On this week’s episode of Art of the Kickstart we interview Anthony Pu of Mighty, the device that makes it easy to stream music on-the-go without using a smartphone. Join us as we learn what inspired him, how his team prepared for the campaign, how they decided on a funding goal and what he’s learned from his first Kickstarter campaign.

Mighty – Streaming Music Without Your Phone

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • What the process of prepping for a crowdfunding campaign looks like
  • How to make a splash on day one of your campaign
  • The importance of relying on friends, family and your personal network
  • How to do a soft launch for your personal network
  • How to land press coverage
  • What it looks like to work with social media influencers
  • Why it’s important to reach out to media outlets and influential bloggers in your niche or industry
  • Why you need to expect backer cancellations
  • How setting a high funding goal, especially for hardware, can help ensure that you meet your delivery date

Links

Connect with Mighty

Transcript

View this episode's transcript

 

Roy:

Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, President of Command Partners, the top crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. Each week I interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur, or a business expert in order to help you take you startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Now let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. This afternoon I’m joined by Anthony Pu with Mighty. Mighty the streaming music player so you don’t need your phone. Anthony, thank you for joining us.

Anthony:

Thanks for having me Roy.

Roy:

Tell us, what is Mighty all about.

Anthony:

I think what you alluded to, Mighty is the first and only device that lets you play your Spotify or other streaming music on the go without a smart phone. We thought it was a sort of hole in the market and a pain point for some people to right now exercise, work out, do active stuff with their smartphones when they want their Spotify or other kind of music. That experience with the smartphone isn’t great, and so we wanted to improve that and have a great experience for those types of users and that sort of personal frustration and pain point is where the product was born from.

Roy:

I think the best products always come from pain points and solving people’s issues. You guys have set a serious funding goal at a quarter of a million dollars. You’ve surpassed that now with a few days left in your campaign. What have been some of the key points or highlights of the campaign that you can share with our audience?

Anthony:

Yeah. That’s a great question. It’s been a really awesome learning experience for us as well. I think the crowdfunding space and Kickstarter in general is just this whole ecosystem that is very, very intricate. Once you sort of step into the world as an outsider and you see Kickstarter campaigns, you sort of think, “Hey.” Someone puts a page up for a campaign and people just back it, but it’s really not that simple. There’s a whole process involved.

I want to say 90% of prepping for this campaign happens before it actually launches whether it’s rounding up press or reaching out to friends and family or trying to get social media influencers and really just trying to have a big splash on day 1. That was our goal, just trying to keep the momentum throughout the campaign, in the middle of it, and finishing strong, which we’re sort of in our last 6 days now. I think the biggest takeaway for us is just that big prep and really learning and navigating the ecosystem that Kickstarter is and really, like I said, splashing with day 1.

We used, which I’m sure a lot of other people have used, Tim Ferris, one of his articles on Four Hour Workweek where he set a template for the Soma guys maybe one or two years ago. We used that as a starting point because I think things are a little different now in the Kickstarter world, but that was a great starting point and we sort of built off of that and made it our own. It’s just been an awesome experience.

Roy:

Yeah, that Timothy Ferriss model is one that’s been echoed with many of our other successful campaigns and clients as well as other broadcast shows. I know Brice with Ravean was another successful graduate of the Tim Ferriss course as well. I’m sure he’d be happy to hear. We’ll make sure we get this out to him as well.

You really mentioned and drove home the amount of preparation that’s needed to really succeed not only on day 1, but keep it consistent and trending throughout the entire launch path. Can you kind of dive in a little bit more in terms of how far out you guys got started and what some of that process may have been?

Anthony:

Absolutely. I think there … I feel like with Kickstarter you can’t start early enough. You can always do more and more, but obviously given different types of projects and their timelines it’s sort of case by case. We definitely knew we wanted to do Kickstarter towards the end of last year. I sort of led that effort and really started digging in at the beginning of 2016, at the beginning of this year. We started prepping, I want to say truly started prepping in January which gave us 7 weeks to really get our ducks in a row. I think the 3 biggest things that we tried to attack in terms of really splashing on day 1 and getting that traffic and hopefully just having a snowball effect from press and more users and then more press from that et cetera, et cetera … One was just relying on friends and family, which I think almost every creator echoes, and I absolutely will repeat again, friends and family are your personal network.

They’re going to support you the most, and if you can get them really excited about the product and they actually like it then they’ll bend over backwards to really spread the word to their own networks and really just try to sell your product as much as you are yourself. We definitely set up a process of speaking with a closer group of friends and family who we thought would really love the product and also had good networks themselves to spread the word and really got them involved early on and showed them our appearance model and proof of concepts. They really, really got involved and helped out.

Then sort of that second bigger group of more acquaintances and people who are sort of in the space and just we thought would love the product, we had a process of emailing them as well with a heads up on the campaign, giving some details and to really let everyone know across both groups we’d love to have a big splash on day 1. We’re actually going to launch the night before so you guys can get some early access as well and really get things going for us. That was a huge help.

The second biggest piece was the press. Luckily … I think other campaigns have had to maybe rely on PR companies or agencies. Luckily my previous experience here in LA and in the tech scene was in digital media and eCommerce and so I was able to leverage a lot of the relationships from digital media companies and publishers especially in the tech space to really spread the word. I want to say maybe 40-50% of the press that we got was through relationships that I had and the other part was just organic from seeing our Kickstarter and from seeing the press that we had already received.

I want to say the press was the biggest influence on our first 5 days where we … I think we raised 50% of our goal in those first 5 days. We were trending on Facebook. Everyone was … Even friends that I had that hadn’t seen my email yet saw Mighty on other articles. It was just really cool to see the press right about it and then our friends sharing those articles and just really, like I said, trying to make a splash on those first few days, which was great.

The other few things we tried are reaching out to social media influencers who we thought would be real interested in the product. I think that might have worked well for some other campaigns, but it’s … I think it’s a tough space in general with that. I think social media influencers are getting more and more sort of power and influence overall and so they’re starting to charge for every sort of single promotion and it’s sort of a bigger process to get them involved more on an organic basis.

That was something we had hoped to do, but it was a little tougher for us. I think it’s more effective that route if you can send out a bunch of sort of working prototypes to all those people, but unfortunately we didn’t have the liberty to do that as we’re sort of grinding along on our end.

That’s something we’ll look into in the future, but other than that, I think just continuing to update our backers, adding more reward levels … We just added a stretch goal for sort of this middle and end piece. I think the middle of the campaign is where some things can slow down a little bit, so it’s a matter of just keeping people excited, continuing to spread the word, and just keep driving people to the page. That’s what we’ve been focused on for the last few weeks.

Roy:

Awesome. What would you change potentially from the way you launched or did your pre-campaign marketing? What were some of the things that you guys would recommend other campaigners avoid potentially?

Anthony:

Yeah. I think there … At least for us after the first few days and we saw some success, there are a lot of people that start reaching out, whether it’s PR agencies, marketing firms, people that do Facebook ads, like everyone basically pitching that they can help drive more traffic. I know some of them are pretty effective, and we actually ended up using one of them on the Facebook side, which has been pretty good for us in terms of performance. I would say that don’t get sucked into sort of all those messages and just be cautious of who you’re working with. Do your due diligence in terms of the people that reach out, reading reviews on them, and making sure that they really do provide a great service for you.

I would also say that it really depends on the type of product that you have and the category that you’re in. Right? Press happened to work out really well for us because we are in … I think we’re in sort of 3 spaces, tech, music, and fitness, but the tech piece I think was key for us in terms for press, but really, really … Because press was so successful for us and I think it is for other campaigns, really focusing on the needle movers and the really influential blogs and publishers in your specific category rather than trying to reach out to more general ones like big, big publishers like Huffington Post or the New York Times. If a smaller more relevant and very, very targeted audience is where your product lies, then reach out to those people. They’ll be the most interested in the product. It’s perfect content for them, and it just makes sense. Even if it’s a smaller audience, those people are going to be the ones that eventually back you, so really focus on that.

I think aside from the different services and the stuff you can do to prep, I’d say just … Maybe we’ll get into this a little bit later, but be ready for a roller coaster of ups and downs both in emotion and campaign and just expectations because it has been a crazy sort of three weeks for us, but it’s been a good experience like I said.

Roy:

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, beware of the ambulance chasers. Right? Everybody and their brother will hit you up on messenger about your campaign so obviously there’s a lot of snake oil out there. Certainly be wise. Obviously that’s why we hopefully look to help where needed with specific campaigns, and that’s why we reached out to you guys. You’ve done really well. You mentioned kind of the roller coaster. What are some of those challenges that you guys have encountered during the campaign?

Anthony:

Yeah. I think that for us specifically, we had an amazing first week. Every campaign will slow down a little bit in the middle, but I think because ours sort of exponentially grew in those first few days and then we started seeing like I think what is normal growth, we did get a bit nervous, but we learned that steady growth is pretty standard. You have to sort of do the things that we were talking about … that I was talking about before in the middle to continue that momentum, but sort of that and all the comments and messages you’ll receive that I mentioned not only from potential partners trying to pitch you on their services, but the backers.

Some of them, I want to say a lot of them, don’t read the a lot of the information on the page and ask questions that are easily answered just by reading the page, so there’s a lot of … Obviously you wouldn’t just point them to the page. There’s a true customer service element that I’m a big fan of that you want to make sure that even it’s there you want to still answer them and make sure they have all the information to make an informed decision … Just tons of questions that have already been answered on the page, tons of comments positive and negative that just can bother the creator.

One think that I wasn’t really aware of is just you should expect a percentage of cancellations, which was new to me from a Kickstarter perspective. As a backer you can back, cancel, back, cancel, change your reward level as many times as you want before the end of the campaign and as a creator, a first-time creator, seeing cancels for pledges is like heart wrenching at first, but I’ve learned that it’s part of the process and you understand that these people ultimately don’t have a need or don’t want your product, which is fine. It’s just something to be aware of because it does catch you off guard, in the beginning at least.

Roy:

Absolutely. No, I think that’s a great point that you bring up Anthony. I think it’s something that many of our campaigners haven’t talked about is the cancellations. That can have a heart-wrenching effect. Why don’t they want my product any more? Obviously there’s tons of reasons out there for that when people back or don’t back. Sometimes they want the early bird reward, but then an expense comes up in their life and they need that money.

Anthony:

Exactly.

Roy:

That certainly can be a roller coaster all on its own.

Anthony:

Yep.

Roy:

Give us idea … You guys set your funding goal at a quarter of a million dollars, which is obviously…

Anthony:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Roy:

Very significant. What challenges or what reasons did you guys set the funding goal so high?

Anthony:

Yeah, that’s a great question. To be honest, we wanted to make it even higher. It being sort of … Reading, doing our due diligence on just kickstarter in general, we did not … Our number one thing is that we did not want to be a project, especially hardware where this happens a lot, of raising the … hitting our funding goal for a campaign and not being able to fulfill two backers on time or sometimes even ever, which we’ve seen with a lot of big sort of hardware projects. To be honest, we wanted to set it even higher for that reason, but we wanted to be realistic and really, really think about the bare, bare minimum we would need to make sure that we can fulfill to people on time.

With hardware in general, there’s a whole ecosystem of the manufacturing process and delays there and additional costs and shipping and customs of sort of all that stuff. We factored all that in with timing and with the amount raised with sort of all that stuff in mind and then again our number 1 goal being fulfilling our promise to our backers of delivering the product on time.

Roy:

I think that’s awesome that you’ve done that. Not to harp on Ryan, the Coolest Cooler, but the fact that he’s only be able to fulfill so many orders and didn’t really understand the cost of manufacturing needing another 15 million or so to actually finish this thing. I think it’s great that you guys honestly set your funding goal at something realistic for you and for your backers to know that you guys are very serious about this and if you didn’t collect a penny more, you weren’t going to be able to produce this product. My hats off for you guys for being transparent and actually setting that funding goal at a realistic number for you to actually truly develop the product.

Anthony:

Thank you. Thank you.

Roy:

This gets us to our launch round where I rapid fire questions away from you Anthony. You ready to go

Anthony:

Yeah. Let’s do it.

Roy:

If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?

Anthony:

Oh, man. That is a good one. I want to say … Maybe this might be random. I’m a huge fan of Drake, and there’s a song that he has that is Hold On, We’re Going Home. That’s just a timeless record to me, and it was one of the big songs at my wedding. I’m just a huge fan of him and that’s my favorite song of his. That song always makes me happy. I love that song.

Roy:

Awesome. If you could meet with any entrepreneur or musician throughout history who would you want to meet with.

Anthony:

Oh, wow. That is a good one too. I feel like … Yeah. I don’t want to say Steve Jobs just because I feel like a lot of people say that, even though I’m a huge fan of his. One person that does come up is Kevin Hart who is … I think most people know him as a comedian, and he’s just top of mind for me because I’ve always been a huge fan of him personally and way before he came famous. We’ve actually dreamed of him becoming part of the Mighty Team. We always say, “We’re small but mighty.” He is also small but mighty. If you’ve seen his progression from just movie star to sort of media mogul it’s been amazing.

I think the biggest thing for me is his work ethic, which I think every entrepreneur needs to have. He is working 24/7 and is really passionate about what he does. He’s gone from a stand-up comedian to a movie star to now running his own production company, has his own Nike running shoes called the Hustle Harts, and he’s just on top of the world right now. It’s just very, very inspiring both as a fan and now as a fellow entrepreneur to just see all his hard work pay off, so I think he’s a big one for me.

Roy:

Awesome. I agree. The man’s got hustle. Who did you look up to growing up?

Anthony:

Oh, wow. I want to say I think two of my biggest inspirations are my sister and my grandmother. My grandmother essentially raised me and my sister growing up. My parents were first generation immigrants, came over from Taiwan and were busy trying to make things work so that we could have a good life. We were home with my grandma everyday, and she’s just had the biggest influence on me. She’s my favorite.

Then my sister, more on just the career side and just she’s sort of my hero. She’s had amazing sort of education. She’s had amazing career at what she does. I can always lean on her to bounce ideas off of and get feedback. To me, she always sorts of knows the right thing to do, and I can trust her. She’s always been supportive of everything that I’ve done. I think those two when I was growing up and even today are sort the people I look up to.

Roy:

That’s great to hear. Family’s always critical. Especially as a growing entrepreneur. What business book or life book would you recommend our listeners?

Anthony:

Oh, man. I don’t know if I have one specifically. I’m a big fan of reading the biographies of entrepreneurs, like a Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musk’s biography and also reading books about startups that have grown to big companies today, so there’s a book of Twitter and their sort of growth and history and Amazon and how Jeff Bezos came to be what he is today. Those to me are very inspirational and motivating, and you learn a lot just sort of analyzing someone’s life and how they’ve sort of gone on their different journeys and navigated their paths to becoming really, really successful entrepreneurs. I take the most out of those kinds of books.

Roy:

Definitely. Definitely. Where do you see yourself in 5 years Anthony?

Anthony:

Oh. I think on the personal side I can definitely see myself in a nice house in Santa Monica, staying in LA with my wife and a few kids. I’d love to … I think I’ve learned that I’m a definitely entrepreneur at heart. I don’t really like doing the big corporate thing anymore. I like to work in smaller teams and really make an influence on a company. I love running my own business. If it isn’t Mighty, which fingers crossed I hope it will be, I definitely see myself very, very heavy in the LA tech scene still and being an active member there and continuing to be an entrepreneur and sort of chasing the dreams that I have and trying to make great businesses out of them.

Roy:

Awesome. Last question Anthony, where do you see the future of crowdfunding going?

Anthony:

Great question. I think one thing is what I alluded to before is … I think there’s obviously several different things that could happen, but I think like I said before, we personally wanted to make sure that as a hardware project we continued to fulfill on time to our backers, and I’m hoping that it is doesn’t go in the … Even today from 1 or 2 years ago, the sort of ecosystem is different in that people have seen projects completely go out of business and so there’s a bitter taste in some people’s mouths. I’m hoping it doesn’t continue in that direction. I can see it potentially happening, but I’d love for that to sort of reverse that trend, so there’s that.

I also think there’s … I have friends at other companies who are actually going the sort of equity crowdfunding route, which I’m sure you and your audience are well aware of, but it seems to be something that’s getting bigger and bigger, and companies are embracing it more, consumers like it, and it seems to be like a good system. I think to me those are the two biggest things I see in terms of the trends for the next few years.

Roy:

Awesome. Anthony, you’ve been an awesome guest. Give our listeners your pitch. Tell us what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should go buy a Mighty.

Anthony:

Yeah. Again, Mighty is the first and only device that lets you play your Spotify music on the go without a smartphone. Me and the team really created this device from personal pain points, which I think is great and is true for a lot of other awesome products and businesses out there. The team consists of a bunch of ex-collegiate athletes, huge music fans, and still avid exercisers, and so we personally have a need for this device. Right now, the only way to consume Spotify music while you’re working out or being active is on your smartphone, and that’s not a good experience. Smartphones are getting bulkier, more fragile, more expensive, and sucking up a ton of battery, data, and memory with music streaming. Mighty is sort of a great answer to all those problems. We want to provide this great experience for users and do it in a very simple and elegant way. We’re really happy with what we’ve done, and there’s a lot more in store for us. Right now, we’re focused on finishing up our campaign. We’ve hit our goal, and we’re hoping to hit our stretch goal in the next week. If you’re an active person and you are a Spotify user, please check Mighty Audio out on Kickstarter.

Roy:

Awesome. Anthony, thank you for joining us. Everyone, thank you for tuning in. Make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all the show notes, links, and everything we’ve talked about and a full transcript of the episode. Anthony, thanks again for joining us.

Anthony:

Thanks Roy.