I've never bought in to a Kickstarter project before, but decided to jump in on this one, sometime last week. Not having followed a project through this stage, I don't think they're doing so badly - they're trying to provide regular answers to questions, and take suggestions on board re stretch goals.
I suppose they could find themselves in a spot of bother if (for example) they decide to offer a pen case or cartridge converter as a stretch goal, expecting a lot of supporters to 'buy in' - then find themselves having to supply (for example) 10 cases on a price structure that assumed they'd be ordering 100. Is that what you mean when you say the're doing 'a poor job' - or is there something else they're not up to standard on? Not meant as a criticism MrThoth, just curious!
That's a perfectly valid question, and no criticism taken.
To be fair to these creators, I've never run a Kickstarter for something like a pen -- mine have all been for roleplaying game products, i.e. books. So the considerations may be different in some respects. I can only speak from my own experience.
While the creators seem to be doing a reasonable job responding to questions, they don't overall seem to have planned the whole project well. This isn't necessarily a huge strike against them -- planning and executing a Kickstarter is a lot harder than it looks -- but I think they'd be even more successful with some basic preparations. There are lots of sources of KS advice out there, many of them free, and I wonder if they consulted any of them. For example:
1. Based on the video and the written responses to questions, it seems to me the creators aren't native English speakers. There's nothing wrong with this -- lots of people aren't, after all -- but their potential market is overwhelmingly comprised of native English speakers. IMO they should have had someone on board who is a native English speaker to make the responses more natural sounding (and less confusing in some cases) and generally smooth the interaction with their public.
2. Similarly, I think they should've been prepared in advance with info on technical questions and provided that in advance as part of the page/FAQ.
3. Most importantly, they don't seem to have "planned for success." 420% of goal is impressive and commendable! But once you hit your goal in a KS, you often run into a funding slowdown (though the degree of slowdown may vary between projects). One of the ways you counteract that is to be prepared with fresh announcements, stretch goals planned in advance, and the like. So far they've issued only one update and provided only one stretch goal. Given their degree of success I'd have expected a little more in this regard. You are absolutely right that they (and other project creators) should be careful not to get caught in the trap of offering "too much extra stuff" -- that adds to expenses, to your administrative burden, and so on. But ideally you should be ready with multiple stretch goals to keep people interested and the money flowing in. You should plan for this level of success in advance -- the planning costs you nothing and can help make you more money.
For example, if this had been my project, I would absolutely have planned to offer some sort of attachable clip as a stretch goal. Their reasons for not wanting to include one on the pen are perfectly valid as far as I'm concerned -- but it doesn't take a crystal ball to know that more than a few backers would really want a clip. If you make it a stretch goal, you (a) provide many of your customers with something they want, which (b ) isn't that difficult to manufacture (AFAIK) and adds basically nothing to the weight of your packages, and (c ) which some customers will want strongly enough to increase their pledges to get and thus help maintain your momentum. It's a no-brainer to me (though again to be fair to the creators, I have no idea of the specifics of their project/situation; this might not be feasible for some reason).
Overall, though, these are just quibbles -- things I'd mention by way of example in one of the "how to run a Kickstarter" seminars I often teach. None of them are mortal sins or project-killers by any means (as can be seen from their level of funding).
Edited by MrThoth, 07 August 2014 - 11:14.