21 Apr 2015

Kickstarter-based product development

Product development has changed a lot in the last few years. It used to be that bringing a product to market was a massive upfront process that was also quite high risk, but with crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter springing up this has all changed.


Almost exactly a year ago I launched the pilot version of Mirobot on Kickstarter with the express goal of getting help developing the product so that it was easy for everyone to use, not just the tech-savvy. Over the last year I've managed to get nearly 1000 robots into the hands of willing beta testers which has meant that I've been able to collect all kinds of feedback on how Mirobot has (and more importantly, hasn't) worked.

Putting your product into the hands of real users challenges your preconceptions about how it will be used and especially about what people will find easy and hard about using it. But this is the crucial step in ensuring that you're building the right thing. Fortunately, the big upside of Kickstarter is that I was able to do this with very little financial risk because people have paid in advance.

More and more product companies are turning to Kickstarter as a platform not just for the initial launch and funding of their product, but for future products as well. Take a look at the wildly successful Pebble as an example. Today I launched another Kickstarter, but this time for the finished verison of Mirobot, that has none of the quirks and issues that the pilot version had, is much, much easier to build and a lot more reliable. I'll do another post on the differences in the new version shortly, but in the meantime, why not head on over to the Kickstarter...