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Being a College Student and Achieving Kickstarter Success – What we learned from Clipboard+ [Before Launch]

8 Dec Clipboard+ Successfully Funded on Kickstarter

For the past few months, we at Clipboard+ have worked very hard to fulfill the orders of our faithful Kickstarter backers.

Side note to Kickstarter backers: Thank you so much for your feedback and support. We couldn’t have done it without you. Since the success of our Kickstarter project, we have learned quite a bit and would like to share the resources we used and strategies developed along this fantastic journey.

Kickstarter Logo

Is this Kickstarter advice for me?

Since the other three co-founders are still in college and I am a recent graduate, we had to be quite creative in the implementation of our Kickstarter strategy. After many mistakes and a lot of research, we came up with some awesome guidelines that will help any project in any category. With our Kickstarter success and recent fulfillment, we thought it would be helpful to openly discuss the tactics we used.

You will benefit from this series of posts if:

  • You have no money/ no time, but still want to launch a Kickstarter project.
  • You are currently in over your head and a part of a launched Kickstarter project.
  • You are knee deep in customer orders from a recently funded Kickstarter project.

Clipboard+ & Kickstarter

Below, Clipboard+‘s efforts are divided into three different sections: Before Launch, During Launch, and Post Launch. In this post, we will exclusively discuss how to prepare Before the Launch of your Kickstarter project.

Part 1: Before Launch (The 3 R’s)

  • Research.

    Questions to ask: What is the scope of my project? How long will it take? What competing products have been successful/failed in the Kickstarter space? How much money do I need to complete this project? What content will be in my video? What will my project page look like? Who will support my idea? How will I reward my supporters? How will I get the internet’s eyes on my project? (*Adapted from 9 Essential Steps for a Killer Kickstarter Campaign by Mashable’s Stephanie Buck.) 

Here are screen shots of information you need to know, straight from the stats page on Kickstarter:

Kickstarter Statistics Projects & Dollars (Dec. 5, 2012)

Kickstarter statistics (Projects & Dollars)

(Related: check out the comprehensive 2011 statistics report published by Kickstarter.)

Below are excerpts from an infographic published by Apps Blogger titled “The Untold Story Behind Kickstarter Success.”

Kickstarter Margins of Failure & Success

The Untold Story of Kickstarter Stats

Chance of Success on Large Kickstarter Projects

Chance of Success on Large Kickstarter Projects

What Variables Matter?

Effect of Variables on Chance of Kickstarter Success

*Important Final Research Step:

Vet Your Idea. Stop talking about your new project! Step back and consider the possibility that it is a bad idea. Be critical. Step into a nay-sayers shoes and ask the hard questions. Also keep in mind, if your idea doesn’t create polarity, it also might not be a good idea. (It is a good thing if not everyone likes your idea.) If you can’t/ don’t now how to develop your own ideas, please refer to The Founder Institute’s Idea Development Guide.

  • Read.

    This should be thought of as an extension of your research. It includes blogs that could be interested in your project, other projects’ pages and social copy, news sources about Kickstarter and any recently successful Kickstarter projects. Reading to benefit your project is something that should be enjoyed. Kickstarter is meant to help fund a passion project, if you are not enjoying the necessary reading it might be worth reconsidering launching your project all together.

Tools to help you read more, faster:

RSS Feed (ex: Google Reader ) – aggregate content send to Instapaper.

Instapaper – Organize & read content.

Google Alerts – Track specific keywords and stay on top of your areas of interest.

Evernote – Write notes about impactful content and save url for future use.

  • Reach Out.

    Once you have read and researched, it is time to take your cool new idea and reach out to people that matter. Use the time you have spent reading and connect with the bloggers whose content you have genuinely enjoyed. At first, don’t even mention your project. Focus on making a real human connection and success will follow. If you want to make a genuine connection we highly suggest “the Impact Equation” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. It is a great read that is well worth your time and money.

Use these steps when contacting a blogger/ news outlet:

  1. Introduce yourself, your product, and the launch date.
  2. What the news is about.
  3. Why is it a big deal?
  4. Website access or screenshot of what you are launching.
  5. Your name, your telephone number & meaningful social network.
  6. P.S. – something meaningful, memorable

(Sales tip: Always remember a “no” is just one step closer to a “yes.”)

Final Thoughts

One of the most common Kickstarter slip-ups is not properly planning ahead. Make sure you have a clear idea of your timeline going forward. Keep your date of delivery always on top of mind. Additionally, make use of your networks. We had some great support from friends like, Roger Osorio, but failed to fully tap into our networks until mid way through launch. Our biggest misstep was not connecting with bloggers early enough. This early connection to people (bloggers), who can get your project noticed, requires time invested months before launch. Make it your goal to stay connected to at least five bloggers. This will make your path going forward much easier.

We would love to hear from you! Please comment if you have any additional information about how to prepare for Kickstarter pre-launch.

Thanks for reading. We will be back next week with “Being a College Student and Achieving Kickstarter Success” (Part 2 – During Launch)

Related Posts

Clipboard+ Progress and Purchasing Information

22 Oct

I’d like to thank everyone for their patience as we near completion of our initial manufacturing run.

Right now we are finishing up and anticipate being able to ship ideally within the next week. If you went to our website looking to purchase a Clipboard+ but were disappointed when you couldn’t figure out how to buy one, I apologize. The reason that we don’t have a store up on our current website is that we still haven’t fully completed manufacturing and are therefore would be unable to fulfill orders. However we’ve built an online store and plan to launch it in place of the current website once we have fulfilled all of the Kickstarter orders.

We plan to sell the Clipboard+ iPad for $50 and the Clipboard+ Smartphone for $25. Once the new site is online you will be able to place your orders through our store at http://www.clipboard-plus.com. In the meantime, please direct any questions you might have to me personally at kevin@clipboard-plus.com or our customer service address at info@clipboard-plus.com

7 Life Tips to Help You Become Smarter and More Productive

28 Jul

We all know that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to get good at something, say a new ability or skill, a good guideline is the 10,000 hour rule. But many of you reading this, like me, don’t have that kind of time. Instead, that best way to improve yourself is by taking little steps and forming the right foundation. The Great Pyramids were built from the ground up, and life is no exception.

1) Use your shower time to plan your day (and, you know, get clean)

This one’s easy, and falls under the category of “Making the Most of your Time.” Showers in the morning are great: they wake you up, get you smelling fresh, and prepare you to take on the day. This easy life hack helps you to organize your thoughts, and plan what the next few hours will entail. As soon as you get out, grab a piece of paper and write down the next five things you’re going to do. Productivity and organization go hand in hand, and this simple trick will improve both.

2) Question what you’re told

Growing up, we’re programmed to believe what we’re told by adults and authority figures. This is understandable, as we were children, and they knew better. But as much as it seemed they knew everything, that’s not always the case. In the age of smartphones and tablets, we have the ability to question everything we hear or read. Take advantage of that. You don’t want to be the person who says something you thought to be true, but someone else has the facts to refute it.

3) Learn something new everyday

We are incredibly fortunate to have grown up in the internet millennium. There is an infinite amount of information at our fingertips, so seize the opportunity. Develop an endless curiosity about the world, and always strive to learn more or delve deeper. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to use Stumbleupon. It’s easy to lose a few hours of your day on the site, but if you’re learning about something new or interesting, the time isn’t wasted.

“I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.” – Wade Garrett, Road House

4) Sleep less

They say you’re supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night. But scientists have also developed the uberman sleep schedule, where you can get by on two hours of sleep a day. So what’s the answer? Well, everyone’s different. Train your body to operate effectively and efficiently on six hours of sleep, and get two more hours out of your day. Sleep is satisfying, and sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed. But for people like us, that like being productive and getting things done, being awake is so much more fulfilling.

5) Drink more water, then drink some more

This is something I picked up on during my first year of college. Hydration is key. Although this is common sense, most people still don’t maintain proper water levels. Start carrying a water bottle, with Camelbaks being a great choice. Staying hydrated helps improve mental health and brain activity, your immune system, and to lose weight. Plus, you’ll have fewer hangovers. Need I say more?

6) Say “yes” more

Now, I’m not here to tell you to be Jim Carrey, and start saying “yes” to every situation that ever occurs. But really, say “yes” more than you already do. Every experience happens because you took the first step in that direction. Next time your friend asks you to help with something, do it. Go on that weekend trip you’ve always been talking about. Just by getting off the couch or your computer, you’re already ahead of the game. If you need some more encouragement, remember this?

7) Read books

“You don’t have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers?” This quote was taken from Fahrenheit 451, written by the late Ray Bradbury, a man who seemingly had a near perfect vision of the future 50 years ago. I saved this one last for a reason, as it’s the most important. Between the plethora of distractions of the digital age, from Facebook to Xbox to iPhones, books are being pushed to the back-burners. Read more books. Find something that interests you, and I guarantee you will learn something, improve your vocabulary, and feel the satisfaction of finishing what you started.

How to Get More Out of your iPhone’s Home Screen – Improved Layout with Launch Center Pro

23 Jul

Launch Center Pro made by App Cubby, is easily the most useful productivity apps on iOS.  We have discussed this app’s usefulness in our past post, The BEST iPhone Productivity App is Finally Here!  It is currently integrated with over 300 apps, but has the potential to work with any iOS app through App Cubby’s Developer Integration Guide. With so many options, we thought it would be helpful to discuss how to create an awesome layout guide for Launch Center Pro. Here is what we have come up with thus far:

Page 1 “App Home Screen”

My first page of apps is minimal with only four apps to allow for a large “swipe row”, in a design implemented by Steve Lyb on his blog Astro Aficionado. The “swipe row” allows for quick access to the second page without any accidental app launches.

Page 2

As you can see my folders are organized by action, instead of category. This technique puts the focus back on action-oriented productivity and cuts down on the amount of time spent staring at your phone wondering, “what next?” Kudos to Gina Trapani on Lifehacker for sharing the brilliant “action folder” approach. By condensing all of my apps on page 2 with action folders, we remove the need for multiple swipes from page to page searching for a specific app. Launch Center Pro further removes the need to go searching through folders, as it is lightning fast and can be programmed to access any app and perform and variety of actions.

Here is our current Launch Center Pro Layout:

Launch Center Pro (Home Page)

Quick Launch

Significant Other Group

Brightness

Bookmarks

Connect

Launch Center Pro is full of options and while we have tried our best to create the most efficient layout possible, we realize everything can be improved. Please feel free to make suggestions or share your own Launch Center Pro layouts in the comments below or join the conversation with us on Twitter @changeyourwork

Look out for future posts that will include the new layouts created by the CYWY team and community! Submit yours today and #changeyourwork

-Patrick

Related Articles

10 Jul

A wonderful post by Roger Osorio about success. It features an interview with Kevin Merlini, founder of Clipboard+ about the struggles of starting a company. Check out Roger’s blog and make sure to back Clipboard+ on Kickstarter and share this link on your social media networks!

Roger Osorio

In my last few posts, I’ve spent time focusing on learning, mistakes, and failure and how they relate to success.  Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with a young entrepreneur from Penn State University, Kevin Merlini, to discuss his new company Clipboard +.  I came to know Kevin via one of his co-founders, Patrick Ryan, whom I have been advising for over a year now.  Patrick connected us so that we could talk about the new startup and some of the lessons he learned along the way.

According to Kevin, Clipboard + “value(s) simplicity and functionality to help make your life easier. Since technology changes faster than your habits, we help you keep pace.”  Their product is a “personal mobile workstation, and there really isn’t anything else quite like it.  A must have for any smartphone power user.” 

In short, it’s clipboard meets mobile device…

View original post 483 more words

10 Applications to Help Combat the “Back to School Blues”

5 Jul

We have officially passed the ‘unofficial’ midpoint of summer, July 4th, which can only mean one thing…BACK TO SCHOOL! Yeah, anyone under the age of 22 doesn’t want to hear those words; for others, it can’t come soon enough. Whether you are excited or not; these apps will certainly help you transition back into the ‘school season’.

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iPhone

Evernote, as mentioned in my previous blog post will help you organize all of your to-do lists, audio recordings, pictures, and webpages.

However, I found an even awesomer (yes it’s a word) app for $0.99; that’s about 99.5% off retail! The Graphing Calculator app can graph multiple equations and you can even email yourself the results. It will not work in an advanced calculus class, but for those who have to take an introductory class of Calculus or Statistics this will work perfectly. You will most likely be unable to use this for a test, but for homework and classwork it will make your life easier. Who wants to carry that brick of a calulator with them anyways?

iPad

Most Apple Applications can run on iPhones and iPads, but the following are some that are best suited for the iPad’s larger screen:

CourseSmart is another avenue of purchasing your eTextbooks and eResources at deep discounts from the hard copy version. This app also allows you to view your text from your iPad, iPhone, or computer. The program is free; you just pay for your eBook like you normally would. (This application is also available on the Android Market).

This application, Stanza, slightly branches off from CourseSmart. Stanza allows you to download copies of ‘the classics’ that have fallen into the public domain (The Sorrows of Young Werther, The Waste Land, even Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as pictured at right). The texts are free and so is the app. You can also pay to download other, currently copyrighted, readings as well. The iPad’s ability with this app, rivals the Amazon Kindle, since the screen is larger and allows other programs to run as well (such as your music).

QuickOffice is as close to a windows tablet as you can get currently, until the Surface makes its launch. This app is not Office itself, but it allows you to edit documents from those programs. It pulls from your Dropbox or SugarSync folders, let’s you edit them, and then you can send them back to your cloud. You can also bring in Evernote documents. For $9.99 it sounds like a great deal to me!

iAnnotate PDF allows you to take notes, highlight, circle and just about anything else you can think of for $9.99. The price it a little steep, but it has more abilities than I can fit in this post. My favorite aspect is that you can use different highlighter colors depending on the content; also it makes sure you highlight in a straight line, something I seem to be incapable of doing. The app even allows you to add a secondary level of protection on your documents with another password; it also supports iOS data protection and Keychain functions. It will also flatten your files to keep them from being modified at a later time without your knowledge. Similar to Evernote, it also has a search function for all your documents. So you can easily find what you need, when you need it.

Android

I was only able to find one Android specific application ready to help combat the ‘Back to School Blues’; Layar. Layar is pretty epic looking, I must say. This application aggregates information from third party apps, such as Yelp and UrbanSpoon, and layers the information on your screen, as the camera scans your surroundings. You can choose what you are specifically looking for and narrow the results from the 1,500 layers they have in the database. Note: Apple has an app called Layar as well, but it has a different purpose.

There is also an app called Pocket, originally ReaditLater, which is Android’s version of Instapaper, which I explained in my previous post as well.

All Platforms

With the race in smartphone technology never ending, there are many applications that span from the iTunes Store to the Android Market seamlessly. Two of the best are Pageonce and GroupMe.

Pageonce helps you keep track of your bills and where your money is going. You can receive alerts BEFORE your bill is due, keep track of your cash and look how much you have put on your credit card all on one screen (as seen at right). Oh and it’s free! You can even pay your bills from the app for 30 cents, that’s less than a stamp.

Who actually likes group projects? Anyone…anyone? Exactly, but this app can make your life slightly easier when your class takes the “group work is essential to learning…” turn. GroupMe allows you to add all your members phone numbers to one unique number so you can text everyone, by texting that one number. You can also see where your members are through the GPS feature; no more Starbucks stops when you “forgot your papers at home and have to run back”. This app is free as well and will definitely be a timesaver when your group projects start piling up.

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As I write this post, and just about every other writing related thing I do, I have Pandora Radio playing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I CANNOT work in silence. I have to have music in the background and Pandora is my lifesaver. Late nights writing a paper; Pandora playing through my headphones. Reading Business Law; Pandora kept me sane. I am sure Pandora is not new to most of you, but it sure is a good old standby in terms of music. Pandora is run by the Music Genome Project and has 80,000 artists and over 800,000 tracks. You can create stations based ona genre, a couple singers/bands you like, or one of their preset stations (i.e. Sounds of Summer). A “Thumbs Up” keeps the song on your list, a “Thumbs Down” takes the song off your list forever. You can create a playlist completely tailored to you! Everyone can find music they like on here, and did I mention its free, and you can log into your account anywhere?

Back to ‘that which must not be named’ is on its way, but if we are prepared, we can make it through.

The BEST iPhone Productivity App is Finally Here – Get Launch Center Pro

28 Jun

Say Hello to Launch Center Pro

Launch Center Pro is the hottest app to hit the App Store since Angry Birds. It has completely changed the way we work with our iPhones. If this sounds like an app you would like to buy, invest now, as it is 40% off for the rest of June!

40% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME
Launch actions, not just apps!
It’s like speed dial, but for more than just phone calls! Launch Center Pro creates lightning quick shortcuts to specific features buried deep within apps. Call a loved one, message a friend, launch Instagram’s camera to quickly snap a pic, tweet, or turn your iPhone into a flashlight. Launch Center Pro gets you to where you’re going faster than ever before!

Sample shortcuts:

– Call your Mom
– Message a friend
– Email your boss
– Search Twitter using Tweetbot
– Create a new item in Omnifocus
– Search Yelp for nearby coffee shops
– Fire up Instagram’s camera, instantly
– Jump right to your favorite website
– Use the iPhone as a flashlight
– And so much more…

Launch Center Pro Reviews

Launch Center Pro has been on every major information outlet covering apps, iPhones and productivity. We were extremely impressed by the rave reviews and have included some of our favorites below. Enjoy!

  • “There’s no direct equivalent to such keyboard-based utilities on the iOS. But Launch Center Pro from App Cubby offers a robust, touch-driven interface that affords power users an impressively clever way to navigate the iPhone or iPod touch more quickly.” (Lex Friedman, Computer World)
  • “Launch Center Pro is an app of verbs. Search. Shoot. Call. Text. Add. In creating shortcuts you must pause and think about what you actually want to do. In a way, it’s akin to creating an effective to-do list. For example, “Friday’s presentation” is not an action step, but “outline presentation” is. The difference, of course, is the verb “outline.” As the clever demo video above explains, “Messages is an app. Messaging your friend is an action.” (Dave Caolo, TUAW)
  • “If you found yourself having to scroll through over nine shortcuts on a daily basis, like I have, then you will definitely welcome the new interface and easier layout for launching your favorite apps.” (Christine Chan, Appadvice)
  • “Launch Center was simple and brilliant. Launch Center Pro is simply brilliant. Go get it now while it’s on sale for only $2.99 in the iTunes App Store. It truly is a productivityist’s best friend.” (Mike Vardy, Vardy.me)

Final Thoughts

The beauty of Launch Center Pro is that it uses a menu system we all know and love, while also providing extensive icon customization. This missing feature is often pointed out as a weakness of the iPhone.

It is also easy to get bogged down with the thousands of available iPhone apps. Launch Center Pro consolidates all of the apps you need with a friendly action-oriented display, perfect for everyone from soccer moms to social media gurus. This app is one of the first to completely alter the way we use our phones. It is for that reason that Launch Center Pro is being named to our list of Essential Apps that Change the Way You Work.

Congrats and thank you to the team at App Cubby. You have an amazing product that has forever made our iPhones more efficient.

Feel free to contact us or give your own impressions of Launch Center Pro in the comments. Please follow us @Clipboard_Plus and support us on Kickstarter!

-Patrick