5 reasons you should (and shouldn't) use a Kickstarter campaign

Popular crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have earned a reputable reputation within the entrepreneurial arena, and for good reason. It's played a large role in shaping the crowdfunding market, which is now estimated to be well worth over $2 billion with the potential to reach as high as $93 billion by 2025. Some campaigns have raised more than six figures in less than 24 hours, while others have gone on to raise tens of millions of dollars for as simple of an idea as a horror themed board game. But with all that success comes plenty of failure. 14 % of Kickstarter campaigns fail to receive any pledges, and the current success rate of Kickstarter campaigns sits at 36%, meaning for every success story there are two failures quietly hidden and tucked away in the vast online fields of the internet.  

Kickstarter isn't going away anytime soon, no matter how many times the company may boast a failed project. The crowdfunding tool can be a great resource to help you grow your business or bring attention to a product or service you're hoping to successfully introduce to the market, but that doesn't always mean it's the right path to take. Let's have a look at the top 5 reasons why you should and shouldn't carry out a Kickstarter campaign for your product or business.  

5 Reasons You Should Use a Kickstarter Campaign  

1) If you have an idea for a tabletop board game then Kickstarter is absolutely the right place for you to launch your campaign.  In previous years online video gaming projects generated the most hype, largely because in 2015 the category had an average of over $100,000 for successful campaigns. But now board games seem to be the current fad, earning an average of $65,418 in 2017 and surpassing the flat growth of the online gaming world.

2) Your campaign doesn’t require too high of a funding goal. Backers want to believe that the project they are backing has a legitimate chance of being successful, or else why would they waste their time and money on your business? If your project falls below six figures it will have a greater chance of reaching its goal.

3) You lack real-world connections. Let’s face it, in today’s world who you know can be just as, if not more important than what you know. If you don’t have a strong social network that features angel investors or witty business tycoons then this platform can be your gateway to reaching the people you need in order to be successful.

4) You have a variety of rewards that can be given out for a multitude of pledges. If you only have one product to sell, how will you get people to donate $200 instead of $50? If your business can offer a diverse set of rewards and promises to your backers it will make your campaign look more attractive in the consumer’s eyes, because everyone wants options!

5) You have a strong PR campaign specifically made for the crowdfunding project. One of the most common traits among all successful campaigns is that they feature highly professional looking press kits and videos. If you don’t have a tutorial or a simple video explaining your project then how will consumers fully understand and recognize the benefits of pledging money to your campaign? Video is the new norm across all platforms, because who likes to read!?

5 Reasons You Shouldn't Use a Kickstarter Campaign  

1) Your project requires a timeline longer than 30 days. The most successful campaigns feature short timelines. Statistics prove that projects with a long time stamp struggle to bring in revenue largely because backers don’t want to wait that long to receive their rewards.

2) Your product is heavily revolved around growing technology. The technology category is currently ranked 3rd on the most funded categories through Kickstarter. However, this is largely due to a few successful projects that raised over tens of millions of dollars in a short amount of time. The failure rate of technology projects is much greater than the average failure rate as currently 4 out of every 5 tech projects will fail to reach their targeted goals.

3) You don’t have the money to invest in promoting your campaign. If you can’t afford to pay for email subscription lists, online targeted advertisements, or PR campaigns then don’t even bother. Kickstarter is a massive platform with tens of thousands of shiny objects and fun projects. If you can’t invest money within online marketing tools served to broadcast your project then there is little chance anyone notices your business to begin with.

4) You’re not fully confident you can fulfill your orders if your goals are reached. 1 out of every 9 successful campaigns will fail to live up to their promises, leaving their consumers empty handed. There is no quicker way to ruin the integrity of your company then by failing to deliver on a reward you made available to the consumers who supported you before anyone else did.

5) You don’t have the right set of qualifications to prove to potential consumers that you can handle this project. If you’re a new company trying to sell a baseball bat, someone on your team better have experience as a player, coach, or working professional in the industry. When consumers are giving money for a product that has yet to be developed they are placing quite a bit of trust in you and your company. These consumers will likely check out your website, experience, and testimonials. Simply put, if you can’t prove that you have the right background for the specific project you’re offering backers will have a difficult time trusting your alleged capabilities.

For some, Kickstarter can be a tool used to help take their business to the next level. But for others, it can act as the final blow to their dwindling company. Remember, what you do online cannot be erased. A failed Kickstarter campaign will plague your company for years to come if you cannot properly handle the negative publicity that comes with it. Happy crowdfunding! 

LoRaWAN and what it means for the IoT's and the future of technology

The Internet of Things continues to expand through modern technology, but with all that data and wireless communication comes quite a bit of power consumption. A major problem within the Internet of Things is that the network is so large that the outreach, and efficiency behind the vast database and communication system is costly and time consuming, that is until the recent development of LoRaWAN.

LoRaWAN acts within the LPWAN space, which is a Low Power Wide Area Network integrated within the Internet of Things, serving as a wireless data communication protocol. In simpler words, companies or users can integrate and develop the advanced communication protocol within any product or device, which will rapidly increase the product or devices efficiency because the technology can provide real-time data while simultaneously using less power than before. If you’re in the technology space and you hear someone say ‘“low power, but long-range’” you’re immediately going to be intrigued, and that’s the main selling point behind LoRaWAN.

The technology under the hood of the communication protocol is fairly new, but market disruptors and corporations are already beginning to profit from the recent advancements, and in some cases offer life saving products thanks to the constant real time data behind LoRaWAN. For example, Lineable, which started as a device for parents to monitor their children has now developed a product for people who suffer from alzheimer's by integrating LoRa technology within wearable bands that can give real time data to family members. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that over 60% of those who suffer from the disease will wander, half of which will experience severe injury or death if not found within 24 hours.

LoRAWAN can play a meaningful role within almost every major industry, and soon might provide agriculture users with a license-free community sensors network, providing real time data surrounding pipe leaks, temperature, and soil control. What this means, is that farmers would no longer have to pay private companies to set up tracking devices that monitor their crops, and instead could use a free, shared access community network that is powered through LoRAWAN and the Internet of Things, saving them a whole lot of money while also providing them with a secure, reliable network.

To ensure the IoT’s does not become monopolized, Semtech, the architects behind LoRa technology created the Lora Alliance in early 2015, a nonprofit organization compiled of over 500 companies who are dedicated to expanding and improving the Internet of Things through LPWAN technologies. The organizations mission is to “guarantee interoperability and standardization of Low Power Wide Area Networks internationally, by consolidating the fragmented wireless space and significantly improving ROI, which will drive large scale volumes for IoT.” Simply put, the nonprofit hopes to reach developing countries by offering a simpler, and cheaper option of widespread internet access to all of their inhabiting citizens.

LoRAWAN has it's limitations, and continues to slowly works it way into the consumer and corporation world, but the possibilities it has within the Internet of Things is almost endless. It could quite possibly be the technology that brings the world a more open and robust communication network that is accessible anywhere, at any given time. 

The Internet of Things

It’s 2018. Your speaker in the kitchen can talk to you. The living room TV knows your favorite shows to binge, and your computer brings up your favorite content before you even have a chance to pull up your web browser. In case you haven’t noticed, technology is advancing, and so are our most beloved products. But what’s behind this change? How in the world does your refrigerator connect to the internet, and what’s allowing our most basic household appliances to suddenly connect to our smartphones? It’s not rocket science, instead, it’s a small, low-cost WiFi microchip known as ESP8266.

In August of 2014, Ai-Thinker developed a module known as ESP-01, which allowed smaller micro-controllers to connect to local WiFi networks. The Chinese manufacturer opened the door for connecting household items to the internet, and paved the way for future innovations. When it first hit the market, the code within the module was strictly Chinese, but hackers quickly began translating it to Western languages, and big business suddenly became involved when corporate entities soon realized the chip could be produced and sold at an extremely low cost.

In late October of 2014 a Shanghai based corporation known as Espressif Systems released a software development kit that allowed users to ditch the outdated micro-controller in exchange for a more sleek, easier to use chip that no longer needed to be controlled by a separate device. The China based firm open sourced all of their developments, allowing hobbyists to tweak the intricate design, giving them the freedom and ability to connect their most basic appliances to the internet. 

For now, the ESP8266 acts a key player for hobbyists, but has yet to find its way within commercial products. However, products such as Amazon’s Alexa use extremely similar microchips, the difference being that the large corporation refuses to share highly coveted technology through open sourced data, leaving consumers and competitors in the dark.  

Where the ESP8266 really makes a difference, is within the housing market. ‘Smart homes’ are the new trend within upscale neighborhoods littered across the United States, and TV shows across HGTV proudly boast the all-in-one connectivity shared within their newly renovated homes. Without the ESP8266, or a microchip of similar capability, your lights wouldn’t be able to turn on through your phone, and you’d be stuck in the cavemen days where you have to actually get up to change the temperature in the room.