I recently started a Kickstarter project to help me fund the last leg of development for an innovative new diabetes management application. I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for just over five years and have found existing diabetic applications to be sorely lacking. I got sick enough of waiting for someone else to revolutionise the way I manage my disease that I decided to try and do something about it myself.
We’re just shy of halfway through the campaign and still have a long way to go before being successfully funded. I decided to take some time out today to write a little about how I’ve found the Kickstarter process, and some frank thoughts on the self-promotion that’s come with it.
The reception to the campaign and the application so far has been incredible. I’ve had countless emails from fellow diabetics who are excited by the ideas I’ve proposed and are glad that someone finally ‘gets it’. The independent diabetic community has also done a great job of furthering support though various Facebook networks and retweets.
With a strong emphasis on delivering a focused and beautiful application the design community has also supported the project with overwhelming positivity. I’ve been interviewed by .net, mentioned on swissmiss, had nods from the likes of Jeffrey Zeldman, Cameron Moll and Louie Mantia, and even been a Dribbble coaches pick. Many talented designers have come forward and have even offered to work free of charge on the project. This is something I couldn’t possibly have anticipated and I feel incredibly lucky for their continued support.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of trying to raise awareness has been the response from large charitable organisations. I’ve reached out to a number of major diabetic charities worldwide (many of whom with millions of Twitter followers) and have been refused support in almost every instance. To put that into perspective: it’s important to be clear that I’m not asking for any kind of official endorsement, I’m simply asking that they share the link with their readers and allow them to make their own decisions.
Instead, I’ve received multiple emails making it clear that these organisations are not prepared to share the campaign because of ‘competing interests’. The reasoning is simple: these organisations have existing iPhone applications and aren’t prepared to spread the word about an alternative product.
I think the response from charities has, at best, been a misunderstanding and at worst a vilification. By Kickstarting the project, I’m able to provide a totally free application with absolutely zero financial obligation. It’s given the project a clarity and focus that I don’t think I would have been able to find through traditional funding, and I think that’s something that charities have failed to understand.
This isn’t about developing a competing product. This is about introducing new ideas in a well executed manner. It’s about improving people’s lives. It’s my hope that many of the ideas proposed by The Diabetic Journal are adopted by other diabetic applications. If the project does nothing else I hope that it forces other diabetic application developers to consider their work more closely.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of Kickstarting development has been the response from people excited by the application who fear that we won’t be able to meet our target. Will we abandon the project? Will we charge for it?
The answer to that question, on both counts, is a resounding no. I set out to deliver a great diabetic application and I’m going to make that happen. We’ve still got a lot of time left on the clock, but regardless of how the Kickstarter plays out, I’ll be here and I intend to keep the lights on.
It might take a little bit more time, and it might change the scope of some of my ideas, but it won’t change the fact that diabetics everywhere will be able to download the application completely free of charge. I am absolutely resolute on that. This has never been about money. If I were to add up all of the hours spent, and the sleep lost, thinking about The Diabetic Journal I think it’s safe to say that I’m already running at a sizeable loss.
This is about so much more than that.