Wandering the reality of IoT, kits and crowdfunding…


Sometimes it is the little things that matter. In the case of IoT (CPS) devices the little ones are often the only thing that matters. From small cameras to unique sensors IoT devices are expanding rapidly. In fact, at a rate that is amazing frankly.

Why talk about that rate now? It is not to once again declare that I believe the analysts under estimated the number of deployed and deploying IoT devices. It is more a realization that the world is evolving and technology, once a catalyst for that change is now the driver of the change.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently with a series of IoT device kits. Two of them, Littlebits and Tiny Lab are impressive in what you get and what you can do, quickly. Personally, I am a gadget person, which you may have gotten from my blog by Osmosis, but just in case I am stating it. The Littlebits kits really let you explore what you think is possible.

That got me thinking, not about the rate of IoT but instead around the concepts of what is possible now. By possible now I mean what I can grab, deploy and use quickly. I looked over my last 10 cool tech blogs and that’s when the trend started to hit me, the reality curve.

I published a series of blogs about innovation more than 2 years ago. In those blogs, I talked about the shift from old world manufacturing innovation to new world innovation. Where the concept of crowd funding was changing the very nature of innovation.

Scott’s Crowdfunding Rule: If you back something that is a variation of something that has been done before you are backing a low-risk project. If it is something that has never been done before than be patient, supporting and don’t threaten to sue. The further you are away from basecamp the less complaining and more understanding the backer should be.

As innovation evolves, there are sticky areas that cause issues. One of the sticky areas right now is the reality of manufacturing. The reality of manufacturing is cost. That is the driver for the manufacturer. When something costs X and they are only going to get X+1 after retooling and running the process they aren’t likely to rush. Manufacturers make money on the 3rd run, 4th run and so on. The first run of anything they make less. So, their incentive is to run the longer part runs whenever possible. Certainly, they will reach out and offer crowd funding campaigns good pricing, but the value for them is in the long runs.

That is a place where I’ve seen campaign after campaign fall short. Estimating the time to actual retool and build their great gadgets. It takes more time than you think.

I have pushed, cajoled and argued with both Kickstarter and Indiegogo for more than 2 years now on the concept of Superbackers. First, I do not believe you can be a SuperBacker if you have ever once posted a comment threatening to sue, report a campaign or any other form of threatening. Superbackers should be as professional as the campaign. If the campaign fails to deliver than the SuperBacker should report them to Kickstarter or Indiegogo quietly. Not loudly and in public. There are many campaigns I have backed that have not delivered. It makes me sad to say the least, but it is the reality of running on the cutting edge. Your feet get cut at times.

If you back, be nice.