Followup: Team Atlas Succeeds at Flight

Team Atlas’ Kicktstarter campaign was one of my first posts on this site, and they successfully funded their project. But that was just the beginning – they had to actually build a human-powered helicopter. Just over a year later, they’ve won the Sikorsky Prize! Congratulations to Team Atlas on this amazing feat, now get to work on my jetpack!

Check out the video below:

Rachets Away!

Do-It-Yourself is kind of the founding principle behind Kickstarter. Projects created by individuals, doing it themselves and making something out of nothing with the support of the community. So it’s nice to see a project that is not only DIY, it enables others to DIY as well.

Rachets Away is intended to be a community workspace in Portland, Oregon for motorcycle and scooter owners to do their own maintenance on their two-wheeled machines, and learn from experts. Lots of people who ride just don’t have garage space to work on their bikes, or they lack the tools, or they lack the expertise, or lack all three. Rachets Away will provide space, tools, and expertise as needed for riders to learn and perform the maintenance and repairs they need.

Rachets Away Logo

In addition to the community workspace, they are also going to provide opportunity for mechanics to set up shop and provide repair services without the upfront cost of finding a new garage, lease, etc. Think of it as the hair salon model. Mechanics rent a “seat” in the salon, book appointments and jobs, and use the space to bootstrap their own business. Another analog to Kickstarter itself!

Rachets Away has a relatively modest minimum goal of $7000, but in order to really create the space that the community needs, I see them needing at least double that amount. If you’re in Portland and you own a motorcycle or scooter, you really should feel obligated to back this project.

Posted in DIY

Two Comebacks – Pickstarter, and Veronica Mars

First, the important news: Yes, I’m starting Pickstarter up again. I won’t make excuses, they’re the same ones you’ve heard before from every other blogger. But I keep coming across all these cool projects, and I want to share! My more reasonable goal now is at least a post a week. How hard can that be, right?

Now, onto the pick.

Veronica Mars was one of my favorite TV series when it was on, and I was sad to see it go. Show creator Rob Thomas has hinted over the years that he wanted to do a followup movie, but so far hasn’t been able to raise studio interest. After hearing of some of the higher-profile successes on Kickstarter, he’s decided to give it a shot there.

The Veronica Mars Movie Project has what they claim to be the highest goal ever on Kickstarter (I don’t know, it could be, I didn’t check with KS), $2 million. As of this writing, they’re at $785,000 and the project just launched. I’m pretty sure they’ll make goal.

I’m a little bit on the fence about this project. One the one hand, I was a big fan of the show, and would love to see a VM movie. But on the other, according to the project description, the money is all going into a Warner Brothers fund for production of the movie. Warner Brothers is needing our money to do this? WTF? But then I also get that WB probably wouldn’t do the movie without demonstrated fan demand. So yeah. Hollywood, I guess.

I’m cheering for the project, I want it to succeed, but I wonder – is this where the major-leagues jump on Kickstarter? Is that a good or a bad thing?

Project Ninja Panda Taco

Yes, that’s right. Ninja. Panda. Taco.
PNPT is a tabletop roleplaying game wherein you play an evil mastermind (or his minion) competing with another evil mastermind to take over the world. Gameplay is over the top and cartoonish fun, where evil laughs and silly voices are encouraged.


PNPT looks like a whole load of fun, and the artwork on display is great. I’m already picking out names for my evil mastermind and his minions.

Bicycle Frame Handle

Bicycles are awkward things to carry. You usually have to hold onto the top tube, or on the seat tube, and neither position is very comfortable. If you have a need to carry a bicycle up stairs, or over an obstacle, or onto public transport, and do any of those things frequently, you might want to check out this Kickstarter project:

Designed for urban commuters, this minimalist handle makes carrying your bike actually feel easier and lighter by lowering the center of gravity and using your normal muscle groups for lifting and holding your bicycle, same as lifting a grocery bag or carrying a briefcase. Because it’s easier to lift and hold, you’re in more control of your bicycle, making it safer to hold in crowded settings.


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Why Kickstarter Campaigns Fail

Wired has an interesting article on why some Kickstarter projects fail, despite being awesome projects. It could help if you’re planning on starting a project, or have one that’s struggling to find funding. It outlines what the author calls “the 7 P’s of Kickstarter Marketing”: Product, Price, Promotion Proven Track Record, Place, and Purpose. Click the link above to read how he defines those attributes.

Neil Stephenson’s CLANG

Neil Stephenson’s an author. He writes obsessively-detailed fiction, sometimes speculative, sometimes historical, most of the time a combination of the two. To complement his current efforts, he’s turned his eye to videogames though. What Neil wants to do is make swordfighting games more realistic, more accurate, and most of all, more fun. His team for CLANG has put together one of the most entertaining Kickstarter videos I’ve seen, which really conveys his humor and the spirit of the game:

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