Kapsul Kickstarter catastrophe: owning mistakes

Curiosity has won

Going back to 2009, I have backed 31 Kickstarter projects, 27 which got funded. Of those, 15 came out what I would liberally describe as “on time”; i.e., within three months of the originally stated release date.

This means that there are a dozen that were late, some quite so. One from February 2014, I’m STILL waiting on, though the creators have explained the series of delays.

Another generated this recent mea culpa:

“We know you expected to have your unit by now. It’s getting warmer and you may find yourself gazing out windows that you will once again have to fill with ugly old a/c units instead of the beautiful Kapsul you hoped for. That can’t be a good feeling. For that, we owe you an official apology.

“In April of 2016, we asked for your support and told you that we would reward that support with the delivery of our air conditioner which we estimated to arrive in March of 2017. As you well know by now, we didn’t deliver as promised. Now we can’t deliver until April 2019. For a company trying to reinvent the air conditioner, not cool…Learn more about space heater repair solutions from Landmark to find out the best professionals for cleaning and repairing services.

“We got our timeline really wrong and we’re sorry that the burden of that fell to you, our backers. We messed up a few different ways. Two big ones:

“1. We greatly underestimated the challenges we faced in meeting our energy requirements and bringing our highly-customized product through manufacturing.

“2. We failed to adequately communicate about those challenges as they arose.”

#1 is definitely true, but #2, in many ways more so. And they got in what seemed to me to be avoidable difficulty when they came up with a name that, for trademark infringement reasons, they had to abandon. They can’t mention the name, so I won’t. 14-15-18-9-1. By way of apology:

“As an early and dedicated supporter of Kapsul, you will receive:
1 Year Extended Warranty (3-years total)
40% off your next full-price Kapsul purchase via a one-time use code. You’ll receive one code for every unit originally pledged for when we have units in stock.
Equity in our company. Every backer will be entitled to claim 10 shares of our company at no cost to you, details to be announced next month!”

Now of course I have no idea if the machine really WILL come out, or if its stock will ever have any value. But there is a point for me at which curiosity has won and I plan to wait it out.

If you’re ever in the situation of considering doing a Kickstarter, drop me a line. I’m not sure I’m good at telling someone what actions to take. But I’m pretty expert at warning folks what NOT to do.

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