Scott Wilson and his MINIMAL design studio began with an elegant implementation of an appealing idea: adapt the latest-generation iPod Nano to the form factor of the wristwatch. With a pair of workable designs in hand, Wilson turned to the popular crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, hoping to raise $15,000 to get licensing and manufacturing off the ground. More than 13,000 backers later, he had raised $941,718, making his the most successful Kickstarter project to date.
Since its launch in April 2009, Kickstarter has been become a beloved part of creative-class culture. It’s a way not only to crowdfund projects from demo records to indie films to unlikely games, but to build an audience and a community as well. (Full disclosure: I was part of a modestly successful, entirely satisfying Kickstarter experience myself.) The ideal Kickstarter project is a passionately-pursued side gig. So I can’t figure out whether the Lunatik/Tiktok Nano wristwatch case project proves the worth of the Kickstarter model, or just breaks it altogether.
What happened? Even in its decadent phase, the wristwatch retains an undeniable appeal. But does that appeal explain the astounding success of the Kickstarter campaign? There are already a host of Nano wristbands on the market; is the TikTok/LunaTik project’s success an indication of the general popularity of the idea? Did people misunderstand the Kickstarter model, and think they were placing an “order” for a finished product (as some of the project commenters seem to think)? Is it a testament to the appealing design sensibility Wilson’s Kickstarter video demonstrates? Proof that we crave a personal connection with technology, that we want to be a part of its design and manufacture (without actually taking a job in the Chinese plant where the suckers get milled)? Gearfuse readers, I appeal to you—help me understand!