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View Full Version : PetaPixel post about recent photo related KS projects



koh303
17-Sep-2015, 07:33
http://petapixel.com/2015/09/16/the-perils-of-crowdfunding-your-photo-project/

Though the writer did get some facts wrong RE ‪#‎new55‬ and ‪#‎wanderlust‬, what he says is 100% from the perspective of a potential backer who does not have time to delve into the many trivial and often irrelevant details of each project, just as much as few consumers actually delve into that level of detail and minutia about each and every thing they buy.

Please do not turn this into a thread about the merits of crowed funding, because honestly, that has been discussed enough.

sperdynamite
17-Sep-2015, 08:00
I left a comment regarding the TW90. Bloggers for sites like these rarely actually know what they're talking about. It's not like Petapixel is hiring professional writers.

koh303
17-Sep-2015, 08:25
The point is, that they do not have to know what they are talking about. All they know is the gave money and got nothing (yet), and in some cases lost hope of seeing the money or the product, or getting it before its just too late to be relevant like with the instacube example.

sperdynamite
17-Sep-2015, 09:08
I'll take his instacube if he doesn't want it.

plywood
17-Sep-2015, 12:02
What this type of report should do is cause potential project creators to consider carefully before they start. So far I've backed the TW 90 and the Galaxy high speed photo paper. The money for the projects is trivial. What I really want is the product. It looks like the TW 90 will really ship (although the creators seem to have no idea when). As for the high speed paper, well I'm only in to it for $50 and can only hope it will be ready some time next summer. But, if it fails completely I'm prepared to lose the $50.

Gadfly_1971
17-Sep-2015, 12:17
Part of the problem with the crowd sourced model is the backers themselves though. High expectations and a lack of understanding about how the platform works invariably leads to discontent. As an example, most backers see themselves as investors (they're not) and as such feel that they must be treated like stock holders. At the same time, none of the platforms have really provided any real clarity on what being a backer actually means. Add to the mix a few fraudulent campaigns and you have a recipe for distrust and disenchantment.

Randy Moe
17-Sep-2015, 12:33
The point is, that they do not have to know what they are talking about. All they know is the gave money and got nothing (yet), and in some cases lost hope of seeing the money or the product, or getting it before its just too late to be relevant like with the instacube example.

Isn't this comment directly opposed to your thread starter request...'Please do not turn this into a thread about the merits of crowed funding, (sic) because honestly, that has been discussed enough.'

Ben Syverson
17-Sep-2015, 13:57
I'm not sure how to respond to this thread without talking about the merits of crowd funding, but basically there are three parties, and they are all at fault to varying degrees. Creators are often overly optimistic about schedule, Backers don't understand their relationship to Creators, and Kickstarter doesn't help anyone figure any of it out.

plywood
17-Sep-2015, 15:49
Well Ben, I have come to this conclusion. Both creators and backers are most probably enthusiastic amateurs who both go into the project with stars in their eyes. I do know this for sure, I could never be a 'creator', no matter how much I daydream about wonderful photo related gadgets. I'm not good with pressure and pressure is central to a KS campaign.

Probably the most reliable results from campaigns come from established companies like Lomography. They essentially use a campaign only to determine the market and get paid up front, thus avoiding having a vast unsold inventory of some item they only thought would take off.

Another outfit that is successful is Ondu, (whose makes pinhole cameras) because so much of the labor is in house with only a few outside suppliers of bits and pieces.

As demonstrated by the TravelWide shipping is also becoming or had already become a major expense and headache for creators.

Ben Syverson
17-Sep-2015, 16:28
I don't know how many general conclusions you can draw from any one Kickstarter project. We had been burned before by our own poor design-for-manufacture, so we certainly didn't have stars in our eyes. We knew what we didn't know, but we thought that our production partner would help us guide the design a bit more. One of the biggest things we learned was exactly what we could expect from our prototyping partners.

So far, shipping seems like a very straightforward process, and it's going to be far cheaper than I expected. It has just taken some time to figure out who we needed to reach out to, and get onboarded into their system. But I wouldn't describe it as a "headache"—in fact, it's been a cakewalk compared to all the rest of our trials and tribulations. :)

plywood
17-Sep-2015, 16:53
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I don't know how many general conclusions you can draw from any one Kickstarter project. We had been burned before by our own poor design-for-manufacture, so we certainly didn't have stars in our eyes. We knew what we didn't know, but we thought that our production partner would help us guide the design a bit more. One of the biggest things we learned was exactly what we could expect from our prototyping partners.

So far, shipping seems like a very straightforward process, and it's going to be far cheaper than I expected. It has just taken some time to figure out who we needed to reach out to, and get onboarded into their system. But I wouldn't describe it as a "headache"—in fact, it's been a cakewalk compared to all the rest of our trials and tribulations. :)

Not just your project Ben, looking at several high profile KS campaigns. Of course, let's be honest here. Without this campaign there never would have been a compact, lightweight, handheld 4X5, at least for this low a price. When the campaign just started Roger Hicks said that 'such a camera had been tried before, never successfully' (not exact quote) but still wished you success. Guess that can never be said now! You and Justin did pull it off and that cannot be taken away from you. Congratulations.

AuditorOne
17-Sep-2015, 17:38
I have actually participated in several kickstarter campaigns and, with a single exception, every one of them are behind schedule for various reasons. I think this points to an unappreciated difficulty in developing project timelines. I think Catlab's CL-81 project was a great model of how a project like this should go. On the flip side I think that the New55 Project, and probably the Ferrania Project, are far too complex for this type of funding model.

I do believe that crowd funding is a great way for entrepreneurs to raise funds for small projects. Although I applaud Kickstarter for being on the forefront of this I am not sure that their model is the best way to do this. For starters, it does not appear to me that Kickstarter themselves have any downside if some fails. In all the projects I have participated in I have never seen or heard from Kickstarter regarding project timing. Although the Washington State lawsuit is really unfortunate it may end up benefiting the model by forcing more accountability onto Kickstarter.

Jim Cole
17-Sep-2015, 23:16
So far, shipping seems like a very straightforward process, and it's going to be far cheaper than I expected. It has just taken some time to figure out who we needed to reach out to, and get onboarded into their system. But I wouldn't describe it as a "headache"—in fact, it's been a cakewalk compared to all the rest of our trials and tribulations. :)

Do you know when this "cakewalk" will end?

A_Tabor
18-Sep-2015, 05:36
For starters, it does not appear to me that Kickstarter themselves have any downside if some fails. In all the projects I have participated in I have never seen or heard from Kickstarter regarding project timing. Although the Washington State lawsuit is really unfortunate it may end up benefiting the model by forcing more accountability onto Kickstarter.

I'm not sure that is really a bad thing in the grand scheme of things. Kickstarter is just a platform to let developers and customers come together more easily. Kickstarter already has plenty of incentive to want to see projects ship, and already do what they can to keep an eye on things (and they have halted projects in the past when seeming insurmountable obstacles that would block it were noted) because if the user base sees that most projects on Kickstarter fail, and they waste their money on it, then why would users want to back anything?

From what I've seen it appears that Kickstarter's approach to supporting projects reaching their development goals is mostly in preemptive guidance, and apparently offering some leadership and advice for some of their larger projects that get themselves on the rocks.

But it is still very much a 'buyer beware' and an investment platform, which sadly many customers can't seem to wrap their head around. Most of what I've picked up on Kickstarter has been computer games (Because for some reason I still think that I'm going to actually get around to finding time to sit down and actually play games again in my life... and ignore the backlog of stuff I already have waiting for me that will take me decades to get through at this point.) and I've forked over money mostly as a statement of "I like your idea, and you seem like you can actually get the job done", and not as "I like your product, I'm going to buy it."

In a way I almost wish that they moved toward a "Failure is possible" model, where it was fully acknowledged and almost expected that some projects might end up failing and no one would get much of anything beyond some reports out of the whole thing.

Ben Syverson
18-Sep-2015, 06:38
I've done two Kickstarter projects, and Kickstarter has never offered any guidance. In fact, I have had no contact with them whatsoever. They simply host your project on the internet, in exchange for 5% of the funds raised.

It's incredibly short sighted, because every time a project fails, those backers come away with a negative image of Kickstarter and crowdfunding. You can't do that forever, and as a result, we're seeing a stream of think pieces in the media about the dangers of crowdfunding.

They could easily solve this. Why don't they help Creators connect with professionals and consultants who could offer guidance? We would have gladly paid $500/hour to have a mechanical engineer go over our drawings before production. Kickstarter could be the Yelp or Angie's List of engineers, designers and production partners, and they could take a commission on the fees.

At the very least they could have a support site with common pitfalls and ways to avoid them. They could interview Creators about the challenges they faced, how they solved them, and what they'd do differently next time.

Instead, they do nothing. They spend your 5% on NY office space and salaries for a very photogenic group of millennials. They haven't done a meaningful update to their website since 2010. You literally cannot access your project's comments from the mobile version of their site or their native app!

sperdynamite
18-Sep-2015, 06:47
Ben,
You've made mention before that you wish the conversation would shift to the process of the project and kickstarter. I think you're in prime position to jot down a few thoughts on the experience, and what could be improved, given that you now have 2 successful crowd sourced cameras under your belt. I can think of a lot of blogs that would host it. It would be great as a Kinja piece that could be picked up by Gizmodo, given that it's not entirely photography/camera specific. Just remember to title it, "This Man's Thoughts on Crowdfunding & Kickstarter....WILL SHOCK YOU." That way you get max clicks. :cool:

But really, there is probably a lot that you could ad to the conversation. You know, if you ever get like 2 minutes between working, making a 4x5 camera, and shipping 1000 boxes haha.

BarryS
18-Sep-2015, 07:07
It's hard to put much stock in a sloppily-written and poorly-researched piece. If you want to read something more than a disposable bit of fluff, try this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/magazine/zpm-espresso-and-the-rage-of-the-jilted-crowdfunder.html).