IAM Talking: Crowdfunding, E & M Labs and The Story of Skallops and Trebuchet




Today, the topic is Crowdfunding and engaging fans to support crowdfunded projects, before, during and after the process.

Welcome to IAM Talking, a periodic podcast interview series, with your host, Dan Keldsen, Chief Innovation Officer at Information Architected.

Today IAM Talking with Michael Woods and Evan Murphy from E&M Labs, about their Skallops and Trebuchet projects, which were funded using Kickstarter.

Engagement loops, alternative funding, prepping and what to watch out for…

Crowdfunding, especially via the platforms of Kickstarter and indiegogo, have become a growing and viable way for builders, entrepreneurs, musicians and more, to find alternative funding outside of traditional bank financing, venture capital funding, or angel funding.

In this series of crowdfunding interviews,  we are looking into what drives entrepreneurs to lean on the crowd to power not just the money, but the energy to spread the word and engage their own networks in making a project come to life.

Pre-engage or prepare to panic

Michael and Evan’s story involves two different projects – one, Trebuchet, which was early on in the life of crowdfunding and Kickstarter, and their first joint project, and the second, which I personally participated in as a funder, the Skallops project, which was able to carry on with the successful engagement of their earlier project.

As they mention in the interview, they would not recommend that people use the technique that they used to launch the Trebuchet project, which was essentially to wing it, and engage with their audience AFTER having launched the campaign. In all fairness, almost nobody had experience in doing crowdfunding, and it was essentially all just a grand experiment.

Fast-forward from the Trebuchet project, and there were many lessons learned and applied in Skallops. Tips include, posting a lot of updates, to reach out in advance of the campaign, to past supporters, press, bloggers, etc., to PRE-ENGAGE and sow the seeds for later viral adoption.

You cannot guarantee viral take-off in a crowdfunding project, or anything else, but by doing the pre-engagement work to gather support, prime the pump and then unleash your supporters’ enthusiasm (and funds) – well, within 12 hours of launching the Skallops project, they had already met their 30 day funding goal.

Are you engaging your crowd? Or waiting with the crickets?

Crowdfunding isn’t suitable for every project, and the bottom line is that crowdfunding is a SOCIAL phenomenon.

It doesn’t particularly matter if you’re looking to raise $500 or $1,000,000 – if you are not finding a connection to the crowd of volunteers who could, with the right motivation, fund (or over-fund) your project, then you are likely to find that your project remains just a vision, rather than a product, service, or movement that has taken a life of it’s own through the efforts of your engaged crowd.

Comments or Questions?

Wondering how to apply crowdfunding to your project? Can you use similar techniques inside your company, as a modern form of internal skunkworks?

Prediction markets and other techniques can absolutely be used within organizations to drive collaborative innovation projects – if you’re prepared to do the work to set up the right environment of direct or virtual funds, find the right motivational levers, and tap the wisdom of crowds. That’s not the topic of today’s interview, but is part of the work we do in pulling the best techniques from both inside and outside of organizations, to apply to our client work.

Comment below if you have any questions we can answer publicly, and we’ll answer and discuss together, or contact us at 617-933-9655 to talk about your crowdfunding or collaborative innovation project.

Listen now!

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