This post is about my findings and experiences with the Surfr App Kickstarter thus far. The premise of the Kickstarter is to raise funds to develop an app that will enrich the lives of the surfing community by allowing them to document and share their surfing adventures. I knew going into it that I’d be dealing with a very fickle group of people and reaching critical mass wouldn’t be easy. Here’s a snapshot of the project so far.
Surfing Related Kickstarter Projects that got Funded
Prior to launching, I studied a handful of surfing related projects posted on Kickstarter and the takeaway was that the funded projects were posted by people with industry influence like:
Pro Surfer Lakey Peterson – “Zero to 100 – A Lakey Peterson Story”
Former editor of Surfer Magazine, Matt Warshaw – “Encyclopedia of Surfing” which BTW was very kind to respond to my message to him saying, “As far as getting media exposure, all you can do is just sent the KS link to everybody you know, and cold-call surf mag and website editors. Everybody is so hungry for content these days, they’ll get the word out.”
Movie Producer, Bryan Jennings of Walking on Water Productions – “Beyond Sight”
What about the Surf Industry?
Based on the feedback from peers and strangers, I know that the case to fund Surfr is compelling but I’m finding that the vision isn’t being embraced by the surf industry. Truthfully, the fact that it hasn’t is no surprise to me. When I was analyzing the variables for funding I knew that influencing this particular industry would be a real problem (for so many reasons I won’t mention). From experience working on other projects I found that media publications and companies within the surf industry are incredibly difficult to enchant because of their own agendas. With that, I’ve worked through the scenarios in my head, either editors/people haven’t seen the video or they don’t have an affinity for the project because it didn’t come from someone they know. i.e. a credible source
Time for a different approach…
As with any campaign, it’s important that the right audience is targeted at the right place and at the right time. Based on the initial feedback from the project, I’ve found that the majority of the people backing Surfr App are actually not surfers.
Here’s a great example of that: I recently received a $250 pledge from @LifeOnMobile a tech blogger out of Texas because he simply believes in the project and thinks it’s a cool idea.
So what is my conclusion regarding backers? Well, I have a few…
My gut tells me that some of the people that have seen the Kickstarter project are waiting to back it because they want to see how close we get to our goal.
Others that have seen it are not familiar with Kickstarter and don’t completely “get it” so they simply pass the link on instead of donating.
Then there are some people that will likely wait to back it as we near the end of the project window.
Lastly, there are the non-visionaries.
i.e. The surf industry editor that wants to see if the project gets backed before s/he writes about it, as if that is the litmus for viability. This person glazes over the fact that the audience reading his/her words will benefit from the app being published.