Kickstarter · Crowdfunding

Getting influencer attention

Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

March 14th, 2014

Hi all,

I'm really looking for some community support on this one.  I've got a Kickstarter that details "Web OS" software.  So far, market response is 30% comparing it to competition like Angular, Ext.js, Chrome OS.  45% is sheer nastiness that tends to outpour from developers since that's my market right now (is it the right market?).  25% is ideation about, "oh that could be a RSS reader on steroids," or "this would work great for web scraping and dashboards".

That said, (and most important for us entrepreneurs), is that the developer market does not seem to be whipping out the credit card to help crowdfund this campaign.  Campaigns I've seen that get buzz from CNN usually get into the $60k+ range of funding and I am at a mere $300.

I've really got to take this campaign to the next steps but I am searching and crowdsoucing (heh) the answer here.

Recipe for getting influencer attention I'd imagine:

* find very popular article on tech crunch
* find all articles by that journalist, call them journalist A
* find popular on similar topic that isn't as popular
* find all articles by that journalist, call them journalist B
* if journalist A is consistently more popular than journalist B
** contact journalist B with the story and press release document about my software
* else keep searching
* loop

The people that have whipped out the credit cards thus far I feel believe something as elaborate as a Web OS could have been built by one person.  Obviously people do not believe a Linus Torvalds story could exist in 2014.  People also do not have a solid use case to answer, "what the hell does a Web OS do?"  Obviously, an OS in general is just a set of tools so the bulk of the work is in perfecting the tools and not the use cases.  How much do I invest in building out a use case vs. improving my tools?

Thoughts?

Brian Robinson Enterprise Solutions Architect at Pentaho

March 14th, 2014

Didn't Google try this with their ChromeBook, which they shut down?  There was no real OS, just a web browser - so you could use all of Google's services (Gmail, search, calendar, plus, etc.).

Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

March 14th, 2014

I'm confused, 'Web OS' as in the the actual existing product or a new, cloud operating system that you've built? What problem(s) does it solve?

Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

March 14th, 2014

Jake, I apprec. the feedback but we're trying to keep it appropriate for FD lol.

You can PM me if you want to discuss the project more specifically.

I can answer that no, I am anti-cloud, anti-globalization generally :)

There will be no global thermal nuclear war in the software dossier

Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

March 14th, 2014

No I'm asking what the Kickstarter is about so I can give you feedback as to why developers aren't biting. I'm a developer, so I might be your target audience.

Shane Menchions Product Guy, Coder, Former Googler

March 14th, 2014

Your first paragraph is very confusing.  "Web OS" is a confusing name.  45% is sheer nastiness?  What does that mean?

Your product name is confusing, it is an existing product anyway and your description is confusing.

I don't even need to look at your Kickstarter to tell you why you thus far only have $300.


Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

March 14th, 2014

Erg, you guys are confirming what the market is doing.  There is tons of interest for "figuring this out", but I'm trying to zero in on creating a more detailed discussion with a journalist or influencer since it is rather complex.

Please PM me if you would like to discuss product specifics.

Vlad Enache

March 14th, 2014

First of all.. Kickstarter link?  

Your problem sounds confusing for a variety of reasons: product isn't clear, story is not very coherent/sidetracks, assumptions don't seem to have a basis.  If i'm understanding correctly you want to make your kickstarter campaign more successful.  So far you've raised $300 and you are hoping to raise closer to $60k (or more).

You might want to revisit the assumptions you made so far.  Are you sure your problem is that the developer market isn't whipping out credit cards (I have lots of developer friends that whip them out all the time for kickstarter campaigns, donations, political campaigns, etc)?  or do you need to make your product and story clear and coherent?  is your pitch too mechanical/analytical instead of making it first and foremost emotional/personal (then support that with facts)?  How exactly is your product competing with both Angular and Chrome OS (as a developer I would be pretty confused if you said that without an explanation)?

Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

March 14th, 2014

Vlad!  Developers are fickle and are all over the spectrum.  Just because a person is a developer does not make them an android being.  As a result, sometimes developers will complain my copy is too "marketing intensive" just as much as they have trouble piecing together the analytical message with the vision.  They have said very nasty things from "this sounds like a scam" to remarks that ask, "do you even know how to code?" to assaulting the choice of using PHP even though the OS allows any language or server from Node.js to Ruby to be used.

I can't go into the Kickstarer link because FD discussion forums prohibit it.  I also could explain the competitive differences but it is again out of scope for the intention of this thread.  Please PM me if you want more detail.

Overall, there clearly is a ton of interest in figuring this out just in this thread.  How can I channel it?  A web OS is something everyone should get behind and it is bull**** that a company thinks they could trademark that name (that's like saying Mobile OS is a corporate entity).  I'm just the guy that created the algorithms and toolset, there are a lot of gaps deliberately for people to fill in, I get that it isn't very communist like a lot of the existing internet products so it's gonna take some time for people to thaw enough that they can be free-thinkers again.

Dave Lemley Consulting Technologist

March 14th, 2014

I'm also confused as to what this does exactly.  Maybe the product description needs some editing.  You didn't provide a link to the project, but I was able to find it though your name.
It seems there is some (optional?) hardware, but then it also seems to be a kind of 'dashboard' product, whereby you can mashup a UI?  Like Konfabulator from some time back?  The term P2P is used next to API to API, but P2P usually means 'peer to peer', and 'API to API' is a new term to me.  It mentions 'downloading', so is it a marketplace?
Regardless of my confusion on the terminology, it seems to be a 'platform' or 'infrastructure' product.  I suspect these kinds of products could be harder to market because you have to convince folks of the value of the platform.  I find that convincing folks with words alone is tough, but with examples its easier.  This was definitely the case when I founded TabbedOut (about half the people didn't get it when it was explained verbally pre-launch, but after we launched, then like magic everyone got it and there never was a question thereafter).
If this is a platform/infrastructure, I would suggest figuring out a marquee vertical product that uses your platform, and maybe promote that first.  Then you'll have something concrete to point to, to show the how and why and value of your platform you built it with.

Mike Whitfield Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google

March 14th, 2014

Vlad, I also need to update the KS FAQ with specific comparisons to Angular.  Thank you for reminding me of that.  It's kinda been tough to figure out a prioritization schema because I also need to put up a splash page and I do have tons of documentation that is ready to go online as well.  I don't know how much to balance just proceeding as I have for the last 3 years and responding directly to other people's more immediate need to see something.  I guess in some ways the dollar is what determines judgment on this.

Thank you very much for your feedback.  I'd also note I am happy to talk about my journeys with anyone further.  For instance, one of the first things I did on FD was download the entire contact database of ~2.5k founders.  I've got over a million item records from Craigslist.  Once you start viewing the internet like this, you kinda start reflecting how we have been under Google-rule for the last 10 years.  It's pretty liberating ****.  **** the money, I hope I can bring these feelings to other people and it is a little weird and out-there.