
- Proactive. Detailed. Process driven. All three.
- Someone who likes to lead, and you enjoy working independently.
- Effective at multi tasking and prioritizing the daily rush of tasks that come in a startup.
- Someone who understands you get out of life what you put into it. And to change the world this means stepping forward and grabbing at responsibility.
ABOUT THE ROLE
You’ll be our voice to the world. You’ll be our customer’s voice to our team. You’ll support our customers to make their custom products online.
Your typical day includes:
* Achieving 2 key goals – quality and speed of service. Both measured and reported weekly.
* Responding to inbound chat, email and social media questions relating to customer orders, product design file preparation, materials selection, pricing and our service generally.
* Liaising with our production team to ensure on-time delivery of quality custom products.
* Delighting our customers with the unexpected, and putting a smile on their faces, particularly when all seemed lost.
* Attending 2 weekly meetings – one full team discussion about company and individual results, plus one support and production teams discussion about customer experience.
* Identifying problems with and improving our workflows to delight customers.
* As a bonus, creating or editing online help content for customers to help themselves.
* Freedom and independence to run your own ship.
* Feeling that your work day means something and makes a difference.
* Market salary.
* Unlimited paid time off.
* Employee rates on laser cutting your own stuff.
Dreamed up in 2006, Ponoko believes consumers of the future will download and make products at home (kinda like ‘digital Ikea’).
We foresaw the third industrial revolution (distributed digital mass production) growing out of the first and second industrial revolutions (centralised analog mass production).
Hence in 2007 Ponoko launched at the first TechCrunch conference and became the world’s first to enable designers to both make and sell their products online.
Since then a community of 125,000 makers, designers, hackers, brands and businesses have made over 400,000 custom products online. And they’ve sold them via our website, their websites, ETSY, Kickstarter, design events, and to main street retailers.
With free digital prototyping to get a design just right, no minimum order size to get started, and on-demand production available within 1 day to eliminate investment in stock, we’ve make it 10x faster than ever before for designers to prototype, make and sell their custom product ideas online.
Recognised as a pioneering leader of the online digital making industry, we have been featured in places like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN Money, Inc. Magazine (cover), Forbes, Wired, Core77, TechCrunch, Makezine, MIT Technology Review, BBC News and The Economist.
Your appointment will enable us to continue to support our existing customers, and to hatch a new 3D printing initiative to transform our industry again.
Send an email to derek-at-ponoko-dot-com to introduce yourself, send your resume, and your answers to these 3 questions:
1) Why do you want this role?
2) What gaps might exist between what we need and what you have?
3) Why are you the best person for this role?
We’re looking forward to meeting you
Brad Hill is the creator behind LittleRP – A DLP projector-based resin printer that can be put together for as little as $499.
Brad set out to create a printer that was open, flexible and affordable. Rather than using proprietary resins, the LittleRP is designed to use as many different formulations of UV curing resins as possible. By focusing on smaller, higher quality prints, the LittleRP is able to provide high accuracy while keeping costs low.
The flexibility and low cost helps explain the explosive popularity of the LittleRP’s Kickstarter, which passed it’s funding goal of $25,000 is under 24 hours. As of this writing the LittleRP has raised over $98,000, just under 400% of it’s original goal!
The LittleRP works using a process known as 3D stereolithography, a 3D printing process that uses light-sensitive resin and a high intensity light source to build a 3D object, layer by layer, rather than using spools of plastic filament as on a majority of 3D printers currently on the market. You can check out the LittleRP in action on it’s Kickstarter Video:
Want to get your hands on your own LittleRP? Head over to Brad’s Kickstarter page to get one while you still can.
Inspired to make your own project? Signup to make and sell for free!
Surplus store discovery inspires DIY mechanical marvel
Rope braiding machines are mesmerising to watch as they go through their mysterious machinations. Having spotted such a machine in a Surplus store, David from Mixed Media Engineering reverse-engineered the 1890’s product so that he could nut out exactly how the device works.
The result is a 16-bobbin laser cut wonder, with orbiting spools that guide the individual threads into an intricately woven mesh.
“I have been experimenting with some exotics such as carbon fiber yarns (rocket fusalage) embroidery thread for great braclets, surgical tube core with nylon shieth for pressure tubing, and para-cord nylon.”
There has been such a great response to the project that plans are in the works to turn it into a DIY kit on Kickstarter for others to enjoy. To catch a glimpse of those cogs in action, check out the brief clip of David introducing the rope braider at the source article.
via Hack a Day
The Kyub offers a six-sided twist on the usual 2D keyboard
Meet the Kyub, a compact, fully programmable MIDI interface that provides a new way to compose, record and perform music.
The Kyub features 11 fully programmable feather-touch keypads that connect to any computer or synthesizer via USB. Inside, an accelerometer tracks the movement of the Kyub to control the volume of the notes played.
These features make the interface really responsive, however the truly amazing thing is the way the Kyub is played. Check out the Kickstarter video below to see the Kyub in action:
The Kyub is designed as a kit that can be assembled at home by just about anyone, using laser cut parts from Ponoko.
If you’re short on soldering skills, you can back the Kyub and get a fully assembled unit as a reward. The Kyub is made to be as open and maker-friendly as possible, any computer-based synthesizer can be used to work with the Kyub.
If all this has got you excited for some cubed-out synth action, head over to the Kyub Kickstarter page to support the project and help make the Kyub a reality.
Dinosaur costume roams the streets
Meet Felix. As you can tell from his gentle gaze, Felix is a friendly dinosaur and he loves to head out for a leisurely stroll.
Originally conceived (and worn) by Lisa Glover while exploring Industrial Origami as a part of her university studies, this jaw-dropping laser cut cardboard costume deservedly won her first place at a Halloween costume party in 2013.
The response to her 15 foot long wearable creation was so overwhelmingly positive that Lisa decided she had no option but to share it around. So she set out to re-engineer the jurassic costume into a form that is more manageable, and which is now the focus of a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Eager, cashed-up backers can get their legs into a giant velociraptor suit of their own, but for the rest of us there are some neat smaller rewards on offer.
Ponoko + Kickstarter = Designer’s Dream
We covered this briefly before, but it’s going bananas! So we thought it was a good idea to introduce how designers are using Ponoko and Kickstarter to make and sell their products.
Jeremy Williams is a San Francisco based engineer and video game enthusiast with a passion for pixel art. His latest project, the Game Frame, is a fully-programmable grid of LEDs designed to make it easy to display animated pixel art anywhere. Jeremy’s product on Kickstarter just passed $100,000, and is trending to hit over $150,000 before closing.
The Game Frame was initially just a fun personal project – Jeremy loves 8-bit pixel art and wanted to find a way to display it on his walls – but after his prototype was demonstrated for Tested in June, the positive feedback inspired him to see if he could turn the Game Frame into a real product.
Using laser cut parts from Ponoko, Jeremy went through several iterations to refine his design. After months of prototyping, and multiple prototypes, Jeremy arrived at a Game Frame that was sleeker looking, cheaper to build, and easier to use.
With a new Game Frame in hand Jeremy set out to test the market viability of his new product. There’s many ways to do this, like setting up a website, an ETSY store, or selling at a local event. But he decided to use Kickstarter to put his product directly in front of potential customers to gauge interest in the Game Frame, and to gain pre-orders to fund his first production run.
The enthusiasm was overwhelming. Within 4.5 hours the Game Frame had met it’s initial goal of $15,000. Within a week, he had over $50,000 in backing. As at press time, Jeremy has already sold 448 Game Frames = $107,123 and counting!
Now comes the fun part: Jeremy will spend the coming months fulfilling the orders for his Kickstarter backers, wiring the PCBs, soldering LEDs, & assembling laser cut frames using his Personal Factory at Ponoko. The first orders are scheduled to ship in June.
Jeremy’s story is an inspiring example of how you can take a cool idea, make it real at low cost with Ponoko, and discover a whole market you never knew you had.
We’ll be following this and letting you know more about how to use Ponoko and Kickstarter as the story unfolds.
If you’re interested in starting your own product line too, you can signup for free here to make and sell your own products.