Kickstarter is Hard

James Mathe of Minion Games shares his Kickstarter experience:

The complexity and volume we were dealing with caused countless unexpected delays. There were delays due to manufacturing issues, trade partners failing to delivery custom products, human error in our shipping department, Backerkit software not being up to the task, and more. We spent a month auditing the data and 2 months shipping the nearly 3000 orders. Not a single day has passed in that time that I haven’t spent hours dealing with customer service issues. It ended up taking us nearly a year to get these projects delivered. That’s far, far too long.

The entire article is a great cautionary tale about all the hidden pitfalls associated with doing a Kickstarter campaign. It reminds me a lot of the early days of Groupon where companies offered deals without thinking about all the ancillary issues that would arise1. Most people think that too many customers is a good problem to have, but Minion’s experience showed how that can backfire. It seems that a majority of people’s experiences with products through a Kickstarter campaign are more bad than good. Things get delayed, or they aren’t the what was advertised and it’s frustrating.

The Elevation Dock infamously took so long to ship that the next version of the iPhone had already been released. Delays are the biggest issue, because what seems to often happen is that a competing product ends up winning the race to market and backers regret their initial commitment.

I have stopped backing products on Kickstarter just because more often than not they end up disappointing. I would rather pay a slightly higher price later for something I know is good rather than roll the dice up front. This article pulls back the curtain nicely to show how hard it is to do this, and that just makes me more weary.

  1. My favorite was a salon that lost regular customers because they were all booked up from Groupon buyers who were only going to show up once []