I've been following Kickstarter with interest since its inception in 2009. There is a great appeal to the idea that an entrepreneur could grow an idea by taking their product to market via alternative means to the usual investment avenues. Moreover, the early adopter in me likes the thought of being first to see an innovative new product move from prototype to finished product.
With great trepidation, I backed my first Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. An innovative, multi-functional USB hub for the latest Apple MacBook, designed by Nonda. Their funding goal ($35,000) was reached in eight hours - an incredible achievement. By the time the campaign was funded, over $888,000 had been raised. Another great success story for Kickstarter!
Months of updates followed, with the Nonda team sharing their progress with testing and manufacturing. The deadline for shipping the finished product had slipped back a couple of times, and news started to filter through that technical difficulties were plaguing the testing team.
And then, with great disappointment, I received a final update from the Nonda team last week.
Despite many disappointed and frustrated backers, I was moved by the messages that many posted following the team’s update. The overriding theme was gratitude, for the level of integrity and courage shown, together with plenty of encouragement to keep on going.
For me, I’ve been reflecting on some key learning after my first Kickstarter experience. On courage under fire, knowing when it's time to stop and call it quits, and how best to manage (in this case exceeding) customer expectations.
My absolute favourite response was from a Malaysian backer, which sums up my reaction perfectly: