"We are a marketing team with very limited hardware experience."
February 9, 2015 8:56 AM   Subscribe

The Kreyos Meteor Smartwatch has an extremely impressive feature set: Voice and gesture controls. Full integration with iOS, Android, and WP8. Shockproof, waterproof, accelerometer and activity tracker built in. Not a hard product to sell; In fact, it's a marketing person's dream. But after an extremely successful Indiegogo ($100,000 goal, $1.5 million raised) it was time to build the things, and they had no clue how to do it.

"The fact of the matter is when Kreyos launched the product on Indiegogo, All we had was a small marketing team of 4 people including myself and some outsourced providers. [...] In the beginning we did a wonderful job handling the campaign launch, emails, social media and pretty much everything else. After the campaign period we considered our part done."

What followed was a staggering mix of naivety and bad business practices as the company tried to do business with a Chinese manufacturer who, according to them, was cheerfully robbing them blind.

In any case Kreyos spent all of the Indiegogo money (plus a lot of private capital) in just over a year and shut down operations in September of 2014. kreyos.com now points to the open source git repository containing the remains of their half-finished code, the only product to survive the debacle.
posted by Tell Me No Lies (107 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm reminded of this movie.
posted by adamrice at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is a oft ignored problem with tech, particularly in education. Over-promising and under-delivering.
posted by judson at 9:05 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


For somebody claiming marketing expertise, he sure seems to be naive about communicating with his consumer base. Following a public bellyflop with a long, grammatically incorrect rant full of personal diatribes and defensive posturing is not the way to increase confidence in his abilities. It does, however, seem like a good way to get sued.
posted by ga$money at 9:14 AM on February 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


I kind of love this. So this was basically equivalent to asking a room full of 8 year olds to design a really cool game console ("It should have a tap on it that you can get soda from!"), having a Kickstarter, and then getting around to seeing if the product even made sense.
posted by thelonius at 9:17 AM on February 9, 2015 [45 favorites]


I am now a free rider on the crowdfunding bus. Let other people spin the roulette wheel; I will (maybe) gladly purchase your product when it is a real thing and other people have had a chance to take it for a spin. I have been burned more than once with seriously underdelivered projects, things I ended up waiting longer and paying more for than if I had just bought it straight up when it was available, etc. No more. I'm done.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:18 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The manufacturers need to stop being black boxes in these campaigns. There should be a section on crowdfunding campaign creation forms listing specifically which manufacturers are involved and in what capacity. It wouldn't take many failures to start to identify risks.
posted by michaelh at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's like that episode of The Simpsons where Homer got to design his own car.
posted by xingcat at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2015 [41 favorites]


Risks on both sides of the manufacturing transaction, that is.
posted by michaelh at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of a friend who I don't see too often anymore, but whenever we do get together, he's telling me about some idea he has and how it's so great; and to be fair it usually is. He's a sharp dude, but he's a salesman, and he tries to get me on board with some "tech" idea that he has no idea about how to implement. I've stopped trying to explain how difficult it is to simply make something that works, let alone something with a pretty and intuitive user interface that solves a problem in an elegant way. He usually handwaves my arguments away as "details." Say what you want about Zuckerberg and Jobs, at least they had technical expertise (at first at least).
posted by dudemanlives at 9:20 AM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yep, me again, academic who studies crowdfunding who chimes in on these threads. I would say that issues are really common in crowdfunding campaigns (85% of big Kickstarter projects are delayed), but actual failures to deliver at all are surprisingly rare, especially for big projects. They just tend to get the press attention.

Campaigns where founders have experience in the area do much better, as well, both for delivering and for raising their goals.

Indiegogo appears to have a worse track record, however, and I would be very careful about flexible funding projects trying to deliver a goal
posted by blahblahblah at 9:23 AM on February 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


In the beginning we did a wonderful job handling the campaign launch, emails, social media and pretty much everything else. After the campaign period we considered our part done.

I mean, yeah. They did their part. Engineering/manufacturing is just a commodity/cost center/implementation detail, everybody knows vision and market identification is where the real value gets created.

But you win some, you lose some, time for the "lessons learned" posts, retrospective TEDx talks, and making the rounds for the next big venture!
posted by weston at 9:24 AM on February 9, 2015 [70 favorites]


At this point backing any Kickstarter/etc seems utterly pointless to me, as the ones I'm interested in (mostly PC games) get funded to the nine hells in about four seconds. Then I pick up the game on Steam if it turns out good. I have no idea where all this money comes from, but it makes it senseless for me to participate at all.
posted by selfnoise at 9:25 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


That medium message is really poorly written. As CEO, if you don't have the writing skills for something like this, get an editor!
posted by tippiedog at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Our society has got to get better at crushing entrepreneurial spirits.
posted by brennen at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2015 [27 favorites]


I've had great luck with crowdfunding, but i tend to stick to specific kinds of projects: Writing and publishing stuff that the creators clearly have the experience to deliver, games with very clear and manageable goals and a team with a good track record, music and art production, and even small-scale hardware like novelty iPhone cases and so on.

This? This is just crazypants. I feel bad for the people who funded it, and i kind of feel bad for this CEO, but the kind of hardware project he decided to embark on was a bit like a room full of pundits declaring war on a nation. They can talk as big a game as they like, but they'll need an army of hardware, software, and manufacturing experts to make it a reality.

The only exception I'd consider on the "complex hardware" front would be a project led by folks well-known in the maker community, with good, existing prototypes that just needed ramping up to "manufacturability." That would be lots of work, but it would be something more than aspirational hardware fanfiction.
posted by verb at 9:27 AM on February 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


This is a oft ignored problem with tech, particularly in education. Over-promising and under-delivering.

Sniffing out bullshit artists is a huge part of the procurement process at any competent company. My employer gets contacted by companies like Viewcooper all the time. They're like sharks looking for the weakest seal. What's sad is that when naive fish like Steven Yan get taken for a ride, they hurt everyone around them as well.

I've never, ever felt comfortable funding a crowdsourced tech campaign, and it's kind of shitty that crowdsource platforms are making money based on essentially a mass ignorance of what it takes to design and fabricate consumer electronics.
posted by muddgirl at 9:30 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Our society has got to get better at crushing entrepreneurial spirits.

Can we start with people who want to be "life coaches"?
posted by thelonius at 9:32 AM on February 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


It's shocking how naive this guy was. Wow.
posted by GuyZero at 9:34 AM on February 9, 2015


Over-promising and under-delivering

There's a word for that: marketing.
posted by flabdablet at 9:34 AM on February 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


I contributed to the Pebble kickstarter. It was delayed and folks whined, but darn it if they didn't ship the thing and are continuing to provide improvements to it. The next firmware release will have even better Android integration.

So far I've had great luck with kickstarter, but I'm fairly picky about what projects I choose. And I'm cheap.
posted by beowulf573 at 9:34 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


... streamers?
Whose watch is this?!
...streamers it is.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:35 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Technical folks know this as the logical conclusion of that conversation we're constantly having, the sort where someone says "I've got this amazing idea, I'd like to buy you a lunch, have you sign an NDA, and pitch it to you", and then, even if it's actually technically feasible there's a big handwaving gap on user motivation or something else but they keep grinding on "but if I can just get funding that'll work itself out, right?"

The thing that IndieKickGo allows is for them to pitch their idea to other people just like them.

I guess the good news is that it's a great way to cut those sorts of pitches short: "Why don't you try a crowd funding campaigh?"
posted by straw at 9:36 AM on February 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


I have been burned more than once with seriously underdelivered projects, things I ended up waiting longer and paying more for than if I had just bought it straight up when it was available, etc. No more. I'm done.

I backed a product about a year ago that I almost immediately regretted. I don't want to link to the specific campaign, but essentially people cast doubt on it out of the gate. "You have physics to contend with," and "No one makes a battery capable of what you are claiming you'll get," and "You have to have more than one rotor for stability," and "Your weight will have to come down by about 80% for that to even fly!" It was apparent almost right away that this guy was a crazy diamond.

I have been enjoying the project updates. I have been enjoying watching his videos and broken English explanations of how he will overcome each of the obstacles. Some of the videos are pure comedy gold and if I ever see a finished project I will be amazed.

Given this I would still back it.

If you look at projects as a preorder then I supposed you can feel burned. If you look at them as trying to make something cool happen then you never feel burned.

I've helped put on a puppet show in Brighton. I've funded more art books than I can read. I back a lot of losers that don't make it. I back local projects related to music or anything creative. I've funded a lot of software for OSes I don't even use. Why? Because I want these things to exist.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:38 AM on February 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


"The fact of the matter is when Kreyos launched the product on Indiegogo, All we had was a small marketing team of 4 people including myself and some outsourced providers.

Marketeers will be the death of marketing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:38 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, yeah. They did their part. Engineering/manufacturing is just a commodity/cost center/implementation detail, everybody knows vision and market identification is where the real value gets created.

I'm repeating this comment as it is perfect, the combination of ego, hubris and naivety here is just staggering. They did the puffy-cloud/blue-sky bullshit and then were surprised when the actual work didn't just fall into their laps.
posted by Cosine at 9:41 AM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


QUICK SUMMARY OF HOW DID PRO YANG/ VIEWCOOPER DESTROYED KREYOS?

HOW IS BABBY FORMED
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:42 AM on February 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Conspiracy theory time: Steve Tan and Pro Yan are in fact the same person. Tan / Yan has two companies, using one to run a successful Kickstarter, the other to gut it through shady manufacturing shenanigans. He pulls as much money out of the Kickstarter as seems feasible, then publicly trolls himself with allegations of criminal behavior so that he can strip out whatever's left through lawsuits and damages. We may be witnessing the rise of a new criminal master.
posted by ga$money at 9:43 AM on February 9, 2015 [21 favorites]


This reminds me of a friend who I don't see too often anymore, but whenever we do get together, he's telling me about some idea he has and how it's so great; and to be fair it usually is. He's a sharp dude, but he's a salesman, and he tries to get me on board with some "tech" idea that he has no idea about how to implement. I've stopped trying to explain how difficult it is to simply make something that works, let alone something with a pretty and intuitive user interface that solves a problem in an elegant way. He usually handwaves my arguments away as "details." Say what you want about Zuckerberg and Jobs, at least they had technical expertise (at first at least).
Wait a minute, dudemanlives - you're friends with my brother?
posted by mosk at 9:44 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


A friend who has contributed to a number of Kickstarter campaigns has this rule: If the images of the product are all computer-generated, take a pass. There has to be someone holding up some actual thing and saying, "Here's what we've got so far."
posted by clawsoon at 9:47 AM on February 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


You know, in my last comment I called Steve a 'naive fish', and that's certainly true, but I don't think he goes far enough in examining why this project went wrong and where his responsibility lies. His company consistently lied to project backers from the very start. Here's text from the campaign page:
Kreyos has tested, dropped, hit, dunked, tested again – and discovered that the Kreyos Meteor is ready for production. A few of them are in the hands of select media for review, and we’re simply burning to turn on our production line.
That's a complete fabrication, right? He admits that he didn't see a fully functioning prototype of the watch until Dec. 2013.
posted by muddgirl at 9:48 AM on February 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


posted by Tell Me No Lies

Eponysterical!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:49 AM on February 9, 2015


Our society has got to get better at crushing entrepreneurial spirits.

"Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to lead a business in a positive direction by proper planning, to adapt to changing environments and understand their own strengths and weakness." [ref]

I'll take fewer entrepreneurial spirits and more real entrepreneurs, please.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:50 AM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Technical folks know this as the logical conclusion of that conversation we're constantly having, the sort where someone says "I've got this amazing idea, I'd like to buy you a lunch, have you sign an NDA, and pitch it to you", and then, even if it's actually technically feasible there's a big handwaving gap on user motivation or something else but they keep grinding on "but if I can just get funding that'll work itself out, right?"

NDA? I think everybody who can code at some point or another has had a relative or friend or friend-of-a-friend or person-they-barely-know come up to them with an idea that's totally going to make millions and they just need somebody to code it up and they'll give you a percent of the profits, from people who've never heard of NDAs and have absolutely zero intention of buying you lunch. And for whom funding is a thing they don't need to worry about because they have a friend who'll work for equity, right?

Maybe that's just me.

This reminds me less of the people who have an idea with some serious gaps on the road to implementation than the people who are quite sure they're going to make you rich, you just need to code up the next Twitter and it'll be ready to go.
posted by Sequence at 9:50 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe that's just me.

Nah. Whenever I'm bored in a restaurant or a bank I just mention to the person helping me that I develop apps. Everyone has a pitch.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:54 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


So it's this thing? ...built for the 21st century... ...connects by Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android device... ...infinitely customizable... ...minimalist yet fashionable... ...please kindly send us e-mail for further detail product information.

(Reads a bit like those supercar brochures I made when I was a kid.)
posted by effbot at 9:54 AM on February 9, 2015


Oh, man. On second read I found gold.
"Since I very limited technical knowledge as far as consumer electronics would go , we relied on his company to define the specs. After all, Pro made himself to be an expert in this industry. He suggested that we add a Microphone, Speaker and ANT+ connectivity in order for us to differentiate ourselves from the 1st Gen of smart watches that were out in the market at that time. I thought it made perfect sense..."
The entire recap boils down to, "A man I met in China told me I should give him money, and I did, and it turned out badly."
posted by verb at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2015 [33 favorites]


If you look at projects as a preorder then I supposed you can feel burned. If you look at them as trying to make something cool happen then you never feel burned.

I don't give a rat's ass if a particular video game gets made anymore, though. Finito.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2015


If you look at them as trying to make something cool happen then you never feel burned.

This is the exact emotion that grifters exploit.
posted by fatbird at 10:02 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Between these crowdfunding post-mortems and Shark Tank, the armchair CEO in me is just basking in schadenfreude.
posted by Think_Long at 10:02 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also from the writeup:
One day, Pro emailed me and sent me the link to Pebble’s widely successful Kickstarter page. He told me that Pebble is having manufacturing issues and bragged about how they are seeking his ODM company (VIEWCOOPER) in helping resolve the manufacturing issues. He said this is a very easy product to manufacture and Pebble didn’t know anything about manufacturing.
Hey, there's this successful crowdfunding campaign having manufacturing issues and they don't know anything about manufacturing. Let's do that too!
posted by zsazsa at 10:03 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Two things:

a) Medium texts used to be better proofread;
b) Metafilter has been better at laughing its collective ass off at things like this.
posted by nkyad at 10:08 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


What I don’t understand till now is, with the success of Kreyos, and the amount of money we paid him, why didn’t Pro invest in talent or hiring the right people.

What I don't understand is with the succes of Kreyos and the amount of money paid, why didn't Kreyos invest in talent or hiring the right people.

I'm very suspicious of this guy attempting to offload all the blame onto Pro/Viewcooper as a deliberate attempt to scam Kreyos. Pro seems to have done most of the work and accepted equity in exchange for selling the units cheaper, which doesn't make any sense if he was trying to swindle Tan.

I'd love to hear Pro's account of this debacle.
posted by justkevin at 10:11 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


It must suck when you feel compelled to write a lengthy article just to prove you are a complete idiot rather than a criminal.
posted by snofoam at 10:13 AM on February 9, 2015 [52 favorites]


I remember that designer pen from Kickstarter a few years ago that never got the molds returned from their Chinese manufacturer, the result being the market was flooded with much cheaper versions of the product before they had even fulfilled their backer's pledges. The lesson being, if you're going to be off-shoring your manufacturing, then be sure to hire someone you trust who has experience with off-shore manufacturing.
posted by Think_Long at 10:18 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Good to crowdfund: comics books and other printed items, where everything is a known factor and it's just a question of doing the creative work then ordering the thing up.
Dodgy to crowdfund: Software projects, where things may go wrong and long delays may be expected.
Insane to crowdfund: Hardware projects, anything with a novel manufacturing process - just forget it or pour your money down a drain instead.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on February 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


Pro seems to have done most of the work and accepted equity in exchange for selling the units cheaper, which doesn't make any sense if he was trying to swindle Tan.

Unless it was just a way to keep a sucker on the hook.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:21 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The lesson being, if you're going to be off-shoring your manufacturing, then be sure to hire someone you trust who has experience with off-shore manufacturing.

Meet Earl. A year and change behind schedule, and probably outclassed by an a modern tablet and Back Country Navigator.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:22 AM on February 9, 2015


adamrice: I'm reminded of this movie.
... that I now have to watch!
Tell Me No Lies: the company tried to do business with a Chinese manufacturer who, according to them, was cheerfully robbing them blind.
To be fair, if his entire company didn't scream out "mark", they might have attracted something other than bottom feeders.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:25 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a programmer, I've been on the other end of marketing making unrealizable promises, then turning to the engineers with a hearty grin and saying "We know you folks can pull this off, you're geniuses."

I hates them more than tricksy hobbitses.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:28 AM on February 9, 2015 [19 favorites]


if his entire company didn't scream out "mark",

This is a convenient pose for someone trying to deflect liability.
posted by fatbird at 10:28 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good to crowdfund: comics books and other printed items, where everything is a known factor and it's just a question of doing the creative work then ordering the thing up.

Unless you live in Europe and get to pay premium shipping prices for the honour of fund whatever shitty X-Men ripoff somebody is promising this time.

That's my main barrier to fund something; the digital rewards are often shite and physical is too expensive when shipping costs are factored in.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:29 AM on February 9, 2015


His company consistently lied to project backers from the very start.

Yeah, he straight out confesses to lying a little later in the process too:
The update we posted on 16th of May is another thing I want to come clean on., Remember the time when we posted that we were ready to ship, and posted images of the Kreyos loaded in the boxes? Those were not 5000 units. In fact, the picture is of a single pallet as most components didn’t arrive.
Not exactly honest. But good marketing!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:36 AM on February 9, 2015


That medium message is really poorly written. As CEO, if you don't have the writing skills for something like this, get an editor!

I believe he outsourced the writing and editing to a Chinese provider.

After all, he conceptualized this message and provided the inspiration, and after that he can pretty much consider his part done. Beyond that, actually implementing the article is a technical detail.
posted by happyroach at 10:39 AM on February 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


I hesitate to call it a scam, and obviously we have to take the whole account with a huge grain of salt, but the manufacturer looking to expand their marketable capabilities by getting a lot of money up front without even a proof-of-concept is very familiar to me.

I don't think "I was an idiot, your honor" actually deflects liability.
posted by muddgirl at 10:41 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Remember the time when we posted that we were ready to ship, and posted images of the Kreyos loaded in the boxes? Those were not 5000 units. In fact, the picture is of a single pallet as most components didn’t arrive.

I know nothing about our weakass consumer protection laws, but surely this is some sort of legal violation?
posted by Think_Long at 10:46 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have always been satisfied by my crowdfunding investments, and that itself is part of the problem. At some point, we need to get comfortable with the idea that a lot of ideas fail!

Somebody, somewhere has to be willing to take a chance on new ideas. It can't all be reality tv shows and people who are willing to live in group homes in Northern California. It can't all be Google.

"Shine on you crazy diamond" is a tribute. It's a compliment! The world is brighter for the risks they take.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:09 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


The problem is, this wasn't a new idea! This was basically "see this project someone else is doing? I can manufacture you the same thing, only with two more features. Also, the only other product we've made that I've shown you was a cut-rate GoPro that was behind on features and we never mass produced it, so you have no idea if we can mass produce."

The part where the hardware vendor said they could handle multiple mobile OS applications, given some wireframes and documentation of how it should work, with no prior experience, is kind of an amazing sell.
posted by mikeh at 11:14 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


At some point, we need to get comfortable with the idea that a lot of ideas fail!

Well, sure, but that's not how these projects are marketed, because they know by know if they say, "We have this idea. Give us your money and three years, and maybe you'll have something cool, maybe you won't" isn't an attractive pitch.

Furthermore, "I will give you money to support your idea, and maybe it will pan out but maybe it won't" is called investing, and both Kickstarter and indiegogo insist that they're not investment platforms.
posted by muddgirl at 11:20 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would love to know how many people actually are out there regularly backing hardware crowdfunding campaigns. I will almost never buy a piece of consumer electronics that costs more than $100 without doing some fairly intensive research to see whether it's something I actually want. Putting that much in up front based on some rendered mockups? No way- there's so many ways in which even a successful product can be crap, or not worth the money. Almost all consumer electronics are crappy and frustrating in one way or another.

I mean I'm all for throwing money at whacky independent videogame development, or otherwise creative projects related to your hobbies or interests. I just can't imagine paying money for a smartwatch that doesn't even exist yet.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Aw man! I could have been first in to mock the quality of his writing but I held back on the assumption that he was ESL.

Next time I will not be erring on the side of polite withholding, I tell you that!

(he's not ESL right? RIGHT?)

((if so I commend him on his grasp of English, a tough language to be sure, and admit that my own skills in his native tongue are effectively zero, so hooray for multilingualism!))
posted by Cosine at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2015


Insane to crowdfund: Hardware projects, anything with a novel manufacturing process

I've been assured that 3-D printing solves this.
posted by Ratio at 11:24 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


The fact that they originally thought $100K would cover development costs tells me they didn't do their homework. $1.5M won't even get them to production-ready status on a product like this.
posted by rocket88 at 11:24 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


A million people could have told this guy that if you don't act like an absolute ruthless bastard to your cheap labour gang masters, they will rip you off mercilessly all day and all night. It's like The Sopranos. I know a guy who got out of the business because fully one third of his company's stuff arrived from China not working, and he just didn't want to turn into the deranged guy who drives the toughest bargain, in a sea of the toughest guys driving the toughest bargains.

Perhaps they should have built it with US labour? Oh wait.
posted by colie at 11:26 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sure he'll bounce back with a device that translates baby talk into plain English.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:27 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]




colie: I know a guy who got out of the business because fully one third of his company's stuff arrived from China not working, and he just didn't want to turn into the deranged guy who drives the toughest bargain, in a sea of the toughest guys driving the toughest bargains.
I think you're overstating the level of aggression needed to get results, but not the quality-control issues in dealing with overseas vendors with (effectively) no verifiable history - and right now that describes 99% of the Chinese manufacturing plants, unless one is set up to do serious on-the-ground due diligence.

The crowdfunded (is that one word yet?) salt-loaded air gun for killing flies ran months overschedule and overbudget. The inventor had to reject an entire shipment, and then fly to China to personally supervise the next shipment, QAing every one of them himself, before he could ship. He kept us all up-to-date on this as it happened, so I wasn't worried. Sure, it could have all been a story, but once he had our $$, why bother? Harder fraud trail to prove, I guess. Anyway, it wasn't fraud, and I received my Bug aSALT Weapon a few months late.

Mostly it just makes thirsty flies, but it is fun.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:37 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


unless one is set up to do serious on-the-ground due diligence.

Yes, I'm only on anecdata here, but certainly the requirement seemed that you had to be on the ground not only establishing your badass credentials but also partying very hard with the 'street boss' much like many senior business deals.
posted by colie at 12:00 PM on February 9, 2015


I haven't done a ton of crowdfunding but have supported a few Kickstarter projects. One that was really interesting was the Lumio. The designer basically moved to China to oversee production of the initial units and was staying at the factories. His updates on the project were a fascinating read on the process of outsourcing manufacturing.

Currently I am waiting for another project called Framed which are slightly behind schedule as they are working out bugs in the software. Both of these projects have been great to watch grow.
posted by misterpatrick at 12:02 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


My impression is that Pro Yang was supposed to be the guy with local experience and the ability to supervise the manufacturers (or party hard with the street boss or what-have-you), especially after he got equity in the parent company.

This sort of failure-to-deliver does happen with US companies, so bringing the work to the US isn't a guarantee (it's just a lot easier to supervise work when the factory is a couple hours away). A little tip. - if some "General manager" or CEO of a smallish engineering firm brags about working with big companies like Samsung or Boeing, ask for specific references. Sometimes "worked with" means "exchanged business cards at a tech conference."
posted by muddgirl at 12:08 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a oft ignored problem with tech, particularly in education. Over-promising and under-delivering.

Sniffing out bullshit artists is a huge part of the procurement process at any competent company.


Funny, Universities and school boards regularly waste millions of dollars on virtually unusable educational software. The companies that cash in on producing this crap keep getting away with it because... they keep getting away with it. It's like there's no consequences for just marketing an inferior product.
posted by ovvl at 12:10 PM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Halloween Jack: "QUICK SUMMARY OF HOW DID PRO YANG/ VIEWCOOPER DESTROYED KREYOS?

HOW IS BABBY FORMED
"

MY PARY ARE WIHT THE KIKCSTRATER
posted by boo_radley at 12:13 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used to follow a blog (I think it was by Andrew "bunnie" Huang) that went into the nuts and bolts of hardware projects proposed on Kickstarter. It went into things like the current draw of various parts, whether a battery was of sufficient capacity, ability to cram everything into the advertised form factor, etc. Just fascinating. It's driving me crazy that I can't find it again.
posted by exogenous at 12:14 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've backed two hardware projects. Ube (rebranded as Plum thankfully) which is hilariously (about 2 years) late but they've been doing a good job at updating backers and at least making the right noises about what they've found that needs to be changed. I didn't think their delivery dates were anything but a fiction and not being able to turn my bathroom light off from the living room is hardly a time-critical desire so I don't mind. I'm fairly confident I'll get my product eventually.

Earl was even more of a long shot. I knew it was pretty unlikely that I'd get a physical device out of it and it's sure not looking good now. Prototypes do exist (video proof from last month) but yeah who knows if they're going to have enough money left to actually get them built in any real quantity. If Earl never gets produced as described but makes e-ink/solar/rugged devices more available I'll consider it a partial success.

Framed looks cool, when it's shipping for real I might not be able to resist buying it.
posted by Skorgu at 12:14 PM on February 9, 2015


Are you thinking of Drop Kicker, exogenous?
posted by skymt at 12:17 PM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Shine on you crazy diamond" is a tribute. It's a compliment! The world is brighter for the risks they take.

I'm going to get pointlessly Latourian here.

So, people tend to view technological devices like smartwatches as being the product of ideas held by humans. Instead, though, it's best to think of them as a type of collaboration between many different types of entity: individuals having ideas, human institutions that devise standards and protocols, human-created constructs like prices and markets and laws, and (importantly) the material properties of physical objects — things like the capacity that various materials have to, for example, store energy, capacities that can be activated, within limits imposed by the material properties of the object, by humans with hands and laws and institutions and clever ideas.

If one thinks of technological objects as being the product primarily of ideas, rather than the product of a wide range of different actors (or "actants," to use Latour's term) some of them human, some of them non-human, one can have the misconception that ideas are just crapshoots; that it is somehow totally random that this smartwatch didn't work. In this model, ideas are lottery tickets; the way to ensure that we get more technological devices is by coming up with as many ideas as possible, like trying to win the lottery by buying as many tickets as possible.

Instead, the ideas that work are the ones that are compatible with both the material properties of various objects as we understand them and with the various institutions that already exist (capitalist markets, corporations acting within those markets, various laws in various countries, various standards, labor laws in different countries, the material properties of the bodies of laborers, the skills of those laborers, and so on ad infinitum), and the ones that fail are the ones that don't quite figure out how to negotiate all of these constraints.

Saying "shine on you crazy diamond!" to every single crazy diamond out there is a way to generate ideas that are born dead, like lottery tickets bearing numbers that aren't in the draw. Although it would be great if crazy diamonds all had deep insight into the structures of institutions and the physical properties of objects, on the whole most crazy diamonds are instead in denial about some constraint or other imposed by all the other actants who participate in the making of a technological device.

Moreover, treating crazy diamonds as all worthwhile of being told to shine on is a great way to yourself get shined on by a scammer who is denying an aspect of reality not out of naivety, but instead to cynically manipulate you into forking over cash.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:17 PM on February 9, 2015 [32 favorites]


exogenous: "I used to follow a blog ..."

Found it: DropKicker. On preview, yes, thanks skymt.
posted by exogenous at 12:18 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The kickstarter genre has really served to illustrate the disconnect between believers in venture capitalism and everyone else. If you buy into the start-up mindset, this sort of thing is just collateral damage. Fail fast, fail early, fail often, and don't worry about it, because even a horrific failure is a badge of honor, on to a brief sinecure at Google before the next big idea.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:20 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The kickstarter genre has really served to illustrate the disconnect between believers in venture capitalism and everyone else. If you buy into the start-up mindset, this sort of thing is just collateral damage. Fail fast, fail early, fail often, and don't worry about it, because even a horrific failure is a badge of honor, on to a brief sinecure at Google before the next big idea.

I would claim that at least the venture capitalist firms vet for a basic competence to run a company, but unfortunately I know better.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:26 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


A lot of VCs and accelerators basically look for the opposite of competence, preferring instead to invest in young and inexperienced people who are willing to work themselves to the bone for peanuts and a dream. The VCs do this safe in the knowledge that should the idea somehow manage to catch on, they can always step in with their coterie of management pros and turn it into a real business if the founders can't/won't/disagree/etc, because investors can pretty much always force out founders. Most firms, such as YCombinator, are up front about this and their intention to basically play darts with their investments, waiting for the rare Airbnb or Dropbox to cover for their dozens of failures.

I'm not even really sure this is a bad state of affairs, necessarily, but it is definitely not how the average person outside the bubble views things.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:48 PM on February 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


That's also how they develop "boy band" type musical artists. Just throw them up on the wall and see what sticks.
posted by thelonius at 12:59 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Felonious has it:

It's easy to throw out a dozen or a hundred tiny software startups and see what sinks and what swims, it takes a lot longer (and a lot more money) to get a hardware product up to saleable shape.
posted by Oktober at 1:08 PM on February 9, 2015


Conspiracy theory time: Steve Tan and Pro Yan are in fact the same person. Tan / Yan has two companies, using one to run a successful Kickstarter, the other to gut it through shady manufacturing shenanigans. He pulls as much money out of the Kickstarter as seems feasible, then publicly trolls himself with allegations of criminal behavior so that he can strip out whatever's left through lawsuits and damages. We may be witnessing the rise of a new criminal master.

This would be a downright kick ass screenplay. I don't want to steal your idea, but this is pure genius with a great twist if written correctly.
posted by Benway at 1:15 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there such a thing as a crowd-sourced futures or reputation market for Kickstarter/Indiegogo projects? It would be interesting to have an external source that could help to 1) "pre-qualify" certain ventures based on their personnel or release history, or 2) watch over time as some projects gradually (or instantly) go bust as it becomes apparent that the participants are in way over their heads.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 1:35 PM on February 9, 2015


A year and change behind schedule, and probably outclassed by an a modern tablet and Back Country Navigator.

If Earl actually manages to at some point produce what they're claiming, here, I don't think so. I do get a very long battery life out of my Galaxy Note Pro, but not 20 hours, and if I tried using some kind of solar charger that was smaller than a small car it would probably take a week to get a full charge. That, of course, is a big "if", and also my biggest point of questioning if it's really viable, but the e-ink stuff still has a place for exactly that reason.
posted by Sequence at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


BungaDunga: "I will almost never buy a piece of consumer electronics that costs more than $100 without doing some fairly intensive research to see whether it's something I actually want. Putting that much in up front based on some rendered mockups?"

Also, who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a first-gen product unless it's as a status accessory? Like, I know Apple's next product will be pretty cool and all, but I also know that they'll have a LOT more of the bugs worked out in generation 2.

I have had mostly good luck on kickstarter and indiegogo (including the one hardware project I backed, which is a phone backup battery/compact -- not novel hardware, just a new shape -- which shipped a little late but I use ALL THE TIME) but $35ish is my ceiling. I'd have to know a LOT MORE about a company than that they can set up a kickstarter page before I spent $100 or more!

Also reading this Medium narrative -- man, I know jack shit about hardware manufacturing, but even *I* could tell these were suspicious contract terms from the outset. I mean, just from experiencing bidding out asphalt repaving projects in local government, this all screams shady.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2015


Saying "shine on you crazy diamond!" to every single crazy diamond out there is a way to generate ideas that are born dead, like lottery tickets bearing numbers that aren't in the draw. Although it would be great if crazy diamonds all had deep insight into the structures of institutions and the physical properties of objects, on the whole most crazy diamonds are instead in denial about some constraint or other imposed by all the other actants who participate in the making of a technological device.

One can't buy all the lottery tickets or invest in all the penny stocks. But one can choose between institutions: for instance, one can choose a world where Kickstarter exists and one in which crowdfunding is banned by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, just as one can choose a world where hardware Kickstarters have a pre-clearance requirement with manufacturer oversight and one where they do not.

In short: we're not choosing between no crazy diamonds and all crazy diamonds. We're well within the "some crazy diamonds with small pools of money and general phronesis" scenario. The world of material production exists somewhere between lottery tickets and omniscient foresight. Yet a lot of the anti-crowdfunding rhetoric makes it sound like this tremendous resource of crowdfunded goodwill and hopefulness is no better than the tithing or buying a scratch-off, which it's clearly not.

PS- In my experience, people who quote Bruno Latour are more crazy diamond than not, though I commend this essay to all. Should I write you off, or take a chance?
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:50 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


They should have named their smartwatch "ArkB"
posted by tigrrrlily at 2:45 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I spent three years of my life managing contract and design manufacturers for my own startup (acquired in 2013), which produced a wall-mounted, ruggedized Android tablet to replace the electronic time clocks in use in places like grocery stores. I spent several months investigating manufacturing in China before giving up and selecting a firm in Canada. Even with a contract manufacturer that was only a 90m away by car, I wanted to tear out my little-remaining hair on almost a daily basis. If you don't have millions of dollars, it is ridiculously difficult to bring a hardware product to market.

There are thousands of Chinese firms that claim to provide turnkey design & manufacturing services for phones and tablets. In reality, there are only a few actual manufacturers, and most of them aren't interested in working on anything that sells less than tens of thousands of units. At one point, I worked my way through a list of 60+ Android tablet "manufacturers" while searching for a potential partner. I purchased dozens of sample tablet units, many of which were dead on arrival. The working units were almost all garbage. Out of that list of 60-some suppliers, there was only one that offered a quality product and reasonable business practices. It took an entire year to get from initial contact to receiving a shipment of parts.

Meanwhile, due to incredibly difficult with our partner in Canada, I spun up a second contract manufacturer for our mechanical parts and wiring harnesses in Indiana. It has taken 18 months to get our first shipment of product from them. That's for a relatively simple bent aluminum box, a milled aluminum case, and basic assembly/test/packaging/fulfillment.

It cost my company >$1M to bring our product, which was built around off-the-shelf components, to market. We didn't have any custom electronics beyond a fairly simple wiring harness. Due to the nature of the product, we didn't have to go through any costly emissions (FCC) or safety (UL/CE) certification.

People radically underestimate the difficulty of designing and building hardware products. The initial funding goal of $100k for Kreyos is completely ridiculous to anyone who has any experience in the manufacturing world. The $1.5M that they raised might have been enough to get a decent prototype done by an extremely careful, competent team with brilliant engineers directly on staff, but I wouldn't bet on it. While all of that super fun manufacturing stuff is happening, you've also got to build complex software, market the product, figure out how to distribute it, etc...

Tan's apologia on Medium is incredibly embarrassing. Incompetence and gullibility are not an excuse for malfeasance.
posted by drklahn at 2:46 PM on February 9, 2015 [40 favorites]


There are a few hardware crowdfunded success, but they are very rare and should certainly be treated with caution.

The obvious big success is Oculus, but
(a) They already had a working prototype when they launched the campaign
(b) They had a good team of people who had worked on such things for a while
(c) They promised a non-consumer-friendly dev kit, not a polished consumer product

Which they actually delivered, only a few months late. And its virtually (heh) certain that will eventually be a real product after the FB acquisition. I have a DK2 and its already a pretty fun toy as it is.

But mostly you either see big failures or small successes (some of the hardware is much less ambitious and thus more plausible, Oculus was the rare example of both successful and ambitious --- but again, the whole "we're just shipping a dev kit to people who are willing to invest a ton of time messing around with this" angle was some good expectations management).
posted by thefoxgod at 3:02 PM on February 9, 2015


PS- In my experience, people who quote Bruno Latour are more crazy diamond than not, though I commend this essay to all. Should I write you off, or take a chance?

I am, I assure you, completely mad.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:33 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I Kickstarted the Pebble smart watch and although it was very late, the device itself exceeded my expectations and I'm still super happy with it after over a year of ownership and regular use.

BTW I was wrong before about the creator of Drop Kicker - it seems to be ch00f of ch00ftech. I had my Shenzhen-prowling engineer-type bloggers confused.
posted by exogenous at 3:43 PM on February 9, 2015


I've actually had a 100% success rate on all my hardware kickstarters so far - 5 of them. One had a brutal SDK for a wearable platform which isn't a failure per se, just a disappointment. My Noke BLE padlock hasn't shipped yet but I saw their booth at CES so I think they're on track. I think it's a question of not backing projects that are clearly out of touch with reality.
posted by GuyZero at 5:15 PM on February 9, 2015


How many times did he make a horrible decision because 'costs were lower'?
posted by bq at 5:45 PM on February 9, 2015


not backing projects that are clearly out of touch with reality

Please don't discourage the entrepeneurs.
posted by thelonius at 5:48 PM on February 9, 2015


Please don't discourage the entrepeneurs.

As much as such a thing is a three-legged dog, I actually have a literal university degree in entrepreneurship. Being an idiot and ignoring reality is actually not a sign of a successful entrepreneur. As much as the mythology might say otherwise. Ignoring convention or what everyone else is doing is one thing. Ignoring reality never ends well.

Not to mention the product in the OP was a real me-too product from the get-go. Which is as much an indicator of failure as anything. Like the Pebble guys never thought of simply making a better product in the first place?
posted by GuyZero at 5:58 PM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


This made me curious. I have backed several hardware projects over the years and I had it in my head I was more successful than not. Talk about rosy look-back.

The big success was the Pebble. I had some moment of optimism/generosity when I pledged and got the 2-pebbles deal, thinking I'd give one to a friend. When the delivery time rolled around my finances were tighter so I put the second one on ebay. Interest was so high then it ended up going for the amount of my whole bid. Woo, free Pebble, basically (minus the investment value of that money) which was good since I discovered "oh hey, I really don't like wearing a watch anymore." Nice to know this before the big Apple expensive toy coming down the pike soon.

The big loser was probably the ZoPro charging case. That's probably my only financial loss beyond a "eh" amount, but probably a worthy lesson - don't back something that's going to take so long to come around that the device will be 50% of the way to replacement (and likely form factor change) by the time it shows up. Which wouldn't have been so bad if they'd ever delivered.

Second biggest loser was the Mutator, which is a shame because it was a very clever idea and should have been doable. Seems like the creator just fucked off into oblivion. A lot more palatable at $13 than the ZoPro was.

The only other physical item I can really say I backed was the LunaTik stylus pen. Which actually turned out nice, but again - I discovered I wanted a stylus less than I thought I did. No fault of theirs, of course, but so far I have gotten exactly zero hardware kickstartered items I really got any use out of.

We'll see if the only other one I have backed - the Ditto - turns out to be of use and if it ships on time. I'm optimistic about the ship since it's pretty well proven tech. Whether it'll be all that useful we'll see.
posted by phearlez at 6:59 PM on February 9, 2015


Hang on. Who is this Steve Tan guy anyways? What is his background? What did he do before launching this Indiegogo campaign? His Linkedin page is barren (probably wise considering the kind of heat he's brought down on himself). I'm going to assume his Facebook is locked down now after the Ferrari photo incident. The "About" page for the Kreyos campaign is utterly uninformative; the references to working for HP, Microsoft, etc... seem to be meant to apply to Viewcooper (if at all) and not Steve Tan. In the article he claims to have invested $375K (!) of his own money in this doomed project (as well as raising $750K from friends and family). Also, early articles about the campaign (like this one from 2013) point to a weird caginess about exactly who was running the show.
posted by mhum at 7:41 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


After reading your rundown, phearlez, I thought I'd take a look at the hardware projects I've backed to see about the success rate. (WARNING: If you've been backing projects for a long time, that is a sobering experience.)
  • The Glif iPhone tripod mount served me well and was part of my standard travel kit, along with a mini-tripod, until I upgraded to a phone that it didn't fit.
  • The Olloclip iPhone lens mount went through the same cycle—I used it a lot and loved it until I upgraded to a phone that it didn't fit.
  • The Cosmonaut stylus was my go-to stylus until FiftyThree's Pencil stylus came out.
  • The blink(1) USB LED was a gift for a nerdy relative, and he now uses it for various DIY-ish indicators on his Mac while developing.
  • The Public Lab DIY spectrometer kit was pretty successful, and is part of Public Labs' plan to create an IMDB-like public database of spectrometer readings for various materials. "Shazam for stuff."
  • The Simple Syrup Kit is now a fixture in my basement bar. Yum.
  • Circuit Scribe circuit-drawing pen was turned into another gift for that maker-oriented relative, and he's enjoyed doodling little (working) circuits on greeting cards and notes. Nerd. nerdnerd.
  • The Makey Makey input kit was turned into yet another of those gifts, and he's used it to cobble together makeshift inputs for a number of his in-progress arduino experiments.
  • The Readycase was my favorite phone case ever, until I eventually upgraded to another phone. It had some manufacturing hitches that delayed it, but was a quality product.
I've had a few misses — projects that tanked entirely or failed to deliver what they promised — but curiously enough, none of them were hardware related and they made up a small percentage of my backing history. All of those were software projects by small, inexperienced teams whose dreams were bigger than their budgets and folded before they could finish.

The common threads with the successful hardware projects I've backed seem to be:
  1. None require cutting-edge technology. The Glif, Olloclip, and ReadyCase were injection-molded and/or machined, and matched their initial prototypes. The Simple Syrup kit is a nicely packaged glass bottle with proportions for various types of Simple Syrup inscribed on the side. The Cosmonaut was delayed for several months based on last-minute changes to the material, because the designers weren't satisfied with the balance of the first run, but that's vanilla manufacturing stuff that is bound to happen. They weren't pleased with having to change things, but they seemed to take it in stride.
  2. Many were meant for "makers" rather than fashionable consumers. The blink(1) LED, the Makey input kit, and the Circuit Scribe were all packaged versions of stuff that the creators had been banging out one-offs of for a while.
  3. All were made by experienced teams with a trackable history of interesting projects, involvement in public maker spaces, etc. The DIY Spectrometer Kit in particular stands out: the Public Labs team has also worked with the Knight Foundation and other groups on its various projects, and had a good reputation going into the Kickstarter.
I generally shy away from anything that requires complex embedded software or firmware, high-efficiency batteries, or other stuff that large companies employ large teams to research and/or design, not just manufacture. I also look carefully at the kinds of stretch goals that projects promise. Will delivering on each stretch goals eat all of the additional money from the higher pledges? If so, I assume they haven't done their due diligence. And, based on past experience, I shy away from projects whose results will only work with one model of phone. Cool as they can be, it's frustrating to upgrade—because most of them will never be retooled for new phone models, and if I really like a particular case or gadget I'll just end up missing it after I upgrade.

And finally, if a kickstarter's promotional materials use any buzzwords like "revolutionary," "world-changing," "green," and so on, there had better be a parade of working prototypes, a track record, and a compelling explanation for why the same thing hasn't been done elsewhere. If the kickstarter for a hardware or software product boils down to, "The same thing some giant company does, but small-batch!" I hide my money and back away slowly.

I've also backed quite a few tabletop RPGs, board games, and card games. The marker of success almost always seems to be that smart project creators are ambitious in what they directly control and extremely conservative about what is out of their hands. They focus on game mechanics and so on, and fight for the best possible print production but don't make promises about "deluxe quality" or what not.

That "conservative about what you can't control" part really seems to be the downfall of the Kreyos team. They controlled literally nothing about the product they imagined, promoted, and collected money for.
posted by verb at 7:53 PM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I made an editorial choice to leave out the "possible scam" aspect of Kreyos as nobody has come forward with the smallest shred of evidence. Pretty much any time a large sum of money gets lost a conspiracy theory gets trotted out. Hell, that's Tan's story: a master criminal cleverly swindled us out of everything.

If he is running a scam -- if he truly thought it necessary to paint himself as incompetent fool for the internet at large -- then I salute him on his skill.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:02 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


And also, now that I'm rambling, I thought I'd mention my favorite Kickstarter project ever. PostHuman studios crowdfunded the production of a player guide for their already-successful RPG sourcebook. Their stretch goals unlocked bonuses like, "Pay increase for freelance writers, artists, and editors working on the project" and "A large batch of ISBNs so future projects have lower overhead."

Those are not sexy goals, but they spoke volumes about the experience and priorities of the team that would be executing once the campaign ended.
posted by verb at 8:11 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


verb - I'll do your relative a solid and tell you about Tindie. Now you likely have a gift for every occasion for this person till their death. Including groundhog's and arbor day. The folks there in their discussion boards sometimes talk about the plusses and minuses of crowdfunding.
posted by phearlez at 8:11 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh god

my weekend

it just vanished
posted by verb at 8:12 PM on February 9, 2015


Was Tindie the site that got started when Etsy was being crummy about electronics?
posted by weston at 10:08 PM on February 9, 2015


Saying "shine on you crazy diamond!" to every single crazy diamond out there is a way to generate ideas that are born dead

It's just an r strategy; you seem to favor k strategies.
posted by Jpfed at 6:58 AM on February 10, 2015


If you look at them as trying to make something cool happen then you never feel burned.
This is the exact emotion that grifters exploit.


I don't think there's such a thing as a positive, happy attitude that grifters don't exploit.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Advice for Early-Stage Hardware Startups

Interesting counterpoint to what happened to Kreyos.

"If you’re making less than 1,000 units and they are not nuclear reactors, ask yourself if it’s worth your time."
posted by GuyZero at 7:01 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I reviewed the projects I backed after reading through the links. Turns out, one of the projects I backed turned out not to be a custom designed pen but a cheap Chinese pen that can be bought by anyone if you buy in bulk.

Not a total loss, I do have the pen and it hasn't fallen apart like other have reported, but it's not what the Kickstarter project claimed it was.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:07 PM on February 16, 2015


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