The New CushPad -- The pros and cons of KickStarter

May 14, 2012

KickStarter could easily re-label their form field "Project Duration" to "Sleepless Nights". There is a lot of advice out on the internet regarding optimum pledge levels, project durations, update frequencies, etc. I took most of it with a grain of salt when deciding on the details of my KickStarter project for the New CushPad. Instead, I set my pledge levels and funding goal based on the constraints imposed on me by the costs of materials, labor, and minimum order quantities..

"Where do all the worst product ideas end up? On T.V." 

This is a saying my best friend and frequent business partner Jason told me a long time ago (mainly regarding infomercials). It's basically saying that if your idea is any good, you won't have to go to extreme lengths to market it. Obviously, this logic doesn't apply to everything -- who heard about the Snuggie before it was on T.V.? Furthermore, with the huge array of social sharing platforms we all have at our fingertips, it's easy to lose even the best idea in the noise of RSS, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter feeds.. which brings me to where I am today.

The good news is that I'm roughly halfway funded and roughly halfway through my project's duration. The bad news is that, honestly, I've lost momentum. My loyal fans/followers bought CushPads in the first three days. I have some decent PR leads, but I already missed out on what could have been the break that got my project funded in 24 hours. What was that? An article reviewing the CushPad (originally written a few months ago) was syndicated by I was out of town for a wedding and five days away from my planned KickStarter launch -- the website currently displayed a "Sold Out" message with a newsletter link to be notified if and when the CushPad would be back in stock. On Saturday I noticed a strange increase in the number of people emailing me regarding a problem with my newsletter signup form. I didn't pay them immediate attention as I had to get to this wedding, the reception, and then go get my things together that night in order to be ready for a long flight early the next morning. I turned my iPhone back on upon landing back in Chicago to find dozens of emails complaining that my newsletter signup wasn't working. It was a perfect storm of failures; I'd set up my Google analytics alerts incorrectly and I hadn't been notified of the 15,000% increase in traffic over the past 24 hours and my newsletter link was broken. Roughly 5,000 unique visitors in 24 hours -- lost.

So, now I need lightning to strike twice. I've had a lot of luck getting PR back in Baltimore (one great review on the and another offer to appear on a Fox News broadcast), but practically ZERO luck here in Chicago.

I haven't given up by any means. I'm not hinging the potential of the CushPad on this KickStarter project, but I'm still confident that it'll hit its funding goal.. Just 18 more sleepless nights, I mean, days left until the project completes.