For this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we met up with Adrian Solgaard, creator of Lifepack and Interlock, at CES! Tune in to learn more about how to build a successful product, how to avoid challenges that often come from overfunding and how to make the most of your time at CES.

Lifepack: Solar Powered & Anti-Theft Backpack


The InterLock™ – The Lock that Hides Inside of Your Bike

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • Why building credibility with your backers is the most important aspect of crowdfunding
  • How to avoid challenges that come from overfunding
  • What kinds of issues you may run into when you begin manufacturing
  • Where crowdfunders should spend their time at CES
  • When to launch a crowdfunding campaign
  • How to get feedback on a product before you launch it

Links

Connect with Solgaard Designs

Sponsors

FIN 2000X2000Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 25% off!

backerkitArt of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

Transcript

View this episode's transcript

Roy Morejon:

This episode of Art of the Kickstart is sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, and manage orders for fulfillment by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster. Plus, if you want to create and send surveys, offer add-ons and pledge upgrades, or begin accepting pre-orders, BackerKit makes it simple. Over 2000 projects and four million backers have used BackerKit, including many of the projects featured on Art of the Kickstart. Ready to try BackerKit? Visit backerkit.com and sign up today.

Roy Morejon:

Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, president of Command Partners, the top full-service crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped raise over $70 million for our clients since 2010. Each week I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur, or a business expert in order to help take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding.

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. To learn more, visit thegadgetflow.com. Now let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today is a very special episode. We are live from CES in Las Vegas. Today I am joined by one of our previous clients from multiple Kickstarter and crowdfunding campaigns, Adrian Solgaard. Adrian, thank you for waking up so early and joining us here at the Art of the Kickstart mansion.

Adrian Solgaard:

Yo, yo, yo. What’s up? This mansion is pretty sweet, I must say. I specifically love the zebra print that’s in the pool. That’s just next level.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. We lucked out on this location. We’re here at CES with all of the quarter of a million other people. Adrian is a serial entrepreneur, serial crowdfunding campaigner and product developer. The last product that we just did for Adrian was a backpack that absolutely rocks it. We’re getting so much feedback for it right now, for the Lifepack, raised over a million dollars for it. Adrian, let’s talk about the backstory of Solgaard Design and how it all began.

Adrian Solgaard:

All righty. Well, since it is my last name, it’s kind of my story, so I’ll just jump right into square one. When I was 16, I started a T-shirt company in high school, loved making clothes. It was kind of fun. It was part of our entrepreneurship class, and I was kind of the best business in the school. I sold 270 shirts to, I don’t know, half the kids in the school, basically. It was awesome.

Then I was getting into filmmaking, so I started doing BMX and skateboard videos. Then, when I was 18, just out of high school, I got a job as a receptionist at a film production company. Then, three weeks into the job as a receptionist, the editor wasn’t there one day, and I said, “Hey, can I do his job for the day?” and my boss said, “Sure.” By the end of the day, I showed him my work, and they fired that guy, and I got his job. So, I was head editor of a nationally-aired TV show by three days before my 19th birthday.

Roy Morejon:

Nice.

Adrian Solgaard:

Worked in TV for four years. Just fun to create things, fun to do storytelling. Then I started my own production company, doing TV commercials. Then TV commercials turned into websites, turned into branding, as we just kind of expanded our services within our client base.

Then I got a little bit bored of doing work for other clients and I wanted to create my own brand, as I had the building blocks with that established group of people already. So, then we created the first brand, which was InterLock, for Solgaard Design. That was a bicycle lock we launched on Kickstarter almost exactly four years ago today. Raised 50 grand; got some investors onboard afterwards; went on and got distribution in almost 28 countries. Then last year the patents were sold off to another company.

Then I started Lifepack January of last year, January 4th. Just went full blazes, hammer down. January 4th is the day I committed to it. February 29th we launched the campaign: prototype, brand, photos, video, everything done in six weeks. I was completely out of money at that point.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, man, you did it on a shoestring.

Adrian Solgaard:

$600, to be specific.

Roy Morejon:

I think a lot of people are going to be jealous.

Adrian Solgaard:

I was in a tight spot. So, we launched the campaign and raised 20 grand before lunchtime. It was like, “All right. This is gonna work.” So, kept going. I went on to raise 613 grand on Kickstarter, then started production. Then, during that process, we were on Indiegogo InDemand, raised another 600K; so, 1.2 million. Now in the last six weeks we’ve started getting bags into the hands of our backers. There’s about 8000 people that have bags now and another maybe 1500 that we’re still figuring out address changes. We’ve sent the wrong color to a couple and all that kind of stuff, but we’re almost there. Feedback’s awesome: really good quality. So, so pleased with the feedback we’ve got from everybody.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. No, it’s a killer product. Our entire team’s been walking around with them, and just everybody is engaging us and asking us about the product. I feel like a walking crowdfunding billboard. I’ve got my Skinner Shoes on, my OG Pants, my Unbound Apparel shirt. I am a absolute walking crowdfunding billboard. We live it, and we eat it, and we wear it.

Let’s talk about the prep work leading up to a crowdfunding campaign. When you engaged us over four years ago for the InterLock, it was a lot different of an environment and a community back then than what it is now.

Adrian Solgaard:

It really was.

Roy Morejon:

What have you learned along that path now over the last four years on the crowdfunding side?

Adrian Solgaard:

Well, like you said, it has changed a lot. The landscape has changed, because four years ago it was like the new thing. It was maybe a year or two old, but was really going, and so people were a lot more excited and a lot more optimistic about certain things. Now there’s a bit of a negative side on some things if you’re a brand new company coming out of the gate with no existing experience because of the multiple campaigns that did over a million dollars and have just completely failed, and taken peoples’ money, and left.

So, what I’ve learned is, the number one most important thing is building credibility with your backers. It’s really important to not view them as customers. They’re not customers; they’re backers. They’re a completely different type of person. They believe in your vision and they want to see you be able to bring your vision to reality. It’s not just ’cause they want the product; it’s ’cause they want to be part of this journey. Especially on Kickstarter, I see that personality type. Indiegogo’s a little bit more, “I want this product; therefore, I’ll buy it.” Kickstarter has more of a community feel to it in that way.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. No. It’s absolutely a conversation, right?

Adrian Solgaard:

Yeah.

Roy Morejon:

I mean, these are backers. They want to go along with that entrepreneurial journey that you’ve taken. The fact that you’ve done it multiple times; you’ve delivered product; done it on time, on schedule, those are things that build credibility for your next future [crosstalk 00:07:01].

Adrian Solgaard:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, being able for us to say, like, “Okay. So, this is the product that I started four years ago. Went on, produced it. Here, you can see it in store at this, and this, and this location in these and these countries.” It’s like, “It’s in REI. It’s in Halfords in the UK and a bunch of stores.” It’s like, “Okay, great. So, it’s legit.”

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, doing fine.

Adrian Solgaard:

Yeah. It’s all about building credibility, I’d say is the number one most important thing, as a founder, as a creator of a project, is just build that credibility and be as open and transparent as you possibly can with your backers. If you do that, I see that as a really good path to success.

For me, one of the ways that I’m trying to do that credibility set of things and say, “Hey, I’m doing this,” is really using myself as part of the campaign. It’s like, “Hey, I’m Adrian” in the community. “This is what I’m doing. My name’s Adrian Solgaard. Here’s my Facebook. Here’s my whatever. Here’s where I live. You can find me. Look, I’m not running off with your money. I want to make this thing. I am legitimately passionate about making cool stuff.” Yeah. It’s a real interesting way to just do that.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. So, with a campaign that overfunded and was so overly successful as another million-dollar campaign that was out there, what difficulties have you encountered with not knowing how much the campaign’ll raise, and then it’s over successful, with thousands and thousands of backers?

Adrian Solgaard:

Well, I mean, we’re talking mostly to other creators now, right? Our original target was $20,000. With $20,000 we would have struggled to produce the end product that we have, and I was aware of that. One of the most important things with the crowdfunding campaign is that first 48 hours. That first 12 hours is so, so critical. It’s important that you have some people that are part of the pre-campaign in some way, but I think that the organic traffic that you get those first couple of days just tells you whether you’re onto something or not. Of course, you can get people to rally behind you and be part of it, and you can get your mom to buy a bag the first day. That’s fine. My mom waited two weeks.

Roy Morejon:

Poor mom.

Adrian Solgaard:

“Mom, Mom, come on.” But that first period was so important. Sorry. What was the question, again? Can I see it?

Roy Morejon:

We were just asking about in terms of the campaign overfunding and over-raising.

Adrian Solgaard:

Overfunding. Yeah, right. It’s impossible to know what you’re going to do, so I think you need to build multiple strategies when you do it, is “Okay, if we raise this much, we’ll probably produce this. If we produce that much, we’ll probably do that.”

The number one most important thing it’s harder to say, if you don’t have any manufacturing experience. For me, I’ve been manufacturing stuff in Asia for four years now, so it’s a different story for me. What I did was used a very, very basic prototype that a lot of it was actually … I sourced existing components from existing manufacturers and didn’t do too much hard work, hard engineering right off the bat, and I was gentle in the details of what we would be offering. If I would have promised a certain amount of million amp hours in a battery, and then it ends up being something different, all right, then you’re in trouble, because then you’ve made a mistake there.

So, that’s why I started out really light on the details and just tried to keep it as simple as possible. We started with one color, one product. “Here’s what you get. There’s Early Birds. There’s that.” That way you limit the possibilities for errors.” Overfunding’s never the problem. Underfunding is the challenge. So, I think you need to make sure that you can build a minimum viable product with the target that you set and try to hit your target as fast as possible. I don’t know. I’m not answering that question a great way.

Roy Morejon:

It’s early here in Vegas. But, no, it’s a good answer and it’s a good reply in terms of for backers that are thinking about that and setting realistic funding goals. At 20K, yeah, you might have struggled to put it together and maybe get some outside funding; but, obviously, bringing in the additional capital certainly helps. You can scale a lot faster and actually deliver the product. During the campaign, obviously you had launched it with just one color and one idea. Then, with enough capital, you were able to introduce new stretch goals and increase the product, the color line, everything like that; so, it was great to be able to have those realistic numbers and targets.

What’s been your biggest post-campaign surprise that you’ve encountered thus far?

Adrian Solgaard:

Well, we did some good stuff with our manufacturing to set some targets for our different manufacturers. So, our solar manufacturer, we sent them a target of, “Deliver by this date, so we can hit our timeline. If you’re a week late, then there’s going to be a penalty on manufacturing; like, we’re going to get a discount. If you’re two weeks late, there’s …” They were still a couple of weeks late, and then we ended up getting a discount.

But the biggest surprise has been Samsung having a bunch of phones blowing up. Samsung Note completely changed the ball game for shipping.

Roy Morejon:

Really?

Adrian Solgaard:

Battery shipping worldwide is just … About 12 countries just said, “Nope. We’re not importing any batteries right now.”

Roy Morejon:

Wow.

Adrian Solgaard:

“Wall’s down. We’re not importing batteries.” That just changed completely. Also, DHL stopped flying batteries, and all of our shipping estimates were based on flying … Like, the rest-of-the-world stuff, for Asia and everything, was based on DHL rates from Hong Kong, and we ended up needing to go with FedEx, which was double and because FedEx just didn’t update their policies. So, there’s certain unknowns that you’re dealing with where Samsung had … It’s only like 15 phones, but that’s a big deal. 15 phones blew up and that changed the landscape for how battery shipping went. So, I’d say that was the one single biggest surprise, was just dealing with that.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, that’s interesting. It’s just something that you don’t even think about now, just as a consumer and purchasing the product. Like, “Yeah, bring it. Deliver it.” Like, “Oh, batteries.” Those things are happening. Every flight you get on now, they’re telling you, “You can’t bring your Samsung Note 7 on here, because it might blow up the plane.”

Adrian Solgaard:

Yeah. Some guy changed his wifi hotspot on his iPhone to read “Samsung Note.” Someone saw it on the wifi thing, and people were like-

Roy Morejon:

Uh …

Adrian Solgaard:

They actually had to stop the plane, and everyone had to get off the plane.

Roy Morejon:

That’s a terrible story. So, Adrian, let’s talk about CES now. We’ll switch it up a little bit. You had mentioned to me earlier over breakfast that this is your sixth CES?

Adrian Solgaard:

No, this is my first CES. It’s my sixth year in a row in Vegas at some kind of trade show event.

Roy Morejon:

So, you’re a rookie at CES.

Adrian Solgaard:

A rookie at CES, total newb.

Roy Morejon:

Give the audience kind of your rookie experience thus far.

Adrian Solgaard:

Rookie experience thus far. Well, if you ever want to come here, be prepared to wait in a lot of lines for a lot of taxis and take triple the amount of time you expect to get anywhere. My solution to that was I flew in, bought a bicycle, and I’m cruising around on a bike. I’m doing a little blog about it, because I just think it’s hilarious. So, I bought this Beach Cruiser and I’m cruising around.

There’s a lot of different halls. There’s a cool hall in part of the Sands called Eureka Park, which has lots of startups, lots of manufacturers. I would say, if you’re interested in doing any sort of manufacturing, any sort of crowdfunding, that’s the place that you could spend a lot of time just to network and people, see what people are doing. Ask a lot of questions and see what’s going on there. Some of the bigger halls, it’s Sony, it’s Sharp, it’s LG. It’s-

Roy Morejon:

It’s mayhem.

Adrian Solgaard:

… “Great. Here’s the new TV, and we improved the specs by 4%.” [inaudible 00:14:04]. That’s a bit boring to me. Yeah. It’s really cool to be able to see all the new stuff that’s going on. There’s so much happening in VR right now, and drones, and all that, so that’s really cool.

Roy Morejon:

Definitely. What’s been the most valuable thing thus far that you’ve gotten, outside of this podcast, of attending CES this year?

Adrian Solgaard:

So far the most valuable thing is, you can never replace face-to-face meetings. So, for me it’s been meeting with some different retailers that are here. Maybe it’s not a good idea to say which ones specifically.

Roy Morejon:

Not yet.

Adrian Solgaard:

But, yeah, meeting with some retailers face-to-face, letting them see the product hands-on, listen to the speaker, look at the solar charging. You can see the lights blinking and stuff. So, actually, getting a chance to be hands-on with some of these people and start to build that relationship, it’s just so important. Relationships are absolutely everything when it comes to any sort of business post-Kickstarter.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing coming to this event and seeing, obviously, all of our past clients, and future clients, and new campaigns that we’re launching, and just having that face-to-face. Again, the world is flat, but it’s tough to get everybody in a room, from vendors and clients that are around the world and around the globe. This is the central place to at least have that experience and that face-to-face meeting with them.

Let’s talk about the coolest thing that you’ve seen so far at CES.

Adrian Solgaard:

Hands down, the EHang Drone that you can sit in and it’ll fly you somewhere. That’s all I want to do, is build a drone that I can fly myself.

Roy Morejon:

Is that the next project?

Adrian Solgaard:

That’s the longer-term project, is basically … We’ve all seen Return of the Jedi.

Roy Morejon:

Indeed.

Adrian Solgaard:

We’ve all wanted a Speeder Bike since we were formed. That’s what every human wants, especially every man, and that’s what I want to build. So, it was really cool to see that. It’s like, “Okay. Yeah.” That’s probably definitely the coolest thing that I’ve seen. Shall I tell you the stupidest thing I’ve seen?

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely.

Adrian Solgaard:

I saw a patio furniture, big veranda umbrella thingy. They had a booth that was, I’m going to say-

Roy Morejon:

40 by 40.

Adrian Solgaard:

Yeah. You saw this.

Roy Morejon:

I actually thought it was pretty amazing.

Adrian Solgaard:

There’s this umbrella that’s there. They would have paid $50,000 for that booth?

Roy Morejon:

More.

Adrian Solgaard:

$100,000 for that booth?

Roy Morejon:

Yeah.

Adrian Solgaard:

They had 10 or 15 staff there. They had a non-functioning prototype. It doesn’t even work. They’re hoping to start pre-sales in four, five months, and they’re hoping to start shipping in 2018 before summer. If your company can have a non-functioning prototype, you can afford a half-million-dollar build to show a product that … It’s just that I think that we’re in this crazy point of a bubble right now, where, if you’ve got that much VC funding that you can throw half a million dollars to talk about something that doesn’t even exist yet, and there’s nothing patented on it, there’s nothing protected on it, that’s just nuts.

It’s a nice idea, but the solar is actually only these four small panels. I thought it was a fabric with solar panels; but, actually, just these four small pieces on it. Then it’s like, “Okay. I’m going to put these speakers in it.” Okay, fine. It’s okay.

Roy Morejon:

Great.

Adrian Solgaard:

But, like, it’s two years to go. Pre-sales should be the moment when you start to tell people about it and then sales. Then the pre-pre-sales, it’s like, “Why are we even here?” Then it’s not going to be news when you come out with it.

Roy Morejon:

Right. That one was unique. Your biggest piece of advice for someone launching a product, then, whether it’s at CES or not. What would you give for advice for our community?

Adrian Solgaard:

Well, I mean, if you’re launching a product, you might be doing … Like, if you’d be launching it at CES, that would be probably tricky to do if you were launching a crowdfunding campaign, because you’d probably have crowdfunding as your launch. I would suggest to not launch it right at the time of CES. It’s probably better to wait a few weeks after, once the news dies down, because during CES there’s so many announcements of so many big, big, big innovations. I would suggest waiting until, maybe, in February, when that news kind of dies down, the post-Christmas lull. Mid-February, I think, is a really good time, where people who live in colder climates are really looking for something to be a part of at that point.

When you look at the weather and stuff, Christmas brings you through cold November and December, then New Year’s and then this. Then February is when you really need to start to have some other anchor to hold onto, because there’s spring break a little ways away, and then there’s summer. So, I would say, if you’re going to be launching something … What’s the question again here?

Roy Morejon:

Your biggest piece of advice for someone launching a new product [crosstalk 00:18:32].

Adrian Solgaard:

For launching a product on Kickstarter, I would just say, Do your homework before and make sure that you … The first product, InterLock bicycle lock, it raised $52,000, and it was like 1200 backers, something like that. Then this one was 7000 backers, raised 1.2 million. I would say the biggest piece of advice that I could say from my experience is, If you want to make something, don’t worry about what the end retail price is gonna be. Make something that’s so awesome that it’ll inspire people. And if you can make something awesome enough, the retail price isn’t the most important part.”Yeah, I would just say that, “f you can really just focus on making something awesome …

And when you’re showing it some people, be selective in who you’re showing it to at that pre-launch stage, but show it to people from different demographics. And as you show the product to people, really listen to what they’re saying. The biggest difference that I noticed: When I showed people the bike lock, they were like, “Oh, cool idea.” When I showed people the backpack, their thought was, “Can I get one? When can I get one?” If you can get that reaction of the people … When they see it, and they hear about it, and they’re like, “Yeah, I want one,” or if they say, “Oh, nice idea.” That’s kind of like, “Okay, cool idea.” Great, but-

Roy Morejon:

Might not be enough.

Adrian Solgaard:

… might not be enough. If you get people to say, “I want it,” it’s like, “Oh.” That was when I noticed, when I was building the campaign for this, the real difference, when it was like, “My friends actually want this.”

A couple of years after I had launched InterLock, I met a friend who, of course, knew about InterLock. They pulled up on their bike, and they had a different lock on their bike. I was like, “That doesn’t bode well. That doesn’t bode well.” I think now for this a lot of my friends backed the project, and they’re getting their bags now. They’re like, “This is awesome. This is so good. I’m so happy to have this.”

So, I would say my biggest piece of advice? Make something people want they actually want to have. Don’t ask your mom, because she’s going to love anything you make, but ask some friends and ask the people that are a slightly different demographic from you. Just target something that is usable to people in a lot of different ways, because, again, a bike lock is something you need to buy. It’s not something you want to buy. A backpack … Everyone has two, three, four backpacks, and you could maybe use another backpack. It’s nice to be doing a project that’s not something you need, but it’s something you want.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. Solid advice, Adrian. This gets us into our launch round. I’m going to rapid fire a few questions at you live. Good to go?

Adrian Solgaard:

Yeah.

Roy Morejon:

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Adrian Solgaard:

It’s just in my blood. I don’t know. I can’t work for somebody. I can’t show up to the office at whatever time somebody else is. I just need to do what I want to do. I just love it. Awesome.

Roy Morejon:

So, if you could, let’s say, go biking with any entrepreneur, who would it be?

Adrian Solgaard:

Hmm. That’s a good question. Elon Musk is such an easy answer to say. I pull inspiration from so many different people, and I pull small pieces from here and there, that I can’t actually think of one off the top of my head that would be the one that I’d want to sit down with. I would love to meet a whole host of different entrepreneurs and just learn from their different experiences. There’s not one here that I’m following. It’s kind of little bits from here, little bits from there that I like to pull [crosstalk 00:21:39] from.

Roy Morejon:

So, let’s say that you went biking with Elon. What would be your first question for him?

Adrian Solgaard:

First question would be … I’ve been asked this question before. I was asked this question at a job interview a few years ago, but it was about, “Who’s your favorite director?” You can cut this part out. I couldn’t actually answer it, because this is one topic that I just … I don’t have any, like, hero that I’m following, I guess. If I met Elon, what I would first say is, “Hey, congratulations. I love what you’ve done with your business. I love the way that you’ve created Tesla, that you’ve started with a high-end product, and then you’ve started to filter down and then make it …” because that’s how a successful business is. I’ve kind of done a lot of research on it, so I wouldn’t even have a specific question. I would just like to be in the company of someone like him.

Roy Morejon:

Just give him props.

Adrian Solgaard:

Be like, “Sweet, man. That’s awesome,” and then be like, “Hey, this is what I’m working on.” Then I think I would love to see where the conversation would go. I would say, “Hey, I’m working on doing solar tech in consumer goods and small solar that you can carry with you.” “Oh, great.” I would see the conversation evolving from there. I wouldn’t be the driver of that conversation, because I think it’s a synergy that happens when you meet someone like that.

Roy Morejon:

Sure.

Adrian Solgaard:

I wouldn’t be the driver of that conversation; he wouldn’t necessarily be the driver. Our shared ideas …

There’s this great TED Talk about when ideas have sex. I love that concept of when I say something, and if you meet someone that can then one-up it, and then you one-up it, and you one-up it.  That’s when the really exciting conversation happens. So, I don’t have one question that would give me one answer. Whatever.

Roy Morejon:

Sure. Sure. Fair enough. What book would you recommend to our listeners? Your favorite book for an entrepreneur?

Adrian Solgaard:

There’s one great book called Rocket Fuel, which is about visionaries and integrators. I think that, as a crowdfunding creator, if you launch a great product, you have the vision and you have the ability to see something that maybe other people don’t, and you create something that’s awesome. Then, the side of actually producing it, and running it, and then keeping it going is two drastically different personalities. I can create something and I can run with it the first time around, and I want to run on to the next new thing, because I’m chasing novelty, is kind of the drug that I’m addicted to: novelty, novelty. What’s new? What’s new?

Then, if you do that, you’ll start to miss certain details, and you’ll leave things behind. Rocket Fuel’s about that personality type pairing with an integrator personality type, who is like a maintainer person that will actually continue to drive everything through. Sometimes that could be a PA, or like an EA, or a chief of operations, or something like that. Just learning about the differences in personalities in that sense, I think is so critical, to see how those two both can work.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. No, we follow that book very closely. Traction was the first book that they had written. Definitely interesting with the visionary and the integrator.

Adrian Solgaard:

There is another book, and it’s the main one, but it’s been years since I’ve read it. I’ve given it to a few people. I wish I could remember the name of it right now off the top of my head. It’s about creative blocks and about … Yes! Hands down the book that I would recommend is The War of Art. It’s a book written by Steven Pressfield, I believe. He’s a writer.

There’s a lot of people that are working in some sort of creative sense. When you’re creating something, you hit walls; you hit blocks. It’s about the war, the internal battle, that you go through to produce something, to create something. It’s just a fascinating thing that really opened my eyes about five years ago, before I did my first Kickstarter campaign. I was in the creative industry, doing videos and stuff like that. You’re hitting these walls; you’re hitting these blocks. I find it just such a fascinating way to start to think a little bit differently about how you can go around things and how you can just push through those mental blocks.

For example, I think it’s Hemingway. I might be wrong on that. It might be a different author. He would have in his house, in his office space where he was working, is he would have a desk, where he would have his typewriter, and that was where he would type. Then he would have a desk where he would do his whatever and a desk where he’d do his whatever. It’s about how you can separate different tasks into different spaces.

So, for me, if I do all my work at something in the same space, it’s hard to separate that. So, sometimes just going to a different location and having that as your dedicated space can help you really focus on that one thing you need to do.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, shift your mind state. What’s next for Solgaard Design?

Adrian Solgaard:

Well, there’s two campaigns that we’re hoping to launch this year in 2017. One is a watch, and I won’t say much more than that, but it’s more of a fashion, probably. Then another one is more of a tech product. With Lifepack, we’ve hit this point of a tech/fashion product; so, what we want to do is establish ourselves as in fashion and style as this one goalpost and then another one that’s more of a purely tech product on this side.

So, we’re kind of putting these two goalposts in. “Hey, here’s a product that makes your life easier, looks good, and just functions really well. Here’s a product that is super-high tech, makes your life easier, and does this.” It’s kind of fashion/tech, and that’s kind of the sandbox we want to play in, just kind of drawing the lines from the sandbox. Then, once we have those lines filled in, then the plan is to really start to bring some really cool stuff to market in there.

Doing some of these launches as Kickstarter, some as traditional launches, just because of time. Once you do something on Kickstarter, you need to wait six months before you release anything else, because you need to honor your backers. You need to honor their commitment. There’s going to be a bunch of really cool stuff that we’re bringing out in the next little while. Like I said, my long game is I want to make a sweet flying drone.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Last question of the launch round: What does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Adrian Solgaard:

Future of crowdfunding? It’s really hard to say. I think that we’re going to continue to have crowdfunding in a big way, for sure, and I think that it’s going to be pared down to, maybe, a more specific community. Maybe there’s going to become a little more clarity about it. A lot of people don’t even understand what it is. I mean, 30% of the backers from our campaign were fresh to crowdfunding, and so they sent us a message a week after they’d backed, before the campaign even closed. They were like, “So, when do I get my bag?” It’s like, “Oh. You didn’t really read it.”

As it gets more exposure, and as it gets more understood, I think that only time will really tell. It’s going to be fascinating. I definitely think it’s going to grow and I think that it’s such an amazing way to bring unadulterated, awesome stuff to market. Again, it comes down to these personality types. The personality type of someone who creates really cool stuff probably doesn’t have the skillset in VC funding or that integrator person to help them on that side; but, what’s amazing about crowdfunding is that crazy inventor, visionary person that’s a little bit different, or oddball, whatever, they can just go full-on nuts on their campaign idea, on their product idea.

They can launch it to the world on crowdfunding, and then people can come and say, “Yes, I like it. No, I don’t.” I think that the future of crowdfunding is really going to continue to be about product idea validation. That’s what I think is the most amazing thing about it. I think that it’s going to grow in that way, because people will continue to launch more and more ambitious products via crowdfunding, and it’s just that opening gate to, “Hey, look. I got 5000 people onboard for this thing,” and then it helps you to be able to get to the next steps.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Adrian, this has been fun, live from CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. Please give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should go buy your products.

Adrian Solgaard:

Okay. Lifepack is a solar-powered and anti-theft backpack, because it’s got a solar panel that’s attached to a power bank and a Bluetooth speaker; so, you’ll always have music and power for your phone when you’re on the go. The battery itself will hold about six charges for your iPhone, or any other smartphone is about the same. The solar panel will generate an extra full charge for your phone in four hours of sun. One hour of sun will give you two hours of music. So, whether you’re at the beach or at the pool, you’ve got tunes with you when you’re on the go, which is awesome.

The bag also has an integrated lock. So, when you’re sitting at Starbucks or at any kind of café, you can lock your bag to the chair beside you while you’re working so you can continue to focus on your work rather than get distracted by that occasional eye shift, “Oh. Is my bag safe? Is my bag there?” There’s also a hidden passport pocket, a rain cover. The short thing about Lifepack is it’s a bag that’s ready for anything. You can go to getlifepack.com to check out Lifepack, and you can buy it from there. We are shipping now. Yeah?

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Adrian, this has been great. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Of course, make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all of the show notes, a full transcript, links to everything we talked about, and all of the products. Of course, thank you to our podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Adrian, thank you for joining us at CES.

Adrian Solgaard:

Definitely get BackerKit if you’re using Kickstarter, seriously. We didn’t do it, and it sucks. It’s so much work.

Roy Morejon:

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a better business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com and tell us about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes and our Kickstarter guide to crushing it. If you loved this episode, leave us a review at artkick.wpengine.com/itunes. It helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find the show and helps us get better guests on here to help build your business. If you need a more hands-on crowdfunding strategy, please feel free to request a quote on commandpartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll see you soon.