Wonderful concept, real pity they ran into problems making it work for electronic products. Seems they were pushing stuff out a little too fast, leading to severe quality problems. It would be a real waste if the implementation side could not be saved and they would deflate into just being a discussion platform.
Despite selling 4 million products apparently the sales side also had problems, for a product to succeed you need to spend on marketing. But not even P&G can afford to launch 3 marketing campaigns per week. They were already burning $5.8M per month on just engineering, mold making and inventory building, adding 12 new marketing campaigns of say 1$ M each would have meant a significantly higher burn rate
I think they were going for an Amazon like land grab of the invention community, trying to catch all inventors and keep them happy showing blistering progress, but the execution at the end of the pipeline suffered. Getting the last manufacturing issues worked out often takes longer than you had hoped and can be frustrating, many Kickstarter campaign go silent in this period, but those problems do need to be solved, and then indeed the product does need to be marketed.
Perhaps a core value of “impatience” is not that compatible with hardware. In software you can get away with selling an early release, and gradually solving the bugs. In hardware a bug can mean a recall, which is very costly and bad for your reputation.
I think it would be much better to have the 1 million co-inventors actually pre-purchase the inventions they are so busy commenting on. Only money talks true. Kickstarter implements this to some extent, where people often get to choose if they back the basic or the high-end version, giving very actionable market input to a design: if almost nobody buys the high-end version then it should be dropped.
Has Kickstarter eaten Quirky, or can the model be tweaked enough to save the manufacturing side of the business?