We Made It!
Well, that was the most fun we’ve had in a long time!
We have been wanting to do a version of PocketBible for Mac OS X for several years. The problem is that we could never find any data to indicate that the market share for Mac was sufficient to justify the time and money we’d have to put into the project. Then earlier this year we had the idea to try Kickstarter to “crowd-fund” the project. This would prove to us that there was, in fact, a market for PocketBible for Mac, and would have the secondary benefit of providing funding for a portion of the project.
The trick was to select a funding goal that was high enough to make the project worthwhile but low enough that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to reach. You can take a guess at what a project like this might cost without me divulging any confidential information by looking at the average salary of a contract Mac programmer for the 10 months or so we think the project is going to take. With salary, taxes, benefits, space, and equipment, a programmer costs about $90K-$100K per year. To make it easy, we’ll use $96K ($8K/month), or $80K over the life of the project. Add our stretch goal of porting BookBuilder for Mac and figure there will be times when there will be a couple people working on the project and it’s pretty easy to get to $100K or more.
We were concerned that $100K might not be a reachable goal. The problem with Kickstarter is if you set a $100K goal and reach $90K, you get $0. So we had to consider what the minimum amount of funding would be that would prove to us there was a market but be reasonably reachable. After adding the cost of rewards and the fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon, we settled in on $28,500. At the same time, we hoped you would take us past that point to help offset more of the costs.
Over the last 40 days or so, we’ve been anxiously watching how you responded to this project. Our initial email garnered about $12K in pledges. The project slowly climbed to just over $20K during the next three weeks as we approached the Fourth of July holiday. We planned on hitting the project hard once the holiday was past and you came through for us in that last week, taking us past $28,500 on July 10.
With five days remaining before our funding deadline, we re-evaluated our goal and considered what it would cost to add BookBuilder Pro to the project. We thought another $5K would be achievable and would take care of a major share of the added cost to do BookBuilder.
At that time it also occurred to us if we had some rewards to benefit our non-Mac-using customers, they might be willing to help out. So we added some rewards to appeal to our current customers on other platforms.
So we set a “stretch goal” of $33,500. A Kickstarter “stretch goal” is an informal term that someone came up with to describe a funding goal beyond the original goal. Normally the project is expanded in some way in response to reaching the stretch goal. It took less than three days for you to get us past that goal.
Over the last couple days of the campaign we picked up those who were motivated not so much by reaching the goal, but by the desire to lock in low prices on the various PocketBible Library collections and add-on books. Many of you also increased your pledges during that time to add add-on rewards.
Kickstarter will begin collecting your pledges immediately. If it has problems collecting, it will make repeated attempts to contact you and encourage you to make good on your pledge. They tell us this process takes a couple weeks. We are not involved in the collection process; it is handled by Amazon. Amazon does not release any funds to us nor does Kickstarter give us access to our final backers list until this process is complete.
Once we get our final backers list, we’ll be contacting you to confirm your selection of add-on rewards. We anticipate this will take a couple more weeks, depending on how quickly everyone responds. Once this is complete, we’ll fulfill rewards for add-on books that can be fulfilled without waiting for the completion of the project. (That is, the six add-on rewards consisting of add-on books for non-Mac platforms.) The rest of the rewards will not be fulfilled until the project is complete, of course.
Also at this point (that is, once funding is received) work will begin in earnest on the project. My plan is to post updates through Kickstarter for our backers on a regular basis, sharing progress with you as often as I can. I’ll also be sharing updates here on the blog, though not as often.
When Will We See Alpha and Beta Test Versions of PocketBible for Mac?
“Alpha” versions of the program are not feature-complete and are used for the purpose of evaluating user interface concepts and testing some functionality of the program. “Beta” versions are feature-complete (or very close to feature-complete) and are intended for more practical testing of all of the features of the program.
At this point I can’t say when those versions will be released, but I can say that distribution of alpha- and beta-test versions of PocketBible for Mac OS will be limited to our Kickstarter backers. As a result, I’ll be making those announcements through Kickstarter in the form of private project updates.
So… we have a lot of work ahead of us. On behalf of everyone here at Laridian I want to thank you for proving there is a market for PocketBible for Mac, being willing to put your money on the line to fund this project, and for having faith in us to complete it successfully. We are grateful for those of you who have contacted us to encourage us and let us know you’re praying for us. We hope to be found worthy of your trust.