From time to time, we'll post about crowdfunding smashes here--not because we're endorsing the product, but to make you design entrepreneurs aware of what's selling. If you can keep your finger on the pulse, so to speak, you'll have a better chance of launching your own successful campaign.
What puzzles me most are objects that don't seem that special to me, yet are absolutely killing it on Kickstarter. Something about these objects inspire people to reach into their pockets. We'd like to figure this out with you.
In this installment of "Why did this design succeed so wildly," we're looking at the Pico, a coffee-mug-sized "garden in your palm." It's got built-in LEDs, a stalk that can raise the lights up for a maximum capacity of 8.5 inches above the lip of the container, and it self-waters the plants or herbs grown inside. At press time they had $1.3 million in pledges on a $10,000 goal, with 3 days left to pledge.
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I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the product, but $1.3 mil and 16,000-plus backers? First off, you're not going to be growing zucchinis in this thing. And while the developers say it's good enough to grow salad greens, basil, mint etc., there's no way the volume is enough to feed you for more than a couple of meals.
My take on why this product succeeded so wildly: It promises a turnkey green thumb. People, particularly city dwellers, want to feel (or think they should want to feel) close to nature. I get that growing your own herbs might be out of reach, from a convenience or space standpoint, of your average apartment resident. So the Pico promises the experience, however inconsequential the actual yield is. The no-hassle, set-it-and-forget-it operation provides a powerful draw.
I should also point out that the designers did something quite smart, from a production standpoint: It doesn't have a built-in battery, but requires the user to plug it into a Mophie or other battery pack. By offloading the battery, they were (self-admittedly) able to skip the necessary testing and regulatory steps. And by omitting the battery they keep the overall cost of the product down. The $32 pricepoint will be attractive.