When we announced the Ubuntu Edge crowd-funding campaign a week ago, we had one hell of a good first day. We broke records left and right, we sold out of the first round of perks in half the time we expected, and we put the campaign well above the red line we needed to reach our goal. Our second day was also amazing, and when we opened up a new round of perks at a heavy discount the third day we got another big boost.
But as exciting and record-breaking as that first week was, we couldn’t escape the inevitable slowdown that the Kickstarter folks call “the trough“. Our funding didn’t stop, you guys never stopped, but it certainly slowed way down from it’s peak. We’ve now entered a period of the crowd-funding cycle where keeping momentum going is the most important thing. How well we do that will determine whether or not we’re close enough to our goal for the typical end-of-cycle peak to push us over the edge.
And this is where we need our community more than ever, not for your money but for your ideas and your passion. If you haven’t contributed to the campaign yet, what can we offer that would make it worthwhile for you? If your friends haven’t contributed yet, what would it take to make them interested? We want to know what perks to offer to help drive us through the trough and closer to the Edge.
So here’s what we have to work with. We need to raise about $24 million by the end of August 21st. That’s a lot, but if we break it down by orders of magnitude we get the following combinations:
- 1,000,000 people giving $24 each
- 100,000 people giving $240 each
- 10,000 people giving $2,400 each
- 1,000 people giving $24,000 each
Now finding ways to get people to contribute $24 are easy, but a million people is a lot of people. 1,000 or even 10,000 people isn’t that many, but finding things that they’ll part with $2,400 for is challenge, even more so for $24,000.
That leaves us with one order of magnitude that I think makes sense. 100,000 people is a lot, but not unreasonable. Previously large crowd-funding campaigns have reached 90,000 contributors, while raising only a fraction of what we’re trying for, so that many people is an attainable goal. Plus $240, while more than an impulse purchase, still isn’t an unreasonable amount for a lot of people to part with, especially if we’re giving them something of similar real value in return.
Now it doesn’t have to be exactly $240, but think of perk ideas that would be around this level, something less than the cost of a phone, but more than the Founder levels.
Now, for the limitations we have. I know everybody wants to see $600 phones again, and that would certainly be an easy way to boost the campaign. But the manufacturing estimate we have is that $32 million will build only 40,000 phones. That’s $800 per phone. That’s something we can’t get away from. Whatever we offer as perks, we have to average at least $800 per phone. We were able to offer perks for less than that because we projected the other perk levels to help make up the difference. So if you’re going to suggest a lower-priced phone perk, you’re going to have to offer some way to make up the difference.
You also need to consider the cost of offering the perk, as a $50 t-shirt doesn’t actually net $50 once you take out the cost of the shirt itself, so we can’t offer $240 worth of merchandise in exchange for a $240 contribution. But you could probably offer something that costs $20 to make in exchange for a $240 contribution.
So there’s the challenge for you guys. I’ve been thinking of this for over a week now, and have offered my ideas to those managing the campaign. Often they pointed out some flaw in my reasoning or estimates, but some ideas they liked and might try to offer. I can’t promise that your ideas will be offered, but I can promise to put them in front of the people making those decisions, and they are interested in hearing from you.
Now, rather than trying to cultivate your ideas here on my blog, because comments are a terrible place for something like that, I’ve created a Reddit thread for you. Post your ideas there as comments, upvote the ones you think are good, downvote the ones you don’t think are possible, leave comments and suggestions to help refine the ideas. I will let those running the campaign know about the thread, and I will also be taking the most popular (and possible) ideas and emailing them to the decision makers directly.
We have a long way to go to reach $32 million, but it’s still within our reach. With your ideas, and your help, we will make it to the Edge.