Well, it was a fine effort. I got 4 Kickstarters done in 5 months before I hit some serious snags. I was still hopeful that I could get the other 8 done before the end of the year and was on track with some great projects, but then a few things happened that have caused me to wave off the BHAG.
BHAG Killer #1
The Lap Bomb*. I received a call out of the blue about 6 weeks ago. It was from someone I’ve done a lot of work with in the past, asking if I would be available for a new project. In the course of just a couple of days, that call turned into an offer. The project is one of those rare projects that just don’t come around very often and it fits my skill set exactly. It’s also for a client that is important for my long-term career. There is no way for me to turn this project down without feeling incredibly irresponsible and selfish. I pride myself in having a high-level of dedication to clients, it’s what I’ve built my consulting business on. There is just about no way on earth for me to do this project AND 8 more Kickstarters this year.
BHAG Killer #2 (and #3)
Falling in love with 2 of my planned upcoming Kickstarter projects. I knew that doing all of these Kickstarter projects meant I couldn’t give each one 100% attention, and I was good with that. I told myself that the #1 thing I wouldn’t compromise on is product quality. If the marketing suffered, or my social networking, then so be it. Recently, two projects I was working on became much more important to me than I expected. And because of the types of products they are, they would take a lot of time to get right. If I rushed them just to be part of the BHAG, I would have likely regretted it for a long long time.
In addition, both of these projects are also being done with partners who I consider great friends. I just can’t see giving them (the products and my good friends) anything less than my best just so that I can hit my BHAG.
Between the love of these two products and my lap bomb, it was clear that the BHAG had to go.
Project “Lap Bomb” is going to be taking up a lot of my time until the first major chunk of work (then it settles down to a more predictable development-style schedule and perhaps some staff to help me). The two projects that I’m super excited about will take up a bunch of my time as well. I’ve got some other friends who want to work with me on future projects, but I’ll need to be selective on that for awhile. I’m also 100% committed to delivering Kickstarter project 3 and 4 on time (and I’m still on track there thanks to Jay!).
Fun to 11 will be transitioning into something different at the end of the year as well. Kai and Dave are just too busy with other work entanglements, so I’ll need to manage that shift as well. I am super proud of all the things Fun to 11 has accomplished and I want to keep producing product through the company at a reasonable pace (NOT 12 a year…what was I thinking?). This means figuring out how to handle distribution and shipping, and those plans are coming together nicely.
But What of the Other BHAG Projects?
I’m going to use this space to talk about some of the planned Kickstarters that I’m abandoning. If any of the ideas spark you, feel free to take them and do with the idea what you will. I would love to see some of these things happen and just because I’m not going to have time, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be made!
* – “Lap Bomb” is a term for a bunch of work that gets “dropped on your lap” when you weren’t expecting it. Usually it refers to a boss dropping a bunch of work off to a subordinate at 4:45pm and requesting that it’s done by the next morning (as boss leaves the office)
So a BHAG is supposed to be hard, that’s the idea. And let me tell you, 12 Kickstarters in 12 months is certainly hitting the goal of being Hard.
The last few weeks I’ve spent prepping the Castle Dice Expansion Kickstarter, shipping the Meeple Decks (early! Bam!), and trying to figure out what is going on after the Castle Dice expansion.
If that was all I had to do, it would all be possible to plan it all out and get on a hard schedule. But life has a way of throwing curves…
Shipping the Meeple Decks with Shopstarter has been a learning curve, and honestly, the software is missing some key features. But slow and steady wins the race when it comes to shipping, so I just try to get our 20-30 packages a day while I keep making progress in other areas. A few of the add-ons are slowing a few packages out, and only about 80% of the backers have filled out their surveys, but I’m still way ahead of schedule on these. One of the benefits of being good at production (thanks Jordan!) is that it gives you some breathing room when it comes to shipping. I even had time to send out a set of “test” packages to make sure my shipping choices were going to work before I worked on the bulk of the packages.
Castle Dice Expansion
Been working hard with Jay on getting this expansion ready to launch on Kickstarter. Castle Dice is really dear to me so even more than normal, I’m worried about the campaign before it even launches. Being an expansion is going to make it challenging. I’m hoping to get a lot more people to try the base game through the campaign as it’ll help fund the expansion. Fun to 11 doesn’t have great retail penetration, so hopefully all the good reviews I’m putting gin the campaign will really help expose the game to more players.
I was ready to hit “Launch” on Friday when one of the partners in Fun to 11 (Kai) pretty much told me that was a stupid idea – launching a campaign on Friday is apparently bad. So I decided to hold off until Monday. Of course, Monday I was planning on being in Kansas City starting a drive from there back to central PA with my step mom. Launching a Kickstarter from the road is not something that I think most would recommend. But I’ve got 12 of these things to get done, and delays are not tolerable. So, the plan was “Fly to Kansas on Sunday, launch on Monday.” Then weather happened, and I ended up getting stuck in the Chicago airport overnight. This was my bed last night…
(If my grammar is bad on this post, I blame this)
Right now I’m still in Chicago waiting to get on a plane to Kansas City. I’ll probably launch the Castle Dice campaign from the airport in Kansas City. That will be a new one for me for sure! I’ll monitor the campaign from the road and see what I can do to build momentum.
The Next Campaign
I had another product lined up, but the developer has fallen off the planet as far as I can tell. Pretty frustrating actually as we had already started getting artwork done. If I don’t hear from him this week, I’ll have to move up one of my other ideas, which honestly aren’t’ that flushed out yet (no printer quotes, etc…). So the next few weeks look to be quite busy for me. I also have a wedding to go to in Seattle, which should be a nice break and give me time to get some work done on the long flights. Plus, the guy getting married might be working with me on one of my BHAG campaigns… (always hustling 🙂 )
…Oh look, my next flight was just cancelled… maybe I’ll be launching from Chicago after all…