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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)

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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

Social Media for the Everyman [Guide]

3 Oct

Are you stressed out because social media seems like an unclimbable mountain? Have you seen your competitors take advantage of these digital tools with great success? Do you wish there was a guide to just get started? Changing the Way You Work has compiled an easy to digest five step process just for you!

CWYW’s Social Media for the Everyman, is perfect for small business owners who are overwhelmed by the perceived enormity of social media. In this guide we will cover pertinent resources and point you in the direction of some excellent advice on how to effectively utilize social media.

Social Media for the Everyman

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Step 1: Observe

– Know your audience. This means establish your goals early and stick to them. Once they are defined, it is all about your audience. In the Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank often harps on the importance of knowing your customer. Blank continues to say, “Products developed by founders who get out in front of customers early and often, win.” Think of your social media content as your product. In order to deliver a product your customers want, get out and talk to them! Once you have done this, it is time to put on your thinking hat and start brainstorming.

Step 2: Brainstorm 

– Analyze your audience. Is your audience on social media? If so, what social media networks are utilized by your target audience? What kind of content is consumed by your audience? All of these questions must be answered before going ahead to step three. Do some survey research with your current customers and find out what kind of content they would like to see from you. Check out sites like Social Media Today or Marketing Profs for more information on getting to know your customer. Remember this is social media, so the content must actually come from a living person who will interact with other users. After this research, write EVERYTHING down and move on to consolidation.

Step 3: Consolidate 

– Step into the audience’s shoes. Now that you understand your target audience, it is time to start thinking like them. What kind of content would I want to see if I was a customer? What kind of content is provided by the competition? Is it engaging? After all, content is king and consistency is essential to your content getting to the throne. How often would your customers like to see you posting? If consistency of content is an issue, we recommend a tool like Buffer. This social media tool allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time and is an excellent tool for all of the busy small business owners who don’t have the time to write new content everyday.

Step 4: Deliver 

– Speak to your audience. Now that you understand your audience’s needs, it is time to move on to the fun part, posting your content. Determine a realistic posting schedule from the get go. Keep in mind, while this is advertising, it is by no means passive. Interaction and engagement are essential to successful social media implementation. As you deliver your content, be transparent by responding to comments as often as possible. A great book for everyone to read on the topic of social media is Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform. It contains everything you need to know about building a successful online platform and is essential reading for anyone trying to get a better handle on the world of social media.

Step 5: Assess 

– Research your audience’s response. You have done everything up until this point and are delivering consistent content to a semi-engaged audience… Now what? Assess your performance and look at your goals. Are your goals still realistic and achievable? Do you have new goals? The assessment step is essential to your plan’s success. Without it, your online presence will not continue to improve. Make use of online monitoring tools like Google Analytics or the analytics tool in Buffer to see where your customers are coming from and how engaged they are with your content. Once you have redefined your goals, return to step two and repeat.

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These steps, while not comprehensive, will get you on your way to establishing a social media presence. For the full effect, we strongly encourage you spend extra time in the “consolidation” and “assessment” phases. These phases are essential to focusing your plan and speaking directly to your target audience. For further inspiration in the art of focusing we suggest the biography of Steve Jobs. Known for his short temper and genius, Jobs was even more famous for his ability to cut the fat. Learn from his example and do the same to your social media strategy.

We hope you enjoyed our guide of Social Media for the Everyman. If you have any suggestions or a different opinion please comment! We would love to hear from you.

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Our Favorite Kickstarter Projects (August 2012)

6 Aug

Kickstarter was a tremendous way to get the word out about Clipboard+ Going forward, we would like to contribute back to this fantastic community by staying involved through contributing to projects and providing simple monthly updates of our favorite Kickstarter projects. Please share your favorite Kickstarter projects for August in the comments section!

Art

Pixel Portrait Poster Project

This project is about creating 8-bit pixel portraits for up to 800 kickstarter backers, and bringing them all together into a beautiful limited edition art print!

Comics

The Mighty Titanby Joe Martino

5 Issue Miniseries that wraps Joe Martino’s cancer in a superhero shell. Who will protect The Mighty Titan’s alter ego from cancer?

Dance

And lose the name of action

An evening-length dance by Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People exploring embodied philosophy, neurology, improvisation and ghosts.

Design

Build Your Dreams

The PLY90 is a connector to build and bring your ideas to life. It’s like Legos for adults.

Fashion

Ahoy! Pirate shirts! by ManaTee Shirts

We love making funny shirts, and we love pirates. We decided to combine the two with these awesome new designs.

Film & Video

Behind the Diamond Curtain MineCon 2012

See everything that happens Behind the Diamond Curtain during MineCon 2012 at Disneyland Paris. Own a piece of the MineCon experience.

Food

The Boxcar Grocer

The Boxcar Grocer is making fresh food accessible to all communities.

Games

Castle Story

Castle Story is a voxel-based creative strategy game about building castles brick by brick and defending them against enemies.

Music

Flourishby Katie McNally

A debut album of original and traditional Scottish fiddle music!

Photography

The American (Photo) Road Trip

Join photog Kathryn Allen Hurni as she hops into the driver’s seat & shoots American homes: from NYC to the OC & everything in between.

Publishing

A How-To Guide for Freelance Video Game Journalists

Make a living by writing about video games? Hell yes! Break into the gaming industry with this detailed how-to guide for freelancers.

Technology

Oculus Rift: Step Into the Game

Developer kit for the Oculus Rift – the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.

Theatre

Twainfest

TwainFest 2012 – San Diego’s biggest FREE theatrical event celebrates Mark Twain and his contemporary writers on August 18, 2012.

 

We hope you enjoyed our review of our favorite Kickstarter projects from August 2012. Please comment below or on twitter @changeyourwork about some of your favorite Kickstarter projects from August.

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

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Simple Logic Gates –Minecraft Computer (Part 3)

12 Jul

Welcome to step 3 of “How to Build a Computer in Minecraft” Our last post explained Binary Code and how this code can be created using Redstone. In this post we will display simple constructs built in Minecraft called Logic Gates. These gates are made of Redstone circuits and combined with any of the following:

Simple Logic

Here is a key for the following diagrams. In our next post we will get deeper into other types of Logic Gates and advanced uses, but for today, let’s stick to these simple logic gates. Once you can build all seven of these gates you are well on your way to understanding how to build and operate a Minecraft Computer.

Not Gate

Also known as an inverter, the NOT Gate is used when you want the opposite output from the input you give.

AND Gate

An AND Gate is used with two or more switches or inputs. The output is “ON” only when both inputs are “ON”

NAND Gate

A NAND Gate is the opposite of an AND Gate and also has two inputs. The output is toggled to “OFF” only when both inputs are toggled to “ON”.

OR Gate

An OR Gate uses two or more inputs. Whenever the switch is toggled to “ON” the output is toggled to “ON”. The only time the output is “OFF” is when both inputs are “OFF”.

NOR Gate

A NOR Gate is the opposite of an OR Gate. Whenever at least one switch is toggled to “ON”, the output is toggled to “OFF”.

XOR Gate

An XOR Gate uses two inputs. In this gate, the output is toggled to “ON” when one switch is “ON” and one switch is “OFF”. If both switches are “ON” or “OFF” then the output is toggled to “OFF”.

XNOR Gate

An XNOR Gate is the opposite of an XOR Gate. It uses two inputs. When both inputs are either “ON” or “OFF” the output is toggled to “ON”. Otherwise, the output is toggled to “OFF”.

Here is a video version of the logic gates shown above. It is a straightforward look at Logic Gates with some very cool music! Thanks to the YouTube User Chaaozz for this simple video.

In our next post, we will continue to explore the many uses of Logic Gates in Minecraft, how to incorporate them into a computer, and share some of the cool stuff we have built. Stay tuned and make sure to check out Clipboard+ on Kickstarter! Only 5 Days left to Change the Way You Work.

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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.