Two years ago, I saw this very cool E-Ink watch on KickStarter. I wish they had a way to import video from here, but I’ll let you click that link and open up the campaign in a new tab.
If you watch the video, you’ll see the founders saying that they spent a year prototyping. They even show a working prototype. The company, Central Standard Timing, was looking for $200,000 and actually got more than a million dollars from over 7500 backers. Those are pretty big numbers.
In reading the FAQ they state, “You can back the watch on Kickstarter and we will ship you the watch as a reward when we ship. We expect to ship in September.”
The campaign was funded in February of 2013. The estimated 7 months has now stretched to 25 months… and it is going on 26. For those keeping track that’s 5x the budget and almost 4x the time.
I still have no watch.
A couple of people have claimed to have a received a watch. However, no one has actually stepped up with any proof of it. And those people have quickly disappeared from the conversation. The vast majority of the comments are people exploring legal action. Some have tried to get Kickstarter to intervene, but that hasn’t worked so far
It’s not as if the two founders have been completely silent. They have had quite a few updates… 29 of them to date. It’s just that they’ve been very irregular. They’ll post 4 updates in a month and then be silent for a couple of months. They post pictures like progress is actually happen. On Feb 4th, they posted a photo with 16 boxes saying that they are shipping. They showed a table with what appears to be 30-40 watches.
It’s been a month and a half since that update and a dozen comments come in every day asking what is going on. The people can see that the founders are logging into Kickstarter every couple of days and yet, there are no further updates. For what it is worth their last Twitter update was July 2014.
There isn’t an update saying that they shipped 30 units out or anything of that nature.
They are still taking pre-orders of the watch on their website. Even that says, “This is a pre-order, expected to ship summer of 2014.” Also, instead of the $129 I paid (some got in at $99 I think), they are now asking for $299.
I’m starting to wonder if they blew through all the money and it was much more expensive than they thought.
I think everyone understands that things can go wrong. Over the last two years, there have been enough updates of things that have gone wrong. However, at least that was communication. Communication is free and easy. It really is the least that anyone can ask for.
I read a lot of Kickstarter success stories. My sample size of this one campaign is probably not indicative of how things typically go. However, it should be a good reminder that things do go wrong. And when that happens, there aren’t a lot of places you can turn. You can’t make the founders give you an update. You can’t make Kickstarter leave a message that they are investigating it.
You really can’t do anything. And while it does nothing to help the situation, having a blog to vent helps a little.