005 The Padcaster – Kickstarter
ZacBob: Welcome Back Crowdfunders! On todays episode I have a very special guest who may or may not have been featured in an actual iconic Apple commercial. Also my guest has one of the most creative crowdfunding videos that I have seen to date. I really enjoyed interviewing this guest and cant wait to introduce you to Josh and his product that made over $20,000 on Kickstarter.
I know I know another Kickstarter campaign right? For some reason people on Kickstarter are easier to get ahold of and they seem to say yes more often. But Real quick, if you know anyone, or if you yourself has run a successful crowdfunding campaign, contact me at our Facebook page. Just search CrowdFund Genius. 1 word. While your there don’t forget to sign up for our free Beats by Dre drawing that we do every month. Just simply sign up for our email list and you will be entered to win.
Now lets get started with todays interview. I have Josh on the show from The Padcaster mini. Josh tell us about yourself and your crowdfunding campaign, the Padcaster mini, On the fly film making with the iPad mini.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Sure, My name is Josh Apter and I own Manhattan net workshop and we are an authorized training center for Apple, avid and adobe. We train editors and graphic designers, but we also have gone to a lot of these conventions and started shooting video interviews with some of the exhibitors and friends of ours. We started doing them with iPads when the iPad 2 came out and had a camera in it. It sort of spawned this whole thing were I was trying to figure out how to mount an iPad 2 and wouldn’t break it. But I still wanted to shoot HD video and edit it and upload it right from one device. It’s a frightening, immediate experience. So I set out to make this support, the Padcaster. After doing that the iPad mini came out and I just love the form factor of it so I knew I couldn’t go and finance the Padcaster mini out of pocket which I did for the first Padcaster. So I chose Kickstarter as the place to go out and raise interested and awareness and make the finance a reality.
ZacBob: And your Kickstarter page is full of quality HD images and you had several videos, including one in particular in which I first seen your product. An Apple Tv Commercial that features you at the Iguazu Falls holding the Padcaster. Was that you at the falls?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: That is me, I can say that is not, not me. (Laughter)
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Well I can’t talk to much about it. Probably the excitement from the back of my head speaks for itself yes. (Laughter)
ZacBob: I believe I first seen this commercial, and the back of your head at the Super bowl, I could be mistaken but I distinctively remember seeing the Padcaster and I thought Wow. I want to learn more about it and how come I’ve never seen one of these before. So was it the Super bowl when the commercial first aired?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: You know I’m not entirely sure, I think the first time I saw it was during the playoffs. A little earlier than that. I’m not entirely sure and obviously I had no part in the release schedule or anything like that.
ZacBob: Playoffs or Superbowl that is a pretty big deal just being in an Apple commercial. Ever since that iconic 1984 commercial that Apple released it seems they play a big emphasis anytime a commercial comes out with an Apple product. I know your bit was a brief in it but did you get a chance to plan your launch of your Kickstarter around the release of that commercial?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: We had done an unsuccessful campaign prior to the release of any of that happening. We always knew we were going to re-launch our campaign, rethink our strategy a little bit. You know our original campaign we were trying to achieve two things at the same time. And our financial goal was a little higher and I think people weren’t that clear on what we were trying to do. So in the time it took us to rethink the concept and re-launch all this other stuff had happened. And it just happened to be a stroke of good luck that we ended up having some sort of synergy with other things that brought some attention to the project.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Well I had seen other people raise money on Kickstarter. I had some other friends that did projects that were successful. To me it seemed the most visible. I had seen Indiegogo before, I like the concept of being able to keep the money that you raise regardless of whether you achieved your goal or not. But I did feel like it would be a tougher nut to crack on a less visible platform. Which at this point may or may not be true. Im not sure if you look at the stats if there is that much of a difference between trying to go with Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I think there is one called Vourno, which is journalist based crowdfunding platform. But this just seemed like a good fit and they also seemed to embrace that gadgets and the tech geek world. And I think this sort of thing fit in well with that environment because you know its definitely a gadget. It just seemed to make sense to me.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: the first time we went out we were looking to raise 30K and that was not only for the Padcaster mini but for the research and development of the original Padcaster. That one did not reach its goal. I think it was probably a combination of things, like asking for more money than people were realistically looking to get. Our reward structure was interesting or streamlined. And also we didn’t understand just how much effort was involved on some level. You think ah im just going to ask for money and get it. But really it’s a ton of hard work and can easily be a full time job. I have another job running a school so it was hard for me to be plugged into it as much as I liked. I was certainly taking care of it or tending the garden every single day. I think that was really the key to making it the second time around was just staying plugged into it every single day.
ZacBob: Did you have a crowdfunding team or was this completely and solely all on you?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: I wish I could say It was completely and totally on me but there is no way. My day job is I run a school so there is a few people here at the office since the Padcaster was picking up momentum have been working kind of like me. Split time on one thing and then the other. We kind of put our heads together and figured out how we can work on this and how one person can help me make weekly videos, one person on the social media front, and of course it was kind of on me to communicate with potential backers and actual backers as they came in and weekly live stream videos to keep people engaged. It was a real team effort but I would say there were three of us that were really the ones working on it.
ZacBob: That’s kind of a going theme with my interviews, anytime someone has a day job often times there is more than one individual working on the campaign. Okay so pledges. What were your best performing pledge amounts?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: the main ones were we gave people t-shirts on the lower levels. We had I Kickstarted the Padcaster T-shirts. The thing is every backer at the level above the lowest got a t-shirt anyways. The most popular reward was one of the first batch of 250-500 minis. With a pledge of 99$ got you one of the first batches. As were pre-selling them now will likely run out of them before we even get them. Meaning anyone that wants to get one before that time will have to wait a certain period of time for them to get manufactured and shipped. That was a very popular level then there were people that wanted the original Padcaster for a discount. Or a bundle like a full kit, because we will go and fit it with a light, a microphone and a monopod. So those are an example of some of the rewards that we had.
ZacBob: Lets talk about your video, it was nothing short of Awesome! Everyone needs to rush over to our show notes and check out the links and watch this video! Its on our website CrowdFundGenius.com The video came in at Right at 3:19 long and you opened up showing actual video footage shot with the Padcaster at Iguazu falls and then you go into an actual elevator pitch. Recording the rest of the video while inside an actual elevator! GENIUS! Tell us the story behind how you came up with this video and whose idea was it for the elevator pitch?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Well I’m glad you liked it first of all. The first video I did for the campaign that didn’t happen, was very much the straight standard sitting at your desk talking about the product. And honesty is always the best policy. That wasn’t the problem with the first one but it was a little bit…. You know it played, it was kind of what people expected. There wasn’t anything particular extraordinary about it. So what I wanted to do was basically find a new way to do the same thing. And I don’t know where the elevator concept pitch came from but I had always heard about it. Because of just the film industry. The idea was how do you do something, make it quick and turn it into a little bit of a game. It was kind of fun and it put it on me to keep it short and sweet. So based on the content of the original campaign that we did. I took some of the guts of the cut aways, and the material we used there. Then basically used that elevator pitch to hit the highlights. It forced me to keep it very, very brief. The original idea was I was going to be in the elevator with a guy that doesn’t speak English at the beginning. I get into an elevator with a guy I start talking to him and telling him all about the product and we get to the lobby and I say what do you think sir. He was suppose to say something in a foreign language that I don’t understand but the subtitle says sounds like an amazing product where do I get it? But since I don’t read subtitles in my own video I get frustrated and walk out in frustration. That was the original idea, but we thought maybe it doesn’t read as well as a reveal. Like me with the group of people basically trapped in an elevator who never intended on hearing any of this and cant wait to get away from it. So it evolved and it was certainly fun to do. It didn’t take long, we had to find a clean elevator and do it after hours so we could ride the elevator up and down without people getting in and out of it. For the most part I think we actually held the elevator; we didn’t hit any buttons we just let the door shut and the elevator would sit on whatever floor were on. That way you didn’t hear the sound of the elevator moving while we were doing it. And it had much cleaner audio so it was a bit of a process. But it simplified things more than it complicated if that makes any sense.
ZacBob: Well it certainly paid off, If I could give an award for crowdfunding video of the year you would definitely be a nominee. Now I also hear that your on the back of New York Magazine? Is that correct?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Yea, I got a call from my mom. My very excited mom saying I was on the back of New York Magazine and Fortune magazine. Business week, New York and Fortune magazine. I’m the last one to know any of this stuff. So its as much as a surprise to me as anyone else.
ZacBob: Now are you going out and seeking these magazine covers or is this just a part of advertising that comes from Apple?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: No I have no involvement in any of that stuff at all. Its like I said I find out from someone who, like my mother who got this and was like look. It’s a pleasant little surprise.
ZacBob: Did you have an email list going into the campaign? I know you had the previous campaign so were you able to use that previous campaign to establish momentum of any sorts for the second campaign?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: I think you do have the ability to reach out to previous backers from our old campaign. And we did do that. But I would have to look up and see how many backers we had from the previous. I know we made it to 8,000 dollars on the first campaign. We did our best to reach out to them. That was something another team member did.
ZacBob: Lets talk about social media, what channels of social media did you use for your crowdfunding campaign?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Because we were definitely doing weekly Livestream videos. I think that was a way to engage our audience, we were able to tweet about it and put it on our Facebook to watch this new video we had coming in. It was a combination of those things and trying to get those messages out to people who would then re-purpose them and send them out to their followers. You know to sort of try to get some of these things to snowball a bit. I know one of our videos we tried to appeal to Kickstarter to become a staff pick. While they thought it was cute we never actually became one. We tried to get someone to send something via Twitter, Facebook, or email to someone at Kickstarter. Just to let them know we were trying to have some fun. We really did everything we could. Im not sure what we did other than Facebook, Twitter, our blog and Livestream.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: I don’t think so. I think we were just tweeting out to people we knew were supporters of ours. Because there the people who have done interviews like the one were doing know but during the actual campaign. We would reach out to those supporters and invite them to do another interview or spread the word. Things like that was really the sponsored stuff we did. I’m not sure that we did any promoted stuff like that. I’d have to check with our other team member, but I know I certainly didn’t give the order to do it.
ZacBob: Did you hire a marketing company or again was that just done through your crowdfunding team?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Well I work with a PR company for my school. They also work on the Padcaster stuff. So when we launched the Kickstarter campaign we did do a press release. We sent that out with you know whatever channels you would hit by sending out a press release on those certain outlets. You pay a certain amount of money and its released in a certain number of markets. Whatever we end up doing for he school we did for the Padcaster just to announce their was a Kickstarter campaign that had launched. I think we only did that for the opening of it and of course we did another news blast to say it was successful but nothing in between.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Nope. We never got their attention. We didn’t think we were really going to. We had another video that we were going to do called “Kickstalker.” Where we set out to find their offices which were somewhere in the Manhattan, New York city, or Brooklyn. But its like Dick Cheney’s house, its wiped off Google maps, you cant find it. We were going to have someone pretend to go find them and hunt them down. But it ended up with an actually fever dream with a guy and a motorcycle Kickstarter telling this guy some advice. We had all kinds of big funny ideas. We wanted to have fun because we wanted to give people some entertainment for their time and contributions. So the staff pick thing is totally ridiculous. Then we did another one that was a Valentines day video like a play on the Mrs. Pacman intermission videos. Its like where they meet and fall in love but it’s a red and black, he/she Padcaster running around. Then our last video which I was really proud of because it was difficult to do and it was like 9 degrees out. It was a parody of a Bob Dylan video called “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” I don’t know if you ever seen it but he’s holding these cards with words on them, that he’s throwing down during the song. It’s a pretty iconic video but we figured instead of him throwing the cards down, why don’t we just re-write the cards and have them as photos on an iPad. And have our Bob Dylan holding it and flipping through the pages instead of throwing them down. That’s on the first page of our updates video. But you kind of have to know Dylan to originally appreciate it. Hopefully some people out there got the joke. We were just having fun trying to do something different and keep people engaged. That was the biggest part of it, to give people a reason to come back and check it out every week to see what were up to. To see that was successful. And I think after a some point we got over a certain hump and it looked like it might happen. And I think people kept coming back after that one threshold. It was a very helpful thing to have it get to a point quickly, look like it might have a fighting chance. And I think a problem with the first one is it was struggling and people could see it was struggling. And what I was reading on the Internet is that people can see that a project that doesn’t look likely to make it than people are less likely to kick in. Because they will probably end up getting there money back anyway.
ZacBob: And what was that turning point in your project when the pledges came pouring in?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: There’s always that rush in the beginning. It seems like there’s a rush at the beginning and rush at the end. There was a big enough wave early on that we sort of got over that first hump pretty quick. And maybe that was having that built in support from that previous outing. And getting the word out in a big way and having some momentum from the thing that happened in Argentina (apple commercial). Its really impossible to say what of made it click with certain people. If I knew I would go into the successful Kickstarter campaign business, believe me. Oh bye the way I got the statistic. We hit our halfway point in six days, so and I think people probably looked at that and said that’s a pretty impressive outing for your first week. So I feel like that help people psychologically look at us and say we have the potential to make it all the way.
ZacBob: That is pretty impressive. How long was the total campaign?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: It was a thirty-day campaign. We had read on a lot of the sites there was no need to make it longer and that a larger percent of successful campaigns were actually on the shorter side, on the 30 day side.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Well Kickstarter could have made me a staff pick. That’s the easy answer to that question. I don’t know that its their job to make it easier for me. Because they’re just there to provide the platform and forum to tell people what your about and what your doing. To their credit they keep it a very level playing field. Yes there is the staff picks thing, but I don’t know that there is an expectation that you will become one. We were goofing around thinking that maybe by being funny we would get their. But I don’t look at like they’re playing favorites and that they could not do that to improve what they do. That’s absolutely their right to pick things that they like and that their staff likes. I don’t really know if they could improve on what they’re doing. And of course my limited experience with them is through this one campaign. So I don’t know about how they operate so much that I would have a ton of suggestions for the suggestion box.
ZacBob: What is the one thing you wish you knew before you launched your campaign.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Well because I got to answer that question by failing the first time. You know I think it would’ve been don’t expect to be a walk in the park. I don’t think I expected that. But I guess I wish I had more of a realistic expectation of just how much work its going to be. Because I did feel like part of what Kickstarter does very, very well is sell that dream. Of going out there and raising that money. Not saying that they make it look easy. But they don’t go out of their way to make it look as difficult as it actually is. I had I known what an incredible effort it would’ve been; but I did by not making it the first time around. I think that’s not an uncommon experience on Kickstarter. That you try and don’t quite make it and then you try again. And then they do. There was someone that I supported whom on her first try out didn’t make it, but on the second try she made it within days. To Kickstarters credit they let you re-launch a campaign.
ZacBob: what is the best piece of advice that you can give to other Crowdfunders hoping to accomplish their goal?
Josh from Padcaster Mini: and these are people like me that are going out there and trying to raise money for their projects?
ZacBob: That’s right, entrepreneurs, inventors, small business owners, or what I like to call Crowdfunders!
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Plug into it! Be prepared for it to be a massive amount of work which I’m sure all of them already know. If its fun for you, then it will likely be fun for the people who are thinking about helping you. I think that was the thing that I learned the most. Don’t take it to seriously you can always try again. If your and somehow turn that hard work into something that’s an enjoyable experience for you and your audience. Then its hard to be that disappointed if it doenst work out and its easier to be happy if it does.
Josh from Padcaster Mini: If you want to pre-order a Padcaster mini or buy any of the other ones because the Padcaster Air is now in stock after a very long manufacturing period. You can go to www.ThePadcaster.com and we have the Kickstarter videos posted there, the product selection, some accessories and you can pick one up yourself if your looking to shoot better video with your iPad.
ZacBob: and we will have all this information in our show notes as well. To include links to the Padcaster website, crowdfunding campaign and a transcript of our conversation. So this concludes our show Josh. Thank you for sharing all this information about your campaign and for coming on the show!
Josh from Padcaster Mini: Thanks for thinking of me, and thanks for having me it was a real pleasure.
ZacBob: The pleasure was mine Josh. This concludes episode 005 of CrowdFund Genius. I want to thank everyone out there listening today and remind you to sign up for our email list on our website if you would like to get weekly crowdfunding tips and advice. Also just by signing up your automatically registered to win a free pair of Beats by Dre and that drawing is held monthly. So leave me a feedback of what you thought of the show and you can reach me on Facebook or twitter by searching CrowdFund Genius. As always happy crowdfunding! ZacBob out!
Important links from Josh from Padcaster Mini