I had this conversation with Tom Dudderidge shortly after he and his partner successfully wrapped up their Kickstarter campaign the NudeAudio Super-M Bluetooth Speaker. Tom shares a lot of nuggets in this lengthy interview. It’s a long read but well worth your time. Opposed to most Kickstarters they already were an esatblished company by the time they campaigned. This caused quite a few unique thoughts, challenges and approaches. Tom and his team pledged for $75,000 USD and ended up raising a total of $839,834 USD.
Me: Please introduce yourself in a few words.
Tom: Together with my partner, Peter Riering-Czekalla and a couple of more silent partners, we’re the founders of NudeAudio, a San Francisco based startup audio brand. That’s just finished its first Kickstarter campaign.
Describe your product, the one that you just recently ran your campaign for in one to three sentences?
We just completed our Kickstarter campaign for the Super M which is a very important new product for us. It follows up on the move line of portable Bluetooth speakers that we launched just over a year ago. And Super M is a waterproof and sand-proof Bluetooth speaker with an 8 hour battery life which has very, very high audio performance, particularly for its size and its price. The way that we achieve such great audio performance is really very simple. We just spend more of our money, the bill of materials on the acoustic side of the project than our competitors. So there’s no magic or special science involved. We just do the traditional things while spending more money than any of our competitors do in relationship to the price of our product.
Where can people best find you on the web?
Super M until now has only been available on Kickstarter. We’re just about to launch pre-orders for Super M on www.nudeaudio.com and then during the next 4-6 weeks we’ll also be preparing to launch a full blown web store on www.nudeaudio.com serving hopefully the entire planet.
What month and year did you start working on that project. I’m trying to get an understanding for the length of your product or project development phase that you had to face?
Understood. We first showed prototypes internally of Super M, which at that time were just cosmetic models, all the way back in Janurary 2014 and we didn’t launch our Kickstarter campaign until July 2014 and we’ll finally ship our first Super M product in September. The product was conceived several months before the initial models were shown internally so that would have been probably September of last year. So all in all, the development cycle was upwards of 12 months. What we did differently from several Kickstarter campaigns is that we decided early on that we would launch our Kickstarter really quite close to the readiness of the project. So we had in fact done most of the development prior to launching on Kickstarter, which is somewhat unusual becoming less unusual as time goes by. That’s why we are able to ship our product so soon after the end of our Kickstarter campaign even though the product took the regular 9-12 months to develop.
What’s the current size of your team, the ones working on that project?
Directly on the project, we have Peter and myself, plus one person assisting on the marketing side and we have fulltime support from one person from our parent company’s Hong Kong team. We do enjoy also access to the infrastructure of a slightly larger, still very small company which our parent company Disruptive. So if you were to even that out, I’d say it’s 6 people.
Are you comfortable stating the current monthly revenue that you derive if any at all from the current product that you’re developing? Is there any revenue at this point?
Super M has just come off of Kickstarter where we raised $839,000. I would be absolutely delighted to say that that’s our current monthly revenue, but In fact this is just the Kickstarter campaign. We’re moving into the pre-order phase now. And really, I’ll be able to tell you the monthly revenue of Super M maybe in 12 month’s time when we can take a look at the averages.
What crowd funding platform did you use, and why?
We chose to use Kickstarter as the crowd funding platform for Super M and that was basically because we felt that the community there was really very strong and the trust in that platform was also really very strong. So despite a couple of limitations of the platform itself, we decided that kickstarter was the right place for us. I think we’re pleased with that decision.
Where are you operating from?
That’s a particularly interesting question. The company is based in San Francisco, and that’s where Peter resides and where the product design is coming from. I’m a brit, and I live with my family in the UK but I spend most of my working time outside the Kickstarter period, between our Hong Kong and our San Francisco offices. And then our parent company, which is the company I’m also the CEO of is headquartered in Hong Kong.
Can you describe your product development process for the NudeAudio speaker from the first idea to the prototype to the ready-to-ship product? What were the phases in between?
Well, the initial phase would be Peter and I, and maybe some others figuring out what the market’s looking for and what our angles can be. And in the case of Super M, actually this was fairly obvious to us, because we had launched our previous range S and M we now knew in the previous range we basically decided to have small, medium, large. Each increasing in acoustic quality as the size of the product goes up and each increases in price. And our M size would therefore be in the middle of our price band, the middle size, and have the middle acoustic quality. But being at $69.00, we were really quite constrained with how much we could spend on the production of the product. And not withstanding this fact, the M was a really great product that was really loved, and is loved by our customers. It sounds really incredibly, particularly for its size and its price. And this grab and go size in the middle, which is basically around pocket sized, also proved to be where the market was at. And when looking at the M, we knew that there’s a very, very big market at $69.00, but actually there’s just as big of a market opportunity, maybe bigger at the $99.00 price point. We decided that $99.00 was a place we wanted to play with a product with an upgraded acoustic from the standard M. So deciding what you’re going to make in first instance, is probably the most important and one of the most difficult steps. In the case of Super M, actually, that was kind of obvious to us. The next step is figuring out the design of the product and how we’re going to do the acoustic setup, and yet figuring out all of the details of that. Peter, my partner, and the designer of all things NudeAudio, his background is at Idea in San Francisco. Normally with a design project like this, he won’t do every part of the work himself. He’ll pull together a team of designers, quite often ex-colleagues, or other guys from this German design community. In this case, he worked with a good friend of his and mine based in London and together they figured out the overall design of the Super M, which then gets past the engineers for feasibility studies and can figure out how we might go about making a product, doing things to these specifications with this general design. At that point, the thing we’d really like to do is engage the development team at our manufacturing partner and we like to do a collaborative design where the manufacturing partner is at every step of the way providing their advice about manufacturability, feasibility, and the costs of manufacturing. It’s very important for us to control manufacturing costs throughout our design project, simply because NudeAudio products are priced quite aggressively. So, the team is basically our design and product team, lead by Peter, and our engineering team in Hong Kong, lead by our project engineering manager, and then our manufacturing partner providing their input. It’s around this stage, where first prototypes will be produced and cosmetic models will start to be produced. In the case of Super M, this phase was happening between January and April, and then you go into the full development phase. This is I guess the most in-depth phase of development, several prototypes are produced during this time, we’ll be selecting particular components, making deals with component manufacturers, and securing supply lines and prices for the components we intend to use, aiming for a lockdown in all of these parts before the tooling takes place. In our case, the tooling commenced from memory around May, and that would normally take up to about 12 weeks for the tooling to be completed. By the time we launched the Kickstarter campaign in the middle of July, we were already at the point where the tooling was very, very highly developed. In fact, we accelerated that process in order to produce a reasonable quantity of pre-production prototypes to help promote the Kickstarter campaign. That meant that the tooling was slightly ahead of the overall development schedule in this particular project. Then it’s down to mechanical, cosmetic, and of course speaker performance tweaking and fine tuning. That process continued all the way through our Kickstarter campaign, and actually early on, in the month we were on Kickstarter we actually made a fairly significant change to one of the most important components, the speaker drivers; which created a lot of extra work, but proved very worthwhile because the performance of the product was enhanced fairly significantly at no additional cost to our backers. For us, it was quite visible throughout the campaign that we were in the fine tuning stages, and we tuned the speaker and it was really in a twilight days of the campaign that I finally had a fully tuned acoustic golden sample which I was then able to take into the lab and test in a video that we then published to our backer community which was really cool. For us, we closed our campaign last Friday, so we’re 5 days into this post-campaign period, and actually our mass production will commence sometime in the next 8-10 days. Then we will start shipping to our backers in September.
Since you were an established company with a business structure already setup in the background. Did you have any one biggest struggle during your product development process that you think people or other Kickstarters might be able to relate to, most likely the ones that don’t have the business structure as you did and what was your solution to it?
Well actually, I’m going to turn that question on its head, because for us, unlike many or most crowd funding campaigns for technology products, we were very mature as a product development organization and particularly as a product development team. On top of that, most of the hurdles that we would need to overcome in a regular product development project had been overcome before we launched our Kickstarter campaign, but as I said, I’ll turn it on its head. For us, the biggest challenge of the Kickstarter campaign, where we were learning the most and where we were taking all of our risks was on the marketing side. The NudeAudio brand is very young and its marketing approach, at least until the beginning Kickstarter campaign was very much in its infancy. Our campaign was very professionally produced, this was for me and the team associated with it, the first time we had ever done anything like this. In fact, the marketing director responsible for the NudeAudio brand until a couple of months before the Kickstarter campaign, left the business in the lead up to the Kickstarter campaign. I created a new team from scratch to deliver the campaign, so that was really where our biggest challenges lay. As I said, we’re very pleased with the outcome result and all of the content we created, actually, this came from us doing it for the very first time, with really very little experience.
You have already been very deep into your niche, so from your experience, how important is it for other kickstarters to really know the market they’re getting into in advance, before they start their campaigns?
I guess there’s two answers to that question, which are kind of against each other. On the one side, it’s very good to be prepared, to really understand your market, and to prepare all of the marketing side very, very well. That has paid dividends for us, and we spent several months preparing for the beginning of the campaign, maybe even in some ways too long because we were nervous about succeeding or failing very publicly and we really wanted to be very well prepared. And one mistake that I think I see from many other Kickstarter campaigns, many of them contacted us during our campaign and said “we’re 10 days into our campaign, and we were wondering how did you get so much coverage and so many backers in the first few weeks of your campaign?” I think if you’re 10 days into your campaign and you’re starting to ask these questions then unfortunately you’ve really left it far, far too late, because there was several months of planning involved in the first hour of our campaign. The battle plan for the first hour took months, so that’s one piece of very strong advice I’d give. On the flip side, the opposing answer, is that Kickstarter is really the most incredible place to discover who you are as a brand. You know, there’s an old adage to say “a brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what the people that you’re marketing to say it is.” And that really can be defined through the campaign, very much so for us has been. We’ve learned so much about our audience, what they react to, how to appeal to them, about what they love and hate, about what they want. So while it’s very good to try to understand as much as you can before you always come out of the other end of the campaign, understanding 10 times as much as you did going in. It’s a wonderful thing.
What is your initial intention behind opting for crowd funding?
We could have launched the product that we launched on Kickstarter in a more traditional way, and that’s what we had done with our previous arranged products S, M, L and Studio 5, in fact, we have a network of distributors around the world who would have been very pleased for us to deliver them our next range of products. We weren’t crowd funding for the traditional reasons of needing our backer’s money to start or complete the development project or to get into production as such. For us, it goes back to my answer to the previous question. We knew that with NudeAudio, that we had an incredible idea for a brand and a philosophy. We had developed really terrific products, and we knew that they were terrific because everyone we had sold them to or shown them to in the year since we had launched, had loved the brand, it’s philosophy, and the products. That was evident with press reviews, consumer reviews and everything else. We really did have a marketing challenge, which was very difficult for a company of our size to easily overcome. We are in a very crowded market dominated by very well funded, well publicized businesses with enormous amounts of celebrity endorsement, etc. For us to stand out in the crowd is incredibly difficult. Before we invested the next couple of years of our lives in the NudeAudio project, we wanted to really test, if we tell this story properly, does it resonate? Do people want these products? Can we be a mass market success? If we prove that we can, then it will be worth us investing our time, our team’s time, our money, maybe even other people’s money, in making that a reality and scaling the business up to try and compete with those very well funded brands that are out there. The experiment for us, was really about validating the brand, validating the market for our products, and starting the process of growing the brand in people’s consciousness. In that respect it has been a really successful campaign.
How much did you know about crowd funding when you started, do you have any prior campaigns or any experience with it at all?
I started being interested in crowd funding a couple of years ago, and as I said before, it has taken me some time to actually come into it myself. The first campaign I backed was very successful in terms of funding, but they still haven’t delivered me my rewards. I thought at the time that I was buying products. It was in September 2012, and I thought I was purchasing Christmas gifts for that year. That project turned out to be one of the high profile projects that failed to deliver products to its backers. I won’t mention the company by name because they are still in existence, and still trying to deliver their rewards to their backers. I think while they made some big mistakes along the way, their heart is in the right place and they’re really trying to do the right thing so I won’t publically shame them. But that really taught me a lot about crowd funding and probably influenced my decision to make sure that the Super M project was really in good shape before we even hit the crowd funding market. I spent a couple of years researching, and gradually increasing the intensity of my research. I think it’s fair to say that we were well researched and I had made myself at least as much of an expert as I felt I needed to be before we started planning our campaign. Actually, our next move will be to do a very different kind of campaign, probably back on Kickstarter – still for NudeAudio, but this time we’ll be doing a much higher risk kind of crowd funding campaign where we’ll be doing the crowd funding much earlier in the development process than with Super M. It’ll be a longer campaign, with a longer lead time which will have more risk but also much more possibility for our crowd to get involved in forming that product. We’re really excited and just starting the planning for that project right now.
In what way, if at all did you protect your idea (intellectual property) and from your experience, how important is it for a new business or a new product on Kickstarter to protect ideas before they are pitched to the public?
I did state that we’re not using any magic or any special technology. I have a pair of KEF Q Series in my living room which I bought a couple of years ago that were very expensive but also don’t use any magic or special technology. What they do use is great acoustic design, and very high quality components. Really that’s the key to making a great speaker. I’m of a school of thought that says that using lots of heavy DSP, particularly in a small speaker, really doesn’t help to make the speaker to sound amazing. Many of our competitors are using a lot of DSP to try to make their speaker sound like something that it’s not and effectively uses what they call psychoacoustics, which are using special algorithms, and digital signal processing to trick the brain into thinking that it’s hearing something that the ears are not actually hearing. The design philosophy from the acoustic side is just to design it well acoustically, use the best components that we can, and have a nice clean audio path. That’s the path to a better speaker. I think for everyone that’s heard the Super M before, that’s proving to be a very good choice. For us, there’s no real special technology or intellectual property for us to protect. The fact is, as soon as you go to market with any product, unless you actually patent that particular piece of technology or a piece of intellectual property then you’re putting yourself at risk. The only way to prevent that beyond the means that I explained before is to not put it out there, but that doesn’t help you market your products either. Of course our trademarks are protected, our philosophy about design is to be very open about how we go about doing things, and I’m sure we’ll have some copy cats purporting to do similar kinds of things, but actually our story is very different from what most of our competitors are doing from a product design perspective. It is kind of the way we are to be open about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and I don’t think that there’s really much risk involved for us in that.
How did you prepare for your campaign, is there anything special you’d like to have on the record?
Refining our story was the first step, it took an amazingly huge amount of time and debate between Peter and I and then some of the guys that we brought in to help us. That led onto the project of creating the video and creating all of the assets that we used, which is another story. The next step is creating the crowd, that’s where a lot of the planning was involved. Crowd funding is not about broadcasting your story out. A mistake that a lot of people make is thinking the community at Kickstarter is their crowd. Of course there is a community there, and you can raise money within the Kickstarter community, but the whole purpose of the platform is as a place to bring your crowd. The crowd planning side of things was very important. There’s no particular magic involved, it’s about building crowds, it’s about going out into the community and pulling people into the story, creating fans, and finding influences. That’s work that took 10-12 weeks prior to the planning prior to the campaign launch and involved us gifting a lot of our existing product to people in order to help form their opinion, and to help engage them and their friends. Having a pre-built crowd prior to the launch of the campaign was very important. Also, we pulled together lists of literally everyone we knew and everyone who was close to us knew. That resulted in us having an opt-in e-mail list of several thousand people from whom we were able to communicate the launch of the campaign. Then it was a matter of creating our story, our policies, our rewards and presenting that story on the Kickstarter page and honing down the video which we then tested. The first cut of the video, was ready a month before the campaign, and after two weeks of testing, we went all the way back to the drawing board and then recreated the edit. Essentially we recreated the video from scratch having scrapped the video that we had originally thought was going to be our launch video, creating a bunch of extra work, but we’re very pleased to have had that buffer time in our campaign planning. We had a communications plan and a content plan throughout the entire campaign. If you look at the story of our campaign, we posted updates every day and a half on average, and probably about the first week’s worth was solidly planned prior to the launch of the campaign. After the first few days we realized that we’re kind of like a TV channel, we’ve got to put out programming every day. We’ve got to take these people on this ride. What do they want to see next? What did they enjoy about what we put out previously? And then we had a few lucky breaks along the way where some of our collaboration partners either created for us or allowed us to create some really amazing content. The month of the campaign, it was all about the community, all about creating this content and pumping it out to the community.
Do you have any resources (books, websites or other publications) that you would recommend for people looking into starting a Kickstarter campaign?
I am sort of an adventurer, I don’t like to be told what the rules are, I like to figure them out by myself, or just break them. We didn’t really read a book or instruction manual but the best place where I grabbed some tips very early on in my planning was from Tim Ferriss. He wrote a great blog piece about a campaign he was involved in called Soma. Tim Ferriss is a cool guy anyway, and actually we discovered that quite a lot of his claims in that blog were not 100% true because he talks about not having a PR company, but we know he did. And there was some other claim that he made which wasn’t 100% true, but not withstanding those slight inaccuracies which I’ll give him because he’s Tim Ferriss – it was still an amazing source of great advice.
How would you rate the importance of having mentors of some kind for the average Kickstarter?
I made it my personal business to get in touch with the creators of every campaign that I loved or every campaign that I felt that we could learn from. Most of the time, people were willing to give me a bit of time, either take a meeting or a call. In the end it probably came down to about 10 individuals, half who come from brilliant campaigns and half from emerging crowd funding industry; some people gave me really, really good advice and gave me chunks of their time. That was really appreciated. I recommend anybody to make sure that they have their campaign looked at by creators as we did, and follow good advice from others (either from a blog or from real people.)
How did you structure the campaign and decide on what story specifically that you wanted to tell about your product and which elements of the story of your campaign do you believe pulled people in the most?
I would hope that it was a nice balance. There were elements in our story about heritage and background, previous experience, and competence which I think will have given people that confidence. We had endorsement, particularly from Hugh Padgham but also from others, again, to build trust. The story is as much a brand and philosophy story as it is a product and features story. One of the things that was missing in the first round was when people said “yeah, I believe you, but I wouldn’t have gotten to the end of the video.”
How did you calculate which rewards you were going to give?
We seemed to have got it pretty right in terms of the number of early bird and super early bird prizes we put out there. That was based on a sort of fairly ambitious projection of where I wanted the campaign to go. We set our target based on a number which would have made the campaign make sense and would ensure that we could get into mass production without having to find orders from elsewhere. That’s where that $75,000 target came from. We always planned to do a number significantly higher than that. We always hoped for $300,000-$500,000 or more. Having 3,000 early bird rewards available, meant that in the event that we were successful, we would have plenty of time and further backers at the regular Kickstarter price of $99.00. The number wasn’t based on any formula or calculation, it was based on aspiration, hope and preparedness in our own assessment of how well prepared we were. I don’t think that we could have pegged it more perfectly. Just over half of our backers were early bird or super early bird and the other half paid full price. In terms of the other rewards, we didn’t introduce the multipacks accept for the 10-pack until after the early bird period, then we decided to add them because we had so many requests to add a second, three, four or “how do I buy more than two but less than 10?” Based on this, we decided to add the multipacks. Some of the other rewards were just there for fun. We had this corporate pack where you could add a message. It was a way of adding a premium to a 10-pack. We also had this pantone “make-your-own-color”, which we thought would capture the imagination. We tried to promote it in the press, but no one really picked it up. The two that we put there, did both sell. And then we had these master classes, and they were really there because we were told that you have this idea of a super backer on Kickstarter who wants to spend a bunch of money. What could we offer that really had value? We felt that because we all had a bunch of experience in the marketplace, there might people that would be looking to launch their own company or campaign, and who would be willing to invest in spending a few days with us. In retrospect, putting those on there, probably didn’t give the most amazing impression to the rest of the community. If anything, if given my time again, I’d probably withdraw those. Actually, the master class with me did sell for $5,000 to one lucky guy so I’ve got that to look forward to in the coming weeks.
What media channel do you think was most effective in your marketing to creating buzz around the start of your campaign? Was it traditional media, TV, radio, personal networks, or content marketing in the form of blogs or social media?
Definitely our crowd and word of mouth, following that would be online media including high profile blogs. We did get a very high profile piece of TV coverage in the U.S. We won a competition on CNBC where they pick two Kickstarter campaigns each week, have the public vote for which one they think should win, then interview the winner of that vote. We won that, I was interviewed live, mid-day, on a Friday on CNBC and broadcast across the States. Although that was an amazing piece of coverage, we can’t pinpoint a rise in our backer numbers as a result of that piece of coverage, at least not directly. There wasn’t any one piece of press coverage that we see that had an incredible impact on our campaign. We had several that are tracked by Kickstarter – probably 20 different blogs and publications – and I think of those, TechCrunch may have driven the most traffic by about 100 backers. You really do need to get way out there. I think that the power of crowd funding, your own friends and family, spreading the word through social media must be the most powerful tool that we had at our disposal.
How far in advance do you think people should start preparing for a campaign?
At least 12 weeks. It is so important to be well prepared and well planned, to test your content and your story amongst your friends and family and to build up that crowd. That takes a lot of time, and it’s not something that you can do half way through your campaign and expect to be successful.
What did the days throughout the campaign look like, in terms of actually running the campaign while it was online?
Me and my sister, who was stationed in the UK throughout the campaign were working 18 hour days, and then Peter the same, but on a different time zone. We were the ones putting the most into the campaign as it ran. There was also a lot of work going on the product development from our development team as well. The day for me tended to start with a good 4-5 hours just with the community and catching up on what had been going on overnight. We decided early on we would both reply to every message we’d receive and to every comment we’d receive which we pretty much stuck to throughout the campaign. A third of the time was spent managing messages and communications with the community, which I think we have done as good a job on as any other campaign in history, a third of the time was spent on content – informative stuff, educational stuff, or just fun stuff to communicate with our backers either by filming a video, copywriting, working on visual assets. Finally the last third of the day was spent on my normal day job, managing the business, managing the people, overseeing the development project, and overseeing other parts of the business as well. It was very, very intensive. I was actually warned by another creator, just in the few days before the campaign “I hope you know what’s coming at you, it’s a wild ride, and it’s an unstoppable freight train from start to finish.” In the event that you’re running a successful campaign, it’s exactly that.
Is there one moment throughout your campaign that you would consider would be the main tipping point in your campaign where you probably knew that your campaign would be successful?
It’s funny, the highs and lows, or the highs and mids of the campaign, we had always planned on a big burst at the beginning of the campaign. It actually lined up a lot of our crowd, a lot of the press, a lot of the e-mail communications, social media communications and all of our influence were all lined up to start shouting on day one. The result was that we hit our $75,000 target in our 19th hour and ended our first day with $100,000. And that kind of momentum kept up, probably for about three days before slowing right down to a steady stream of backers on a daily basis. I guess we spent the middle two weeks, working with our crowd, working to get content out there, working to keep the whole thing really interesting, and trying to find ways to bring back the momentum. Finally that momentum flooded back at us in the last week. If you look at a graph of our campaign, it’s almost a perfect “S” with a big boost at the beginning, and a big acceleration at the end as well with a flat bit in the middle. If we stop measuring the success of the campaign in dollars and instead measure the success of the campaign in engagement, which actually really is the big prize coming out of at least our crowd funding campaign, as we now have this highly engaged audience of backers – really we call them fans, many of them we call friends – , I think the tipping point for creating love from our crowd probably came somewhere at the tail end of week one, where we first started putting out really funny content and people were giving us really positive feedback. That’s when we realized that this content machine was an amazing tool for achieving our goal which was to create engagement with a big community of people. I think for us that’s the tipping point, when we realized that we weren’t just going to have financial success, but we’re also going to come out having created this amazing fan base.
Is there a key marketing lesson that you learned and what would you do differently next time?
It’s all about experience. It’s all about content. I was already pretty convinced about content marketing, of experiential marketing going in as a concept, but I’d never really been directly involved in doing this stuff in practice and feeling it’s impact on a community of people. I think that cemented those ideas in my mind as a young marketer forever. I think we’ll be looking at how do I keep that early momentum going longer, and how do I get that late momentum going sooner? I’ll be looking at how I can change that curve so that we can raise more money and attract more people through the campaign than we did this time around. I certainly haven’t figured out any regrets just yet.
What do you believe is the most crucial talent in terms of people to have on your team to run a successful campaign?
The ability to create that content and farm it out every day. My sister, Joanna was a new member of the team, obviously we’ve known each other a long time, but she wasn’t working with our business until a few weeks before the beginning of our campaign. She became the hub of our content factory, and that created several of the late nights. Together with Peter who was involved in a lot of the asset creation as the DNA of NudeAudio. So that’s obviously a very important skill. I think good communication skills, good work ethic for communicating with that crowd. The crowd is an interesting thing. It can be one of the most wonderful things in the world, and once in a while, it can turn on you. Having the skills to bring the crowd back around to your way of thinking when the comments page has turned against you briefly. That’s a really interesting skill set. The key thing is having a great product and knowing how to tell the story. Be honest, be open, and listen to the crowd. If you can do that, you can have a successful campaign.
How did you move on or how do you plan on moving on now that you’re done with the campaign, what is the biggest struggle at this time, what can people expect once they close their campaigns?
Impatience on the part of the backers is a luxury problem I guess. If people are desperate to have their hands on your product, then you’ve done something well. In our case, that impatience will be satisfied pretty quickly because we’ll start shipping in a couple weeks but I can imagine for a creator who’s got a six month cycle between the end of a campaign and actually delivering a product, that’s a long wait for the backers. I can imagine that holding that crowd together and keeping it feeling good about you and about your brand and everything else during that time must be a big challenge. I’ve seen some creators do it very well, and I’ve seen many do it very badly, so I think that will be a very big challenge. Right now we are working hard in the final stages of the product before we go to mass production. With nearly 8,000 backers, figuring out the color selection, add-on selection, and shipping details of that 8,000 strong crowd is a huge undertaking and something that we’ve been worrying about quite a lot. We’re now signed up to a service called Backer Kit, which appears to be a really solid solution for organizing your crowd, or having your crowd self organize itself into categories: different rewards, different colors, add-on selections, different shipping details, etc. That’s the main area that I’m working on over the next week or so, and hopefully we’ll break the back of that. Then I’ll be spending my time figuring out how to take this incredible crowd who will be fulfilled with a terrific product, and to take all of that good feeling and send it to them and try to replicate it and multiply it out there in the market ready for the Super M’s launch into retail which will happen later on this year. We will then get ready for our next Kickstarter campaign which will likely happen early next year. Beyond the next year, we are very ambitious with the NudeAudio brand. We want to take our philosophy of making better speakers at more accessible prices up to the next level, and we want to start competing with the big guys in the industry on the big stage on a worldwide basis. The next stages are the next Kickstarter campaign, the next couple of Christmas’s and who knows what will come next after that.
If you could give only one piece of advice to people in a similar situation as the one you were in, what would that piece of advice be?
Be prepared. Be very prepared. However much you think you need to be prepared, try to be three times as prepared as that.
Parting words from Tom Dudderidge:
Please, anyone who thinks they’ve got a really awesome campaign, and wants some advice – please contact me through NudeAudio.com. If I can spare the time and I think your campaign is awesome, then I’d be very, very happy to share my ideas.