Pebble watch starts shipping today!
Pebble watch starts shipping today!
The story of a patient Kickstarter backer and the project that was worth the wait.
A Year Later, or Why Sometimes Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
About a year and half ago I was in the market for a Bluetooth speaker and ran across this Kickstarter for the KNOB+…
The speaker design was simply nothing short of stunning and Raul, the creator, seemed dedicated to creating a product that really bucked the trend of poor sounding Bluetooth speakers. Plus, it only cost $120, which was about the price of a Jambox. The project still wasn’t set to deliver for 6-7 months, but I figured given the attention to detail that was being paid—it would be worth the wait.
Now, let me back up a bit. The KNOB+ was one of the first few tech Kickstarter projects I’d backed. It was funded a while before we started to see technology projects miss deadline after deadline (after deadline), so I really had no reason to believe that it wouldn’t deliver on time. There’s since been quite a bit of debate about delivery, and policy/product changes within Kickstarter itself, but that’s another discussion for another time.
February of last year came…but the KNOB+ did not. May rolled around…nothing. I think you get the point. I checked in on the project from time to time and came to find that Raul was running into all sorts of problems, not only with production of the units, but with the actual quality of sound that the speaker was producing. I found myself getting pretty frustrated about the late delivery after about 6 months, but after I was on the site one afternoon I had a revelation…
See, with all the press the Kickstarter has gotten the past couple years, I’d began to think that all these products (and campaigns) were created equal. Lots of these products and ideas were raising millions of dollars, getting crazy press and had teams of several people to help not only scale for demand, but handle the logistics of delivering on time. But this wasn’t a $10,000,000 Pebble campaign, or $950,000 Hidden Radio—this was one guy. One guy who raised less than $50k (seriously not a lot of money to launch a product as ambitious as his, handle the expense of flying back and forth to China for QA, product testing, etc.) and when put in that context, I actually felt pretty guilty about how angry I had gotten about a measly $120*
Well, fast forward to a few nights ago. I’m on my way home and my wife texts me that I have a package. I had put the KNOB+ pretty far out of my mind, but when I got home there it was…my package from Raul. My (now named) Croon Audio Original! A year late, but here.
SIDENOTE: I got my Hidden Radio a few months ago, and while it definitely LOOKS beautiful, it really feels like absolutely zero attention was paid to how the thing should actually sound. That being said, let’s just say my expectations were low.
I take it out of the box…just stunning. From the wooden feet to the acrylic enclosure, it screams attention to detail. But again, I figure I have another beautiful, but ultimately useless object to sit on the shelf of my office.
And then I fire it up.
To say the thing sounds amazing would be an understatement. My wife & I own a B&O Beolit 12 that we use every day, and while it doesn’t sound quite as full as the Play, the Croon has an incredible fullness and richness to it. The mids are full and the highs are crisp. The fit and finish are fantastic and the materials are gorgeous—and this all from a speaker that cost me $120 (Not one that costs $799 like the B&O)
Well it looks like I’ve rambled. I just wanted to do a quick write up about an awesome Kickstarter product that one dude brought to being. A guy and a dream, as it were. But I guess the whole point of me writing was this: It’s easy to get anxious, and even angry, about Kickstarter projects not delivering on time—but before you freak out, just remember that sometimes good things are worth the wait and quality should always trump “getting something fast”.
Anyways, thanks Raul. Thanks for following your dream and building such an awesome product.
If you’d like to get one for yourself, you can check it out here.
*Not that $120 is measly, but in the grand scheme of how much we spend on tech & gadgets, it really wasn’t that big a deal
No sleep ‘til Monday.
Beginning right now, the duo is giving Kickstarter backers the ultimate reward: Over two days of pure KATG. Featuring special guests from across the comedy spectrum, the show will be live until 10pm Monday night.
Exciting news from CES today…
Pebble watch creator Eric Migicovsky took the stage to thank his 68,929 Kickstarter backers and announce a ship date of January 23rd. The team can produce and ship 15,000 Pebble watches per week, which means that backers should receive their watches in the next 6-8 weeks.
The stream from CES is live right now.
Great news from the gaming world this morning: Kentucky Route Zero, our favorite magical-realist adventure game about a secret highway in Kentucky and its mysterious travelers, is finally available to play. Check out Act 1 here.
First things first.
Ouya, the open-source video game console, is currently shipping out to its developer backers.
Devs will get first crack at the tiny device, creating new games and figuring out how to best use this new piece of affordable hardware. We know we’re not alone in being thrilled by the prospect of playing our first Ouya games in 2013. Congratulations to the whole team for the exciting New Year’s progress.
Auld Lang Syne.
No better way to start the year than by hanging the Typographic Calendar. It’s become an annual tradition at Kickstarter HQ.
Hatching an egg.
Air Quality Egg is a powerful pollution-monitoring device in a simple eggshell.
After successfully funding the project in April and undergoing months of design revisions, programming, tooling, and testing, the project is almost ready to be assembled.
The creators just posted this fascinating chart of their creative and technical journey, beginning with the seeds of an idea more than a year ago and continuing on into the expected launch next year. Click the photo to take a look at the full chart.
Trial by fire.
Turns out it’s a little tricky to cast, season, and polish more than 100 crepe pans when it’s 7 degrees and snowing.
Kudos to creator Joe Sandor, who took to the woods of Wisconsin to finish off production of his Captain Crepe pans. He may be covered in “black iron and rusty sweat,” but his backers are about to be both happy and full.
The Secret Guide to Alternative Beijing is a web-based hub for travel advice on Beijing’s thriving art and music underground. After successfully funding on Kickstarter this summer, the site just soft-launched today.
This is from my inbox today. I think it’s useful in a lot of ways for people who are looking to launch a Kickstarter project and for people who occasionally complain about the level of funding people ask for because it lends some perspective to just the basic costs of fulfilling the rewards.
Particularly that last sentence:
Howdy, wonderful backers! I know a lot of you are wondering about the status of your backer rewards, so we’re writing to give you all an update about how things are progressing on our end.
Several thousand backer rewards have already been shipped out, and we’re on course to get a couple thousand more shipped out this week. We tripled our regular work staff and more than doubled the size of our shipping facilities a couple months ago, and most of us are working 50-80 hour weeks (whew!). But what it comes down to is we ended the Kickstarter with way more backers (and thus, way more rewards to ship out) than we had expected when we started this thing. So even though we’re working our rumps off to try and get stuff out before Christmas, it’s looking like we’re going to be shipping stuff through the end of the month. The backer blog is also being set up and you’ll be contacted with the details on how to view it shortly.
We know you’re all really looking forward to receiving your goodies, and we don’t want you to worry— you’ll get them very soon! Thanks so much for your patience and understanding, and we wish all of you, your family and friends a very happy holidays!UPS has to rent extra trucks just to take our Kickstarter shipments.
Vermonters in black and white.
250 Years/250 People is a photo retrospective of life in a small Vermont town.
Windsor resident Nate Larson organized the project through Kickstarter, uniting local photographers, residents, and more than 100 backers to make the book possible. Now the hardcover is out and available both online and at Bob’s Barbershop, should you happen to be passing through the birthplace of Vermont any time soon.
Deep space strategy.
Sidius Nova is a Kickstarter-funded space strategy game. Just three months after successfully reaching their goal, the game’s creators have launched in the App Store — and it’s free for a limited time.
Sidius Nova is now live on the app store! Get it while it’s free! http://t.co/FQhIzvMU #4x #videogames #indiegames #rts #kickstarter #itunes
Light it up.
Ever since he was a child, photographer Fernando Ortiz has loved a certain lonely mango tree on top of a mountain in his native Puerto Rico.
This year, he decided to give the tree a gift and illuminate it with a web of solar-powered LED lights. He successfully raised the necessary funds on Kickstarter and finished installing the lights just in time for the holidays. The neighbors are proud, the tree looks beautiful, and Ortiz is thinking about new ways to mobilize his community to make public projects together.
Spectrometers in progress.
The DIY Spectrometry Kit turns a smartphone into a mobile material analysis lab.
After successfully funding the kits just two months ago, creator Jeffrey Yoo Warren has already launched a full-scale assembly operation, which kicked off with the delivery of 800+ pounds of aluminum conduit boxes earlier this week.
The finished spectrometers look beautiful and seem to work like a charm — and rewards should be out the door on time.