Monday, January 20, 2014

Kickstarter Bicycle Proposals - Short /= Good

The idea of Kickstarter is that with a compelling "ask" online a person can get funding for a great idea that would have otherwise been difficult if not impossible for most "regular" people to achieve. It is important to have a good network of online contacts who will use social media to plug your idea on your behalf, but first and foremost a person needs an attractive idea and to present it in a compelling way. While it can be good to be brief, it is possible to be too short.

I know this having bumped into the Bamboo Bicycle Modules Kickstarter proposal.

A minimalistic Kickstarter proposal if there ever was one

In addition to its brevity, another problem with this Kickstarter could be that it doesn't explain very well what it is offering, I suspect. For around 100 years, almost all bicycles frames were somewhat like tinker-toys in that bits of metal tubing where inserted into specially designed "lugs" and welded/brazed together - here the idea is that you substitute (your) bamboo for the tubing and use his special lugs to hold the bamboo together. He also offers some sort of magical way of holding the frame pieces together (that I don't think would work) rather than a traditional jig. And I still am not sure if he means that with his "modules" the bamboo is inserted into the things or if the modules are inserted in the bamboo. I find it puzzling that one is expected to use carbon fiber with the epoxy to hold the materials together. It seems antithetical to the bamboo approach to slather carbon fiber on it to hold it together.

Examples of lugs from the 1890s - available for purchase much like the "bamboo bicycle modules"

This Kickstarter's author seems not to have followed the usual approach of offering various levels of "awards" - his one option, for $600, is to get a set of the modules so you can build your own bamboo bike with them. Where is a T-shirt with a logo and a bamboo bike on it for $25? Where is getting a postcard if you give $1? And so on. While a couple of people have pledged a total of $102 (as of today), neither will receive a "reward." So far not one person has funded at the reward level and the fellow has about two weeks left.

So minimalism doesn't seem to garner good results. Or is it the quality of the proposal? Perhaps both.

If I write any more, my blog post will be longer than the Kickstarter.

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