In my product creation/development series of articles and posts, I’ve talked about making products that “coattail” on others’ popular products and about reviving popular old ideas with new twists instead of racking your brain to develop new product ideas.
This morning, in my daily trek to my iGoogle page to feed my inner info-junkie, I found an article on the Gizmodo gadget that is an excellent example of someone doing that exact combination. In addition, the article alerted me to a resource for both project development funding and promotion.
First, the product idea that illustrates “coattailing” and new twists on old ideas.
How it is “coattailing” — The device is called PadPivot and it is designed to support iPads and other tablets as well as Kindles, Nooks and smart phones in a convenient angle on your lap or on a flat surface such as a table or desk.
It’s a clever product that is best explained by the youTube video they created for it. Click on the arrow on the embedded video below:
How it is a twist on old ideas — not only are there many modern support devices out there for laptops, tablets and so on, there are also old office equipment support devices like the shoulder rests for telephones. It’s been around since, what, the ‘fifties? Look at the picture below. (Also, you can still buy these old products for landline phones you might have. I got one for my mother, who uses a landline phone designed for the hearing impaired.)
Second, the resource I got from the Gizmodo article was a site called KickStarter.com. And the PadPivot page there is an excellent example of how the site works and how you can use it for your own projects.
KickStarter.com calls itself “the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.” That is the nutshell description of what it does. On KickStarter.com, anyone with a qualifying project can make an appeal for funding from the general public for their product creation/development.
There seems to be an unlimited field for projects — not businesses, but individual projects that may or may not be part of a business. Your project can be a product like PadPivot, or it could be a book, a film or video, a work of art, some sort of service, a website. You name it. Just look at the site for a range of ideas.
The funding is a bit like a grant, rather than a loan or an investment. If you qualify for the funding, you don’t have to pay it back. It’s a new form of finding “patrons” for creative works. Instead of one or two wealthy patrons, however, you appeal to all who might be interested in seeing your dream project come into being.
So, visitors to the site choose projects to sponsor by pledging money, In return, the project developers provide news on progress and some sort of rewards to their sponsors or patrons. Rewards can be in all kinds of forms, including discounts on or pre-orders of the actual product, publication of the patron’s name on the project’s website, membership in some related organization, a book that follows the complete development of the project.
So, developers not only get funding to complete their projects, they also get a lot of publicity and promotion for their projects. They get a project page on the KickStarter website, and their sponsors get excited about the project and email, blog, twitter and write on their Facebook walls about it. Bloggers and newspapers and other media check in on KickStarter projects and write about them. It’s the kind of thing that can go viral.
The reason I recommend that you particularly use the PadPivot project as a guide for your own project is the kind of response it engendered. It had a funding goal of $10,000. It has five days left to go. It already has 3,480 backers and $138,883 in funding. You could learn a lot from this.