I’ve not been blogging much lately, because I’ve been inundated with administrative work as vice chair (the Curriculum Leave Plan for next year is due on Tuesday), designing new courses (our department needs to offer a tech writing course—I won’t teach it, but I’m designing it), and grading for the two courses I’m teaching this fall (grades due Tuesday).
About the only exciting thing happening around here is my son’s Kickstarter campaign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1955422282/the-kinetic/) for the Kinetic microlight for his company Futuristic Lights. I posted earlier about their first-day success (making their $20,000 goal within 30 minutes).
They are now up to $44,252 pledged. I still haven’t added my order, because I want to be the one to put them over the $55,000 stretch goal that they set. The pledges are going up slowly now (under $1k a day), but they are likely to make that goal a week before the campaign ends. I’m expecting to see a bit of tick upwards on Boxing Day (26 December) as people are given monetary presents and decide to get themselves the lights, and perhaps another uptick on Jan 2 or Jan 5, as people go back to work. Kicktraq and Kickspy are projecting that they’ll easily make their $55k stretch goal, which Kickspy currently projecting that they’ll raise $79k and Kicktraq projecting $57k–$74k.
It doesn’t look likely that they’ll get enough orders to make 10,000 boards (which is probably the next price point for manufacturing), but 5,000 seems likely—they’ve sold almost half that already, and I’m guessing they’ll probably make about twice as many as they’ve presold, so that they can have stock for followup orders.
In addition to the videos on the Kickstarter page, Futuristic Lights has put on a number of live demos and a number of video demos, through their Facebook page. A few of the demos are also on their YouTube channel, but they don’t seem to be maintaining that as carefully as their Facebook page. They’ve just added an Instagram page to their marketing also, but I think that is more in anticipation of future need, for a place to put customer-provided pictures.
I’ve been sharing their story with everyone I can think of: family, friends, colleagues at work, my son’s former teachers, home school parents, Santa Cruz Tech Beat, Make magazine, UCSB public information office, … . A couple of those shares even resulted in sales for them! Make mentioned them (with a link to their Kickstarter video) on their blog, along with a few other cool crowdfunding projects.
Most of the Kickstarter backers (87%) so far are going for a full set of 10 lights, which is a good number for glovers (one per finger). I expected that orders of one or two lights would have been a bigger fraction, as the price for a set of 10 is a bit high for someone who just wants to play with a motion-sensitive LED. So far they have been targeting just glovers (and pretty successfully, since it isn’t a huge market), but the market for kids toys is probably much larger. Unfortunately, they won’t even be starting manufacturing until they have good estimates of the number to make (so probably not until the Kickstarter closes January 11), so they don’t have stocking stuffers to sell for the 2015 Christmas market. Next year, though, they may have enough stock to sell quite a few.
Update: 2014 Dec 22. Kickstarter picked the Kinetic as one of their “staff picks”, though the “magic” sorting doesn’t put it near the front of the listing, so I don’t know whether this selection will influence their backing any.