Kickstarter.com is a fantastic idea and the whole notion of crowd-funding is one that makes great sense. However…

Having backed a couple of projects on Kickstarter.com I’ve been disappointed with how things have panned out. The problem is this – as it’s basically a forum for ill-experienced entrepreneurial folk with an idea to seek backing in exchange for being one of the first people to receive the finished product, it seems that anything more complex than a quirky comic is subject to manufacturing delays that are directly proportional to the inexperience (and perhaps also the naivety) of those involved.

Essentially, I love Kickstarter but I wish people had done their research properly before launching a project.

In a nutshell it works a little (well, quite a lot) like this:

“I have an idea for a really cool product that I think people will really get behind, so rather than try to shamelessly whore my invention around major players and have them make all the money I’m going to cut them out of the loop and do it all, with the help of a few bright-eyes but similarly clueless friends.

I therefore invite you to give me your money now and let me hold onto it for the foreseeable future while I figure out all the things I should have probably looked into in the first place before giving an estimated delivery date that I don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of meeting because I had no idea that I’d have to spend half my time in china getting the thing ready for production, getting the factory sorted and tooled up, components sourced, the prototypes built, final versions tested and certified etc. During this time, you’ll becoming increasingly frustrated at the slipping timescales and so I’ll send you monthly updates on the whole tedious process along with glimpses of something you may finally receive. Unfortunately, also during this time, the massive R&D developments of the big players that I cut out of the loop initially by publicly crowd-funding my idea will have cottoned on to it and thrown their vast resources at refining it and producing something far better, which will incidentally also hit the market sooner because they know how these things work and have established relationships with factories and are familiar with QA procedures and the like. Never mind that though, because ultimately you will receive the shiny thing that was ahead of the game two years ago when you gave me your money, and while it may be obsolete by then, at least you helped to make it possible. By the way, I’m rich now, so thanks anyway.”

I’m looking at you, Pebble and LIFX.

Pebble: Thank you for eventually sending me a really nice product that scratches so easily I daren’t wear it unless I’m in bed – either alone or with someone who isn’t wearing jewellery and doesn’t have sharp finger nails or dry skin, or a rapier-like wit or anything else that might leave my watch with a gaping wound. As a result of being the most delicate wrist-worn item in history, it lives on my bedside unit while I continue to wear my unscratchable quartz-crystal-screened Seiko Kinetic and get my phone out of my pocket when I need to. I turn it on now and again to admire it in terms of what it very nearly was.

LIFX: Where are my fucking lightbulbs? Well?

L