Jazz Tigan, co-creator of the Hugalopes, came by our office for lunch yesterday to update me on his progress. Kevin Coleman also stopped by and recorded Jazz for MixTent's Storybin. The last time I saw Jazz and his co-founder Cris was 10 months ago. They were just on the beginning part of a journey to turn their "fuzzy Mr. Potato head" style toy into a reality. They had hand-sewn some prototypes, and they were contemplating a Kickstarter project.
A lot has happened in 10 months. Jazz and Cris ran a successful Kickstarter project, raising over $21k -- way past their $8k goal. Then this past April, they announced a licensing deal with Jakks Pacific, a top five top toy manufacturer that also licenses brands like Disney, Warner Bros, Star Wars, Nickelodeon and others. From dream to licensing deal, Jazz and Cris credit much of their success to the funding and publicity they got from the Kickstarter project.
I was super curious to get tips from Jazz on how to run a successful Kickstarter project, so he agreed to let me tape the meeting so other entrepreneurs can learn from his experiences as well. Jazz shared tips not only about Kickstarter, but about being an entrepreneur in general.
In the video, Jazz offers tips around the importance of timing the Kickstarter project, how many tiers to offer and at what amounts, how to make sure you go over your goal and get the project funded, how to (and how not to) publicize the project, and much more.
Kickstarter is changing the way entrepreneurs bring ideas and products to market, allowing them to rely less on venture capital and angel fundraising, and more on stoking demand for their concepts before going to market. It's a great form of ghetto testing and helps provide validation from the marketplace before you spend a lot of time on the business. If you've run a Kickstarter project and you have tips to share, I'd love to hear them in the comments section below.
@Julespieri, thanks for the perspective -- it's a great one.
Here's another blog post I recently found talks about kickstarter campaigns done well & poorly: http://www.shopify.com/blog/6102922-how-to-run-a-...
I'd advise a little caution about hyping Kickstarter as a place to really launch a consumer product. It's great for funding an initial production run and a little "kickstart" to reaching a market. But these are products that have to navigate to major volumes and national retail to succeed, generally. That world is still very secretive and old-fashioned. I compare it to a Turkish rug bazaar (think trade shows and having to know the right people). Most of these Kickstarter-enabled products will go splat until there are equally innovative ways to get the products to distribution. Full disclosure--I've been building this kind of business model myself at Daily Grommet. But I really am not posting this for self-promotion. I worry about the hype creating a lot of products all dressed up with no place to go. It's a great thing for Daily Grommet to have these new sources of products for us to discover but we can only cover five a week and the rest are left to the wolves.
Here's a great article about a Kickstarter campaign for Republique -- and it shows the kind of "trough of sorrow" funding graph that Jazz mentions in the video. http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/05/republique-...
I attended last year's FounderConference, which was at MSFT's Mountain View campus, and captured the content of the event. I also took a panoramic shot that Alain used for the 2011 conference, and in exchange he comp'd a ticket for me to attend this year.
As part of my goal to help entrepreneurs worldwide be more successful (i.e., my fundraising manifesto), I've captured the content of this year's Founders Conference below. This year's event was much larger than 2010, at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts, with about 500 people attending.
“You should call it 360scope. And get rid of the little bug guy” was PG’s advice to reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. “But reddit turned out to be a great name, and ‘the little bug guy’ has turned into one of the most important parts of the reddit community.”
“Sometimes your investors know best. Sometimes they don’t. Even Paul Graham is wrong sometimes.”
[caption id="attachment_220" align="alignleft" width="300"] Todd Bishop and Alexis Ohanian[/caption]
Alexis is on a 175 stop tour for his new book, Without Their Permission. On Monday night he stopped by Seattle’s Town Hall to be interviewed by Geekwire’s Todd Bishop. Topics ranged from the silly - alternative names for reddit (Ooglyaboo) and his favorite Star Trek captain (Picard, no hesitation) - to the more serious topics of his book - entrepreneurship and politics.
The thesis of Without Their Permission is that the Internet enables people to be fully in control of their destiny. You don’t need permission from a movie producer to decide if your film gets created or not. You don’t need a publisher to release a book. You don’t even need a travel agent to book your flight anymore.