Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Crowdfunding Shoutout

I’ve not gone out to give a shoutout to any Kickstarter projects previously, at least not while they were still in the crowdfunding stage. I’ve had my share disappointments to be rather cautious about some of the projects.

However, every once a while, there are indeed some really good, really successful, projects. The Pebble smartwatch is one such example. Even though they are no more, having been acquired by Fitbit and their product line killed, they were really great while they were around. The original Pebble project is still the most funded Kickstarter project of all time, by a wide margin to the runner up.

There were two really fascinating products I came to snag last year: Snoppa Atom 3-Axis Gimbal, and Innergie PowerGear 60C (follow the links for my review). While some projects may under-deliver, or even not deliver at all, there are others which deliver on their promises, and sometimes even more. These two fall into that last category.

There is no guarantee with backing crowdfunded projects. As many have pointed out, you are investing in a project; crowdfunding isn’t an online marketplace to buy goods or services. Sometimes, the projects work out, sometimes, they don’t.

I’ve been caught in some in-between cases. For example, I’ve been lucky with Jack, a Bluetooth audio receiver by Podo Labs, which had two other Kickstarter projects prior to that. I wrote a review in May last year, after receiving the Jack. A reader recently wrote to me to complain that he (or she) and many others have yet to get their hands on the Jack. Mine arrived very late, but at least it was delivered; others aren’t so lucky.

After a series of such crowdfunding failures, it is no surprise that many people still start to lose their trust and confidence in these projects. Occasionally, however, something good does still pan out.

If you are risk averse, you can always wait for the products to eventually reach retail market. Unfortunately, sometimes the crowdfunded product might reach more localities than when the product finally hits retail distribution.

Did you know that We The People is a physical retail store dedicated to bring crowdfunded products into retail? They had a store originally at West Gate. I don’t see that location listed on their website anymore, but you can now find them in more places: Millenia Walk, Katong I12, Metro Centrepoint, and Metro Paragon.

I don’t want to venture into suggesting how you can evaluate the success probability of any crowdfunded project. However, I do want to suggest that you shouldn’t look at them as selling discount products.

Crowdfunding allows individuals and small companies to test new ideas. Hence, you should ask if they are offering something truly innovative you cannot find anywhere else, before you even begin to ask if their project is viable, and if they can deliver what they promised.

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