Open Building Institute: Eco-Building Toolkit

I've backed a lot of Kickstarter projects over the years, but this is the first I've backed that I feel has truly created something special. This Open Building Institute: Eco-Building Toolkit is an open source initiative to make affordable eco-housing widely accessible. The Open Building Institut has worked with a contractor, Seed so that buyers can get these homes built.

The inside and outside of the home are simple yet elegant. You can find photos of the interior at Seed Eco-Home Photo Selection website.

Advice For Kickstarter Backers

I'm in a pissed off mood about Kickstarter. I've been pissed off with Kickstarter since the TriggerTrap ADA project crashed and burned last year. It took many months to get over the sting of losing 50% of the funds I contributed to the project. While reviewing my backed projects I saw this update from another project which brought all that anger back.

It's been two years now since our project was funded on Kickstarter. This isn't the longest Kickstarter "time to delivery," but it must be right up there in the ranking. Thanks again for your support and patience while we've learned and worked through the problems. A happy 2016 to everyone (the year of the Temperfect Mug!)dean verhoeven

The Temperfect project was fully funded in 2013 and only now are they ready to ship!

Going through the list of 33 Kickstarter projects I backed since I created my account in May 2010, I noticed that there were about 7 project which had not delivered the expected "perk". One was revealed as fraudulent by Kickstarter and suspended. One other was cancelled by the project leader. I can't remember the reason why? Yet another crumbled despite the past success of the project creator.

This project, the TriggerTrap Ada, raised twice the amount of money they needed. They raised just over $500,000. A year later, the company's CEO announced very publicly via Medium that the project had failed, mostly due to mismanagement of the project. I was disappointed.

Ultimately, it all conspired to be a perfect storm: Our R&D turned out to take six times longer than we had anticipated and cost five times more than we had budgeted for. The production cost per unit was three times higher, and the tooling costs were significantly higher than we had budgeted for. And the final kick in the groinal area: instead of getting a 20–50% uptake on our post-Kickstarter pre-orders, we got 1.5%.Haje Jan Kamps, CEO at Triggertrap

It's not just technology projects that burned me. I pledged $50 to help Spike Lee produce his movie. I was promised a digital online viewing of the movie on the day it was released (I never received the link) and I was promised a signed autographed copy of the DVD. I got the DVD. Spike Lee’s signature is nowhere to be found.

So far the only Kickstarter project I am happy I backed was the McArt à la Carte KickStart!. I actually got to visit the store a year after they launched and met the creators. We got a tour of the store and then had a beer tasting party. As a backer I am very pleased with how the funds were used and wish the creators as much success as they want to achieve. If these creators did another project I would definitively back them again.

With my experience with Kickstarter in the last two years I will offer a word of advice. Pretend that your pledge will NEVER provide the reward you expected. Pretend that your backer funds are a donation. When making a donation, most people don't expect anything in return. In relation to Kickstarter, neither should you.

Triggertrap Ada Project Crashes. I Feel Burned.

This is going to be the backer update that no Kickstarter project wants to send. via Triggertrap Ada: Modular Camera Trigger by Triggertrap — Kickstarter

And so began the message that I always fear when backing a project on Kickstarter. Due to poor project and budget planning, Triggertrap decided to pull the plug on its latest project, the Ada.

I read the note they posted to Kickstarter and the long Medium posting written by the CEO, Haje Jan Kamps, about how this heavily funded Kickstarter failed.

I think the Triggertrap office must be a very busy place right now, with the staff doing damage control and probably working in crisis mode. But, I feel violated. I know that some people consider backing a Kickstarter project similar to investing in a startup. But when investing in a startup investors are taking a financial risk for a stake in the company. I took a risk on the Ada project hoping to see a useful product come to market and have the opportunity to use it before anyone else. I backed the project at the £90 (about $137.36 US) level. My reward was the Ada High Speed Kit which would have included the high-speed laser sensor, sound sensor, flash adapter, and the connection cable for my Nikon D5100.

The thing about these Kickstarter 'projects' is, it seems to be a no-risk 'investment' from the creators point of view. They get all the money they need to do the project (assuming they have done the math correctly) from infrastructure investment to paying renumeration with no investment from themselves other than the time.From a comment on DP Review

I passed on other products and used available funds to back the project. I am disappointed.

We were ambitious and hopeful enough to believe that we -- a young, enthusiastic, and idealistic group of nerdy entrepreneur-photographers -- could bring a brand new consumer product to market. We believed we could do it backed only by the support, enthusiasm, and funding of 2,000 other hopeful, excitable photographers who were willing to invest their hard-earned cash in seeing if it could be done.
We’re not the first Kickstarter project to get over funded and then fail to deliver -- nor will this, I suspect, be the last. We genuinely believed we could do something completely new, utterly exciting, and at a previously unattainable level of affordability. And we were proven spectacularly wrong.

Triggertrap tried to save the project by accepting pre-orders on their website. The company plans to issue partial refunds of 20% of what I committed to the project or I can get a 50% discount in the company store. Presumably, customers who pre-ordered will receive a full refund. Doing otherwise would run them afoul of many consumer protection laws.

The Ada project isn't the only "at risk" project I backed recently. Almost all the engineering projects I backed on Kickstart in the last few years are delayed and in crisis. I've received a refund for only one.

The best description of KickStarter I have ever seen.

In many ways Kickstarter is like an Internet version of teleshopping, where you can get many rubbish products with silly names and idiotically high price tags.From a comment left on Petapixel

That leaves me wondering about how clearly the risk of a project failing are explained to potential backers. Given that many of these projects almost always take pre-orders before launch, in the future it may be prudent for me to skip the backing of a Kickstarter campaign altogether, and just do the pre-order. I may end up paying more for the product but I'll have the benefit of getting a full refund should the project fail.

This is the most straightforward version of how capitalism has, in the end, always worked: profits privatized, losses socialized. In the so-called 'social web' of the 21st century, socializing losses is just much quicker and much more obvious than it used to be. While Ada backers now pay for what would have been Triggertrap's own enterprise risk in the economy of the 20th century, Triggertrap continues to make profits with their existing products.Another DP Review comment

My take-away from all of this is that over-hyped and over-funded projects are to be avoided. Caveat periculo!