Kickslowed

Like many businesses, Kickstarter isn’t in good shape these days:

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter is the latest company to resort to layoffs during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The company filed a regulatory notice in New York last week revealing it had laid off 25 employees, or about 18 percent of its workforce. But Kickstarter tells The Verge its workforce reduction is more than twice that, as 30 employees decided to take voluntary buyouts as negotiated between the company’s management and Kickstarter’s employee union.

“The filing is correct, however, it does not reflect an international employee that was affected, nor does it take into account further staff reduction via the voluntary buyouts offered to staff. In total, we’ll see a 39 percent reduction in staff,” a Kickstarter spokesperson tells The Verge. “The majority of those leaving chose voluntary separation packages, and everyone affected is staying on through this week through the transition.”

On the positive side, it’s cool to see interesting wearables projects that have launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I hope Kickstarter doesn’t go away. From a quick scan through the site, there looks to still be a lot of interesting projects launching on their platform.

“He says he quit opioids, but he clearly has other vices.”

Ashley Carman, writing for The Verge, has a fascinating profile on the man behind the crowdfunded ‘iBackpack’ project, Doug Monahan.

Amazingly, Monohan invited Carman down to where he lives in Texas so he could clear his name:

Ochs remembers in the early 2000s, when Monahan first learned about Segway tours, Monahan wanted one for a party he was hosting but was told he’d be put on a waiting list. Instead, according to Ochs, he wrote a blank check to get one delivered to his house and paid two or three times what it should have cost. “It was a disgusting display of wealth,” Ochs says.

It’s hard to picture that life when I visit Monahan’s home now.

Nothing about his current living situation seems enviable, except for maybe his 2005 red Mercedes 500SL. His one-level Houston house smells like cigarettes. He says he quit opioids, but he clearly has other vices. He keeps margarita mix and wine in bulk. He pours one glass of wine while I’m there but then leaves it somewhere and pours another. I can’t tell if he has a bad memory or just can’t be bothered to fetch his glass. An ashtray sits next to his dozen or so computers, which he owns so he can “communicate with the world.” (Monahan mentions he used the dark web to purchase drugs in the past.)

Monohan sounds like a textbook con man.

Solid State Watch

Currently on Kickstarter:

Solid State Watch is a Casio F-91W movement permanently cast into a transparent resin case. It’s in there forever. No buttons, no functions, no light, fully waterproof and no changing that 10 year battery.
It just tells time.

Solid State Watch

I love the idea, but as my friend Jory pointed out, the $160 price tag is hefty as shit considering you can buy a Casio F-91W for $11.

At the time of this posting, they have 308 backers who have contributed over 50,000 towards their8,000 goal, so clearly there’s a market for this watch.

I can’t help but wonder when the project creators are going to grow tired of resin-coating and vacuum-sealing 300+ watches by hand? I think I’d grow annoyed after making ten.

Categories:

Crowdfunding, Product

Cars in the Wild: San Francisco

At the end of 2015 I dedicated my Instagram account exclusively to all the old cars I spot on the streets of San Francisco (photographing old cars is a hobby bordering on an addiction).

Then in the summer of 2018 decided to compile them into a hardcover book (layout in InDesign, retouching in Lightroom). Now the book is ready to be printed up on Kickstarter.

It’s been a labor of love. If love old cars, or San Francisco, or both, check out my project. It’s called Cars in the Wild: San Francisco.

“…if progress is ever to be made, some opportunities and discoveries will be inconceivable in advance”

My brother Mark wrote an essay on current uproar over ‘No Man’s Sky’. He, like many others, bought the game, but he’s not angry like them.

He makes a distinction between buying something that is and investing in what something can become and draws a great comparison to one of his (and my) favorite scenes from Mad Men:

In my favorite scene of Mad Men, head honcho Don Draper gets into an argument with junior copywriter Peggy Olson in his office after hours. She delivered work the client loved, and while she got paid she never received acknowledgement of her role in the win. With tears in her eyes she finally breaks down and reminds Don she didn’t even get a ‘thank you,’ to which he quickly shouts, “That’s what the money’s for!” You see, Don uses money as a reward, not as encouragement. He’s not an investor in good creative, he’s a consumer of it. He pays for results, not future potential. I think the disappointment we’re seeing among many buyers of No Man’s Sky comes from the fact that what they received is not what they thought they paid for. And perhaps many of those who are content with their purchase see their money more as support for what No Man’s Sky pursued and is possibly becoming, and are enjoying their purchase for what it is and not what they thought it would be.

I see both sides on this. I understand the disappointment, but I also know what to expect by someone who has both backed and also created projects on Kickstarter.

What I would like to see change is more effort on the part of project creators to manage expectations.

Did anything bad ever come from under-promising and over-delivering?

Categories:

Consumer, Crowdfunding