Category Archives: startups

Kickstarter Statistics Insight and Analysis

Quick Analysis of the Kickstarter Stats page reveals the Expected Value of a succesful Kickstarter campaign by catagory.

Expected Value of Kickstarter Projects by Catagory
All    £4,218
Art     £2,082
Comics     £4,528
Dance     £2,527
Design     £18,503
Fashion     £2,260
Film & Video     £3,681
Food     £4,301
Games     £16,819
Music     £2,949
Photography     £1,995
Publishing     £1,837
Technology     £11,903
Theater     £2,778

Here we can see the return for a succesful Kickstarter project is heavily skewed toward Design, Games and Technology kickstarter campaigns.  This is specifically because of the dominant male video game nerd/geek catagory (see etc.) who are most susceptible to hype marketing online (See Notch and Minecraft, Humble Indie Bundle etc.).

Other interesting analysis results in the following table for Kickstarter project success rates.

Success Rate of Kickstarter Projects by Catagory
All    44.01%
Art     48.42%
Comics     45.15%
Dance     70.04%
Design     35.90%
Fashion     26.95%
Film & Video     39.55%
Food     40.89%
Games     34.03%
Music     54.34%
Photography     37.97%
Publishing     31.41%
Technology     30.24%
Theater     64.53%

It’s a good idea to remember that Kickstarter projects, especially succesful ones, are heavily skewed towards hype marketing.  This makes data analysis less relevant due to the difficulty of accurately measuring the level of hype marketing a particular Kickstarter project engaged in.  The reliance of Kickstarter on hype marketing also makes it difficult to see which projects are funded because they’re great and which are funded because of mob mentality setting in.

Since not every Kickstarter project can fund or engage in hype marketing it means anyone looking into starting a Kickstart project “for profit” with no particular preference has little information of use available.  Even the above analysis of Kickstarter project succeses and expected returns is useless for anyone looking to start. Essentially, any Kickstarter project catagory is equally as good as any other until we can obtain data regarding where funders came from and why they chose to fund a particular Kickstarter.

You can find the kickstarter stats page at the link here (new window).

It’s Time To Quit Your Startup When…

“You’ve stopped recommending your product to friends.” – Tiffany Bukowski, spitfire.

“All you’re worried about is getting money back for your investors.” – Doug Ludlow, CEO,

“You have something better to do.” – Simon Thompson.

“You’re counting the months, weeks, or days until you reach your vesting cliff.” – Anon.

“You don’t feel comfortable recruiting the best people you’ve worked with.” – Anon.

“You think the people around you personally, have gone through enough and deserve better.” – Anon.

“You cant inspire anyone around you anymore and eventually yourself.” – Anon.

“You quit when you can’t find customers, you stick when all signs point up and you pivot when your customers keep asking.” – Matt MacNaughton.

“You run up a lot of debt when you can’t invest more money of your own.” – Anon.

“You start missing the security of a better job or startup opportunity” – Anon.

“At my last startup, I knew it was time to leave when I couldn’t genuinely recruit people to join my team, and I actively avoided recruiting people I previously had worked with.” – Anon.

“To quit, you always have to ask the question whether your timing or offering is wrong.” – Matthew Roche, CEO, BO.LT. – <a href=””>Quit Your Startup</a>

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Some Advice Before You Quit

Personal advice: think things through. Prepare a plan that contains an element of finance and personal revenue. Don’t just leave yourself hanging without a branch. You do need money to survive, and live. What’s your personal runway? What’s your backup if things go wrong, in 3 months, 6 months, a year? Your top 3 marketable skills?

Write it all down, you’ll need it during those darker days of uncertainty ahead.  Leave on good terms because it’s a small world, and of course, good luck.

Entrepreneurship for Hackers and Noobs

Compete Don’t Innovate

Innovation isn’t the only way to get rich, competition works just as well and you don’t get the R&D cost. Chinese manufacturing firms know this well, it’s why they sell widget X for such a lower price than the original widget Y.  No R&D.

As hackers we seem to have an aversion to “copying” others hard work.  We feel we’re taking away from it’s purity or something.  Well that’s capitalism son.  If you can’t be a big hitter, at least out perform the mid hitters.  And the way you outperform mid hitters is you copy what you can + fix a pain point.  Repeat that, write it down.  It’s the key to your first big pay packet.

The simplest equation I can give: copy something succesful + lower the price.  It works every time.  By it’s very nature it cannot fail unless you drop the ball on quality.  Don’t be afraid to copy everything you legally can, layout, design, functionality.  Make your moves and keep them legal.  Money.

Pain Points 101

You’re claiming you can’t find pain points? Here’s one: An article on Hacker News about Groupon payments taking 3 months to come through. That’s a pain point. Start a Groupon type service, but offering faster payments. Yes you’ll still need that user base, and you’ll still need seed funding to cover initial marketing costs, but you have one very real cash flow based reason for business to choose you over them.

You could start it locally right this minute.  Set up the site, put on your suit and go knock on some local shop windows.  Sign up a few, remember your USP – payment in 30 days or less.  Then get a few users to sign-up and away you go.  Viral local offers and day 1 cash.

Found a news app you love but the interface is sluggish or wasteful? Copy the functionality EXACTLY, redesign, fix the pain point and release.  You’re not doing anything wrong here.  There is no moral high ground to be had by not doing it.  It’s competition, it’s capitalism.  You deserve that money because you made a better product.  Write that down.

Anywhere someone is making profit is a place for you to slide in and split the pie.  Check the barriers to entry, then, if you can, compete.  Zynga making too much money?  Copy the product as much as you legally can and lower the price they charge for in-apps.  Play the game, they’ve done the R&D for you.  They’ve optimised layout and design already.  You can see RIGHT THERE what works.  They’ve done all the work.

Ship or You’re Nothing

You’ve decided your product or service.  Now it’s time to get real.

Everything you do for your business should come with a time scale.  EVERYTHING.  You ship things.  That is how you make money.  You don’t get paid for research or drinking coffee at a start-up.  You get paid when you ship.  And the way you do that is bringing  your product or service to market.

I will ship X on Y.

Where X is your product or service and Y is next Tuesday, next month, or 10 years from now.  Even if you miss your target, you still took aim and that’s 1 step more than Joe average wannabe start-up entrepreneur.

Market while you wait

Bored?  Do some marketing.  What’s that?  You don’t know how or it makes you anxious? Well, you need to learn.  Product + Marketing.  It’s half the equation and 90% critical to success.  Let’s make one now.

  • Where will you get traffic? – source ideas.
  • What’s the cost of that traffic in time/money for each source?
  • What do you need to do to set up that traffic source.
  • What experiments can you do to test you traffic theories? – This is your start-up marketing plan.

Experiments form the basis of every marketing plan.  You want quality traffic.  Quality means money in your pocket.  Measure everything.  Try everything.  See what works, experiment, repeat.  What works for Axe might not work for you.


Good luck, Leave a comment.

Additional inspiration:

“You quit when you can’t find any customers, you stick when all signs point upward and you pivot when your customers keep asking you too.” – Matt Mcnaughton –

“Make something youd recommend to your friends.” – Anonymous


3 Ridiculously Slow Systems for Startup Disruption – Idea dump Monday

The world is too damn slow.

  • Product Delivery.
  • Buying a Home.
  • Education.

Product Delivery

Why does it take 5 days for Amazon to deliver my product from their warehouse less than an hour away?  How could a startup step up and make the process better, faster?

Here’s the ultimate ideal: Continue reading

Startup founders equity split

Someone asked on HN how we go about allocating equity with our “auction” system.  So here it is again:

We total up the cash available and our runway, say $60k for 2 founders and 12 months. Total equity is of course 100%.

So at one extreme, one founder gets $60K over the year in wages and 0% equity while the other gets 100% equity and no wage packet. At the other end, its $30K each for 50% equity each. Somewhere inbetween is a sweet spot.

The core concept is get the cash now, or potentially more later.

Start with the equal split, then begin negotiating for the value per equity point. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you both agree on equity/wage split.

The added bonus is you’ve also technically valued your startup in the process (value per equity point*100) and have an indication of how much your relative belief in the success of the startup.

Since I tend to keep my expenses down and as an example of the last one I took 55% equity for a $7k drop in monthly cash. Cofounder gets a 7K bonus over the year (he was starting a family at the time) and was happy with his 45%.

Voting rights are equal. Always. Do not mess with these in the startup phase as they give a sense of ownership and control that founders need to commit.