Kickstarter Almost Killed Me.



If you would have asked me at the end of 2012 or even in the beginning of 2013 if I had ever considered doing a Kickstarter project I would have easily answered you in this way:

Yes… hasn’t everyone?

But I did not have an inkling or desire to actually launch a project – I didn’t feel like I had the right project idea or even the right amount of interest and courage to do one, especially one that mattered deeply to me.

Yet one fateful night I looked sideways at my wife and mentioned casually that perhaps I should just try it out and see what happens. She then watched me literally build out the entire project that night (she went to bed way before I finished) and I then headed to the office early that next morning (I’m not sure I slept) to shoot the first versions of the videos that I needed.

In less than 10 hours I had completed the entire project dossier and I would then launch it late into the morning of the following day.

I had no idea what I was in for because the next 30 days would be a living nightmare, in more ways than one.

Yes, I am beyond humbled that we completed our goal (not without some major bumps) and incredibly blessed to know I’ve got a passionate and growing tribe of “Pressgramers” that believe in what we are trying to accomplish with this small little app, but the price for the campaign’s success was incredibly high.

For example, after the first few days I started tracking how much sleep I was getting, per night. You can see the final results in the graph below:


Hours of Sleep

As you can see, the first column is # of hours of sleep per night I was getting, the second column was total “work” time available that day (I subtracted 10hrs for work with my existing startup and family on average – very little time for anything else), and the last column is total # of hours invested into Kickstarter per day.

In the last 30 days I’ve gotten less than 90 hours of sleep. To add even more complexity, my daughters both had 102+ degree fevers in the third week and took a week to recover, along with my oldest having her Spring Break.

There were some moments where I said these things, often to my spouse who experienced it all with me:

  • “I fucking hate this.”
  • “This is a living hell.”
  • “I should have never done this.”
  • “I’m so sorry that I put you (my wife, the family) through this.”
  • “I had no idea it would be this crazy.”
  • “This is the definition of insanity.”
  • “Oh God, why…”
  • “I will never do this again.”

The crazy ups and downs of running a project like this has been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Those highs were epic highs while the lows were I-want-to-kill-myself low. It’s good to know that I obsess about the things that I’m involved in, for good and for bad, and it’s just the way that I was built – I couldn’t help myself but donate my life to this project with this firm a deadline with the explicit goal of raising $50k in 30 days.

But hey, I survived. I’m still here. My wife and my girls still love me and my team at my startup haven’t abandoned me completely. It’s just been really rough, you know?

In a weird way though I’m quite glad that it wasn’t an overnight success like some Kickstarter projects where they are funded fully within the first few days. I have learned more about myself, my community, some people in particular, and the art and science of crowdfunding in as intimate a way as possible.

And to be sure I’m extracting some killer lessons learned (more that I’ll share I’m sure later) that I will be able to directly apply to anything I do in the future. That’s a definite and clear win.

But I’m tired as all get out. I’m exhausted and the real work (you know, building the darn app) is yet to begin. But I’m excited, I’m motivated, and I’m ready for even bigger wins. I just need a small breather, you feel me?

Thanks again to you, this wonderful community for all the support and all the love that you’ve given! And most of all, thanks to my partner and best friend in the world, my wife.