In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Adam Pener, co-founder and CEO of Sniper Bladeworks, creators of award-winning EDC tactical knives. Founded in 2009, Sniper Bladeworks pioneered ergonomic “pistol grip” handles and cutting-edge knife designs that catapulted the company to the top of the custom knife-making game. Today, the brand has launched on Kickstarter the 2020: Reload Signature series, designed to exceed your everyday needs and excel in tactical and frontline use. Learn about the inspiration behind Sniper Bladeworks, its crowdfunding journey and how they positioned themselves for a successful campaign.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • The long-standing history Adam has with Sniper Bladeworks co-owner and designer, Lance Abernathy and how company started
  • After being in business for over 10 years, why they choose to launch a series on Kickstarter
  • With multiple knife “flavors” available for pre-sale, how Adam suggests a company that has a single-skew product create a larger skew catalog
  • How they prepped for the Kickstarter campaign despite not being able to advertise on Instagram or Facebook
  • The marketing effort that has garnered the biggest ROI for the campaign

Links

Sponsors

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Transcript

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Roy Morejon:
Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, president of Enventys Partners, the top full-service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups raise over a hundred million dollars 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 you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Gadget Flow. The Gadget Flow is a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now, let’s get on with the show.
Roy Morejon:
Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today, I’m really excited because I’m talking with Adam Pener, the co-owner and CEO of Sniper Bladeworks. If you don’t know Adam, really smart, super sharp guy. Sniper Bladeworks, family business, overcome a lot of loss and adversity right now, they’ve got an active Kickstarter campaign that’s going on, raised over $100,000, hundreds of backers on there. Adam, I’m really excited to have you on the show today. Thank you for joining us.
Adam Pener:
Oh, thank you for having me, Roy. We’re a big fan of your show and super excited to get the chance to chat today.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. No, I’m super excited, too, because you guys have a lot of stuff going on on the backend. Before we jump into that, really just want to hear inspiration behind Sniper Bladeworks. What inspired you to partner with others and start this company and eventually launch a Kickstarter campaign?
Adam Pener:
Yeah, a hundred percent. It’s a great question. Sniper Bladeworks as a labor of love and I’ve been looking at this project for several years now. A little bit of the backstory is really interesting. I went to high school and have been very, very close friends with the brother of Sniper Bladeworks’ owner and our designer, Lance Abernathy, so I’ve known Lance since we were little punk kids, as he would call us, in high school. He was a big mixed martial arts guy back then and would literally used to use us as test cases for new moves he would use because we were about four years younger than him, so I’ve known the Abernathy brothers my entire life.
Adam Pener:
I was really interested when Lance did a career pivot back in 2009. He was a former SWAT guy, he was a deputy sheriff, also did some work with the DEA. In that process, he was always a big knife fan and he started designing some knives, and by 2008, ’09, he had done some collaborations and decided to start Sniper Bladeworks, entered the market, and really had a very rapid rise to some fame within the industry, mainly because he pioneered a new of type of handle design that was very ergonomic which he referred to as a “pistol grip,” how you would hold a pistol, and it really catapulted him to the top of the world. Did a couple of covers of BLADE Magazine, a number of awards that he won, and really established a name for Sniper in the marketplace, but was unable to achieve scale, and that’s what really led to the collaboration with me first starting to look at it in about 2016 or ’15, and then deciding to go ahead and partner up earlier this year and bring the company back to market.
Roy Morejon:
Talk to me a little bit about this 2020: Reload signature series blade line that you guys have created. I mean, these are ultra-premium tactical knives. What was the impetus behind creating this product line?
Adam Pener:
Yeah, a hundred percent. Let me go back to the collaboration. When I sat down with Lance about four years ago, he approached me about partnering up and bringing my skillset to the business, he was doing custom-made knives. He was making knives that were selling for between 500 and 1500 in the market, but there was no scale. Literally, he was making each one of them, he would sell it, go back, and so it was more like a hobby, so when I sat down with him, I explained to him that my view of Sniper is we need to figure out how to bring that world-class design and quality at a production level so that we can get the knives into the hands of more people who want them and at more affordable prices, because as we know, machine production reduces the cost, and therefore, we can offer them at much below what he was able to do the hand prices for.
Adam Pener:
Earlier this year, we partnered up. We formed a new company and acquire the assets of Sniper Bladeworks and we sat down and we said to ourselves, “Okay, we want…” Sniper was traditionally known as a company with a lot of swagger, it had a big brand, it was bold. Lance obviously brings a lot of that from his Sniper background, a lot of confidence, and we wanted to make sure that we didn’t come timidly into the marketplace. That was a strategic decision. We looked at five of the favorite knives that Sniper fans had enjoyed over the years. The two famous ones are the LPC and the DMF. Those are his folders that were both awarded and made the cover of magazines, then two field knives, or fixed-blade knives that are smaller and I think a little bit of a lower price point, so we were able to offer people who come to our Kickstarter five different knives that range in price from $115 up to 450, so really something for everybody.
Adam Pener:
The thought process was simply, “Hey, let’s these five knives into production. Let’s bring it to market through the Kickstarter. Let’s get the name and the product back out there,” and then we would have, when we started to approach the traditional knife industry method of selling, which is to go to dealers, distributors, retailers, we would have not just one knife to work with but five. I think that’s a mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make is they will come with just one or two products rather than understanding the importance of having multiple skews.
Roy Morejon:
Interesting you say that. I mean, in terms of having multiple skews, sometimes product creators only have the one skew or their one product there, right? With you guys, you have the expertise and have built a community around the history of the knives being a one-off or an individually made one, and now trying to produce multiple versions of those knives and those blades, how would you say, or how would you suggest a company that has a single-skew product create a larger skew catalog, if you will, when they just have the individual unit that they’re banking on?
Adam Pener:
Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s a tough bank to do it because you’re really not giving your audience, whether that’s a Kickstarter audience, a backer audience, that B2C, or more of a B2B audience, selling into shops and others, you really need to create some different flavors. Just imagine you’re an ice cream shop. If you came with just chocolate, that’d be great, but what about all those people who like strawberry and some of the other things out there? When you look at manufacturing, what we did was we said, “Okay, here are the five models we’re bringing to the marketplace.” We designed them specifically for Kickstarter, but as we have gone, we have worked with our manufacturing partner to develop four other choices for each of the five knives so we effectively have a 20 skews that we will be ready for market the day the Kickstarter ends.
Adam Pener:
We’re starting to head into production now and a lot of these are just finishes, so for us, for example, take our field knives. They are black on black. We’re going to put different color handles on those, and all of a sudden, we have three or four skews per knife. We also have POB coating for the two knives, or sorry, for the three fixed-blade knives, which is a glare-resistant coating that you put on the knife and they appear black, if you go to our Kickstarter page. We can very easily just not put the coating on and have a satin finish and there you have additional skews as well.
Adam Pener:
That’s something I really encourage entrepreneurs to think about, catalog. Envision how you are going to reach out to your target audience, how you’re going to build a catalog, and the fact that when you go to somebody and say, “Hey, here’s my product,” what’s the first question that I think most people are going to ask is, “Does it come in different colors?” so yeah, building out that skew line from the beginning is a highly strategic issue that I think is, for first-time entrepreneurs, it can be challenging, but something that if they give some time and energy to, I think it’s going to increase the probability of success.
Roy Morejon:
No, I agree. I mean, one of the things that I really like about all campaigns, but obviously, what you guys have done in yours is that the knives in this campaign are certainly unique, but also signed and individually numbered, and once the campaign is over, right, all of those limited-edition knives will be collector’s items, basically, and no longer available, so it’s great that you’ve put an exclusivity also on this product and that fear of missing out for everyone that really does appreciate the craftsmanship that’s going into these products.
Adam Pener:
A hundred percent. Your listeners, I think that’s a great point, and I think that when it comes to the backers for our program, one thing we’ve been surprised about is that that element hasn’t jumped out at our backers as much as possible, and part of that might be our messaging and we’re working on that for the final push of the campaign, which I think that at this point, we’re going to have about a week to go when people are listening to this podcast. I really encourage them to get there because all five of these knives will be available after the campaign. They’ll be available either through our website or we’ll sell them to dealers, but we are literally stopping the numbering and the signature immediately at the last knife sold through this particular Kickstarter, so other people are going to be buying the same knives, they’re just going to be buying them without the signature, without the collector’s number, and we’re not going to be lowering price, so this is an add-on, this is an added feature that we think brings potential value.
Adam Pener:
I wouldn’t be surprised if the secondary market has our knives selling for double. That has happened in the history of Sniper Bladeworks where people bought knives for five, $600 and sold them in the secondary market for 1200, 13. I think where that really comes into play, and you have seen this with some collectors is we have sold a number of full sets, and in fact, it’s a higher number than we anticipated. We had to open up a second grouping of that and I think you are seeing people who are saying, “Wow, I can get the whole set, number one, for almost $200 less than I can get the individual knives, but I can also get the signature and I also get the matching number on all five sets.” I’d be shocked if those sets aren’t selling for 2,000, 2500 within a couple months of the campaign.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. You might as well try and upsell folks at the end to move their number up with the etching that you guys will do, right?
Adam Pener:
Yeah, a hundred percent. We love this. Lance’s signature is… He wouldn’t say this. He’s a very humble guy, I would say. I think his signature is very valuable. I think the numbering is a beautiful touch for collectors and I’m really hopeful, I think at the end of the day, we will sell about 200 of each knife, and that’s it. I mean, once you have that, you will have number, say 37 of 200 of this limited-edition collection, it will be signed. I think that’s valuable either as a collector’s item that’s up on your mantle or as something that potentially people… We do recognize there’s a resell market out there and I think people will speculate on that.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. Let’s jump into the active Kickstarter campaign as it’s going on right now. What first led you guys into crowdfunding and launching on Kickstarter? What was the process behind that?
Adam Pener:
It was actually a very interesting process. What started was it started with creative. Even before I had approached Lance with a formal offer to partner up, I reached out to, I think, one of the best creatives in the business, and certainly one of the great creative and experiential designers in the Pacific Northwest, a guy by the name of Mark Dusk. I had already known that I wanted to work with Mark on this project. I think the results speak for themselves when you go to our website, when you go to the Kickstarter page and view the video that he produced and he blocked out as well as all the assets on the page, but I think that’s very important, we have a very visual product.
Adam Pener:
I sat down with Mark and we began to brainstorm around how do we restart a company that has literally been out of the market for three years, so I have a very different problem than other entrepreneurs. Other entrepreneurs are saying, “I’ve got a new idea, a new product. I need to introduce that product to the marketplace.” The problem we were solving for was slightly different. It was: Here’s this incredible brand. It is an incredible story. It has a following already, not a huge one, but it has a bit of a cult following, and we need to be true to the brand and we need to figure out a way to really pop it back into the market with a big push, both from a branding perspective, and also from a go-to-market strategy.
Adam Pener:
It was really Mark’s idea to explore crowdfunding. We talked through it initially and then he introduced me to a crowdfunding expert by the name of Joe Johnson, who is the author of Startup Smarter, which was a best-selling Amazon book. He has helped entrepreneurs bring 50 products to marketplace, both through crowdfunding and also through more traditional go-to strategies, so we ended up forming a alliance, a partnership among the three of us and decided that Kickstarter was the way to go, primarily because it gave us a tremendous amount of flexibility in the design of the campaign, and also in bringing the initial set of product to marketplace while also connecting directly with the audience, and that was really important to us.
Adam Pener:
We are a brand company, a hundred percent. We are supported by fans. We are supported by people who frankly love our logo. They love it on their clothes, they love it on their hats, they love it on their knives, and so we thought that a Kickstarter was the right way to reach out to the audience and be able to offer them a direct-to-client price, a direct-to-client product, some special offers around the signature and the number of collections. Early returns suggest that we were spot-on with that strategy.
Roy Morejon:
Let’s talk about the marketing and the prep work leading up to the Kickstarter campaign. How long ago did you guys start prepping for this campaign and what were some of the activities that you guys took upon yourselves to put the campaign in such a great position where now it’s funded $100,000 into the campaign so far?
Adam Pener:
Yeah, $100,000, we’re about 3.5 times our goal. Our goal was $29,000 to start manufacturing, we’re at a hundred. We’re hopeful that the audience will continue to support this project. We are shooting now for 200 to $250,000 as a total goal. I believe we have about 250 backers as of about three-and-a-half weeks left to go in the campaign as you and I are talking, so we’re very excited about this. Roy, I don’t want to scare your audience off, but it was a massive amount of work, right? You know this, I know this. This is not something you just throw up there. If you do, folks are going to recognize that.
Adam Pener:
It started about a year ago, we were in business with Lance as of January, and we were starting to plan for the Kickstarter, which we were originally thinking would go in June, but we needed the knives, right? It’s a physical product, so we had to go through the entire engineering process, which took about six months to go from those original five handcrafted knives to the production series knives. We partnered with a world-class knife manufacturing company called Cutaway and then we began weekly calls where we literally went through them line by line, element by element, designed them up in CAD, and eventually, we signed off on them, bought the prototypes. It took several weeks to make the prototypes, had them sent here.
Adam Pener:
Then we had to get the dealer samples made, which are the ones that we share with folks who are industry insiders and do the reviews. I really encourage people to check out our YouTube page, which is SBW on YouTube. We have more than a dozen reviews of our knives, and that was obviously very important because people are backing a product that traditionally you physically touch and you have the chance to put in your hand, see how it feels, see how it works, check out how sharp the blade is.
Adam Pener:
All of these elements were very important to do simultaneously. All of the marketing took place at the same time. Again, you don’t want to scare anybody off, but these were nights and weekends. All five of us who are major players within this organization have day jobs, so we’re doing calls at nights, we’re doing work on the weekends, but at the end, it came together, and what you’re seeing on the Kickstarter page is a lot of sweat equity and me owing my wife a very nice trip when this is all finished
Roy Morejon:
A pandemic-safe trip, I hope.
Adam Pener:
Right, a very nice trip to somewhere not very far away, I think, and without staying in a hotel, so it’s going to be challenging.
Roy Morejon:
Camping. Sounds great use of the knives, right?
Adam Pener:
A hundred percent. They’re great camping knives, a hundred percent.
Roy Morejon:
Beautiful. With the campaign active right now, where have you guys seen the biggest ROI in terms of the marketing efforts that you’ve put into the campaign thus far?
Adam Pener:
Without question, it was the film that we did, the maker film. When people go to our page, the very first thing they’re going to see is the Kickstarter video, and that’s not anything new. That’s what almost every Kickstarter does, but we approached it a little bit differently. We did a maker film about Lance that has gotten critical acclaim. It’s about a five-and-a-half-minute watch, but amazingly, the statistics show that the vast majority of people who visit our page are watching that video and are watching more than four minutes of it, which is very unusual for Kickstarter. You usually see people watch the video as a box checker and then start to review the page.
Adam Pener:
The second thing we did was to invest in what I call our mini-films about each knife, so as you get into the reward section and start to get to learn a little bit more about each knife, you’re going to find a 30-second clip just about the knives. It does have a voiceover, which is Lance. It really highlights each of the knives. That was really unusual. I think that we may have broken new ground for Kickstarter where usually, you’ll just see product reviews or you’ll see more traditional shots, but you won’t get into individual knife films like that, or individual product films like that. We’ve gotten incredible feedback. People have absolutely loved those because this isn’t just a Kickstarter thing. In general, the knife industry doesn’t always highlight individual knives as much as a highlight their brand, so as Lance said when we got into this, he said he couldn’t count the number of times he went and he saw product specs but he wished to himself he could see a little advertisement, a little film about the knife, a little commercial.
Adam Pener:
Those two pieces, massive ROI on those. That would be my number one piece of advice to anyone who’s doing crowdfunding is you do need to spend some money on the film. You do need to spend some time. You need to hire a professional production group because that six-minute film took a day-and-a-half of filming and we pushed it pretty hard, but it is an investment worth making. A lot of people will gravitate towards it and we are seeing that the story is connecting very well with our audience.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, and again, obviously, creating and putting that kind of time and energy and effort into not only the script, but the contact, the content, the shoots, all of that, and that being an asset for long-term, right? It’s not usually just a video for a Kickstarter campaign, for a 30 or 40-day campaign. You’ll be able to use that video for years to come as a marketing asset.
Adam Pener:
It’s exactly the same concept as we talked about about the ice cream flavors, right, and having multiple skews. If you go into the Kickstarter and you come out of it without anything, you need to think to yourself, “What are you going to do for us? What are we going to do on November 15th?” Well, for us, we have those 12 hours of footage, so social media, we have months and months of content on social media, we have a whole set of interviews, or not really interviews, just mucking around between Lance and Mikey Vellecamp of V NIVES who’s been an incredible resource in this.
Adam Pener:
That’s another piece of advice to people is find an expert, find somebody who’s done this before. Mikey has done a Kickstarter. He’s built a very successful knife company. He and Lance are old friends and we were smart enough to catch a solid hour, hour-and-a-half of footage of just those two telling stories. That’s gold, right? Those are the kinds of nuggets that you can use in marketing for months and months after the campaign.
Adam Pener:
I do highly recommend people approach it as not only how do we have a successful Kickstarter or whatever platform somebody might use, but also, and really, the only one that I think they should use is Kickstarter, it’s by far and away the best that I’ve had experience with. But the other piece that they need to think about is how do you take all of these elements, whether it’s the skews, whether it’s the films, whether it’s the copy, save the copy. You’re going to be using that copy. It’s hard to write. Make sure that you are building the beginning of a long-term marketing strategy as opposed to a one-shot deal.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Talked a little bit about the community that you guys have built. What’s unique with your campaign is over a third of the backers are first-time Kickstarter backers, which is always unique, so talk to me a little bit about the experience that you guys have had in communications with your backers and getting their feedback and managing it all while working on product development and marketing the campaign at the same time.
Adam Pener:
Yeah. That’s a great question. Actually, I’ve got something that you’ll find interesting, and I think this is going to tell you exactly how successful our campaign is, Roy. We cannot advertise knives on Facebook or Instagram. It is against their policies and that has been a huge challenge. We actually think we would be in the north of 500,000 at this stage if we could have taken our advertising budget and put it into Facebook and Instagram ads. We knew that going in. We knew the limitations. It’s a fair playing field in the sense that that’s the same for everybody who’s in the knife industry. I personally view them to be camping tools and that’s how I use my knives, but I certainly respect the right of platforms to make those decisions, and appreciate the Kickstarter allows for us to have a Kickstarter with our knives.
Adam Pener:
All that set aside, back to your question on really, how do you get after this thing, we had to set up a grassroots structure, so the reason we have 33% or more of these people are first-time Kickstarter supporters is because we went back out to the community, both the knife community, as well as our hometown. Kansas City has been a huge support for this project. At one point, we had over 35% of our backing came just from people in Kansas City. They really like to support their own community companies and their small businesses and we really appreciate that for everybody out in Kansas City. But yeah, we’ve had to get after it the old-fashioned way: emails, texts, really pushing our orbits, meaning the hundred or 150 people who are friends, business colleagues, family members, getting them to hit the emails, hit the LinkedIn posts, hit the Facebook posts, and really get after this at the grassroots level.
Adam Pener:
Not chest-beating here, just saying that the fact that we have hit 100,000 is incredible. The traffic is really difficult to move because of that prohibition on ads, and I really hope that everybody who is listening to your show takes a minute and posts for small business, whether it’s ours or others. We’re a big believer in the fact that small businesses to thrive, especially in a COVID era, need people to take a minute and put a post up on LinkedIn, or take a minute and put a post up on Instagram or Facebook. These things really work. Word-of-mouth traffic really works. It’s about shooting a lot of content out into the marketplace coming from various people and they will take a second and come to our Kickstarter page.
Adam Pener:
By the way, just back to that whole 33%, we’ve converted at an extremely high rate in terms of the number of people who have come to our page, so again, just goes to show you that I think when you cater to your fan base, when you really pay attention to them, when you give them giveaways, when you give them not just good, great product at very good prices, people will respond and they’re going to help you in driving additional traffic.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Given the campaign’s already been active for a little while, what’s been the biggest surprise of the campaign so far?
Adam Pener:
The biggest surprise of the campaign has been that we just haven’t been able to generate the traffic or the media. I think, again, 100,000 doesn’t stand out in Kickstarter world, but when you think about the fact that almost every single Kickstarter has the benefit of advertising through Facebook and Instagram and we don’t, 100,000 starts to look like a really big number, and for us, it is a really big number. We have our sights set higher.
Adam Pener:
The biggest surprise has been how challenging is to generate traffic without the benefit of ads. If you are going to crowdfund, if you’re listening out there, you’re going to start a product, make sure you have an advertising budget for ads on LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, others. That’s your best bang for the buck as a small company. We did it the challenging way. We knew about that challenge, but yeah, it’s been hard to drive people to the site, which is why I’m very appreciative of your taking the time today and I hope everybody who’s listening takes a few minutes, come check it out, and tell their friends about it.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Well, I mean, even with $100,000 in funding, you are definitely in rare air being one of the top 8,000 campaigns out of roughly 400,000 that have run out there, so well done to you and the team. Adam, this is going to get us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid-fire a handful of questions at you. Good to go?
Adam Pener:
I am good to go. You’re a better launcher than I am, so bear with me, okay, Roy?
Roy Morejon:
No worries. I’ll take it easy on you.
Adam Pener:
Thank you. I appreciate that.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, yeah. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Adam Pener:
I’ve always been a small business guy. I actually had my first small business and sold it as I left high school. I had about 30 WANs in my business. I love the climb. Small business is a really steep climb from the time of inception through commercialization. I love it and then I’m ready for the next one. It’s also the backbone of America. I mean, where would America be without small business? I love it. I think other people will love it as well. It is both discouraging, encouraging, inspiring, painful. It is the wave of emotion, so anyone who is thinking about a small business, they can always hit me up. Drop me an email at adam@sniperbladeworks.com. I’d love to talk small business. I love entrepreneurs and helping them out as well.
Roy Morejon:
Adam, if you could meet with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?
Adam Pener:
This is an interesting question. It would be Mark Cuban, but we would have one of the nastiest conversations of all time. I love Mark, but I think he has forgotten exactly what it takes when you do not have any resources. I watch him on Shark Tank and I’m thinking, “Hey, Mark, it’s easy to make that decision when you’re a billionaire.” When you literally are begging, borrowing, and stealing to get a project up and running, you don’t have the benefit of perfect information or perfect strategy, you have to bootstrap it, so I would love to sit down with Mark and just pick his brain and remind him of, “Hey, there was a time where you were knocking on doors. This isn’t as easy as you make it out to be.”
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, I hear you, man. Adam, what’s your favorite camping spot?
Adam Pener:
We do a lot of camping right around here. I’m in Oregon, so we have a number of great places around here that we are very fortunate to. There’s a couple of great spots around Mount Adams in Southern Washington that we do a lot of camping at. Then, of course, you can get out near Crater Lake, which if people haven’t been to Oregon and you do decide to make the trip up here, make sure you get a chance to get down to Crater Lake. It is a true wonder. Take a MAMU. I mean, you need the ultimate camping knife to go down to spend a couple of days in the wilderness, so grab yourself a MAMU while you’re on our page.
Roy Morejon:
There we go. What book would you recommend to our avid listeners?
Adam Pener:
Oh, a thousand percent, I can’t do one, I’ve got to do two, and these are must-reads for any businessperson, not just any entrepreneur. One is Principles by Ray Dalio, single most important book I’ve read in the last five years. Second, and everyone should have read this before the pandemic, but Black Swan, which of course, is about an event that’s unpredictable but comes around and really just turns the world on its head, so those are great reads and encourage them to everybody.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Last question, Adam, and I know you’re in your first campaign, but very interested to hear your insights in terms of what does the future of crowdfunding look like?
Adam Pener:
A really interesting question. I would say I’m bullish on crowdfunding. I think people are getting smarter. I think it’s been great that there’s been other platforms that are pushing Kickstarter. The first part of the future, and I know that the various platforms are working on this, is to provide more flexibility in the way in which the information is presented. Right now, it’s fairly rigid, so I expect there to be an evolution on that front. You said that we’re in rarefied air, over 400,000 and we’re in the top 8,000. That’s fantastic. I didn’t actually know that statistics, so very cool.
Adam Pener:
But I would imagine that you’re going to see more and more and more people continue to flood these platforms in order to get the word out because ultimately, Roy, my takeaway, and I encourage your audience to understand this: 99% of these are not going to fund north of 500,000, let alone a million, and it might be more than that. You need to think of this as a marketing platform. This is a way for you to speak directly to your audience, to build brand support, to build fans, and to build initial backers who are going to help be the people to, steal a term from Malcolm Gladwell, your mavens, your folks who are going to spread the gospel for you, so taking care of them is very important. I think you’re going to see this continue to rise in terms of the number of Kickstarters and other crowdfunding efforts over the years to come.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Well, Adam, this has been-
Adam Pener:
I got a question for you, Roy. Roy, hang on, I’m-
Roy Morejon:
… Yeah, not allowed. It’s not your interview. Come on, now. No, go ahead.
Adam Pener:
… I got one question. What are you reading right now? I need a new book in my COVID world.
Roy Morejon:
Oh, what am I reading? I just got a new book in the mail yesterday, Man’s Search for Meaning, but I haven’t opened that one up. I’m in-between two books right now, both friends of mine. Ben Greenfield, his book, Boundless, which is all about upgrading your brain and optimizing your body for defying aging because I’m trying to be hard to kill just like he is.
Adam Pener:
Oh, I love that.
Roy Morejon:
Another book by two good… Yeah, great read there. Lots of good body biohacking tips in there. Then another book that a couple of my friends just launched called Unleash Your Humble Alpha, which I’m just getting into, which is very interesting, but yeah, reading a few books and then I’ve got one active on Audible right now talking about the beginning of life. I forget the name of that one, but a very deep introspective listen on that one, so covering a lot of content these days.
Adam Pener:
I appreciate the advice. I think there’s two kinds of people in the world. There’s the smart ones like you who can read three books at the same time and then there’s the ones that aren’t so like me who’s a one-book-at-a-time kind of person, but I appreciate the titles and I’m going to give that a look. I always liked to find out what people are reading so I can get my list going.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. No, I’ll definitely share it with you and maybe the listeners want to hear some of that, too, but I’m definitely always constantly consuming. Adam, this has been great. This is your opportunity to basically give our audience your pitch, tell people what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should check you out.
Adam Pener:
Great. That’s fantastic. Thank you, Roy. First off, thank you to the audience for listening. Really appreciate this, Roy. I really appreciate you. I think this is an incredible platform that you are giving, both to entrepreneurs, but also to your audience who are learning all kinds of good tricks of the trade from people who have made mistakes, had successes. This is incredibly important little Petri dish that you have and it’s been great to be part of it.
Adam Pener:
We have about a week to go in our Kickstarter. This is going to be the last chance for people to get the signed and numbered collector’s edition of our five models. We are Sniper Bladeworks. We are a niche high-end tactical knife manufacturer and we also are going to be broadening out into merchandise in the months ahead, so I certainly want people to know that we are available anytime at sniperbladworks.com. We’re on Instagram. We are on Facebook. We are on YouTube where you can see a lot of reviews of the products that are available through the Kickstarter.
Adam Pener:
Again, my ask of the audience is that they come visit the page. They send a note to some folks, whether that’s a text of the link or whether that’s a email that they should come check it out. If they feel very motivated, we always appreciate posts on LinkedIn and on Facebook. I really hope that they take a minute, whether it’s our small business or other small businesses. This is really something that’s the key to small businesses, people taking a few minutes to spread the word, to support by backing, and then to help keep following companies and watch them as they grow. I think that that’s really how small companies succeed in this business. As you know, Roy, eight in 10 fail, so we need everybody out there. All Americans should be supporting their small businesses and the way to do that is by posting, we call it posts for small biz, and making sure that the word is spread and people know about it.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Well, Adam, thank you so much for being on the show. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to the campaign, and some of the books that we talked about today, and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and Product Type. Adam, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Adam Pener:
Roy, it’s been a blast. Thank you very much. I really enjoyed it.
Roy Morejon:
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business world and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com and tell us all about it. There, you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter guide to crushing it, and of course, if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review at artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups find this show, and helps us get better guests to help you build a better business. If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on enventyspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in and we’ll see you again next week.