Designer Scott Wilson came up with a way to turn Apple's newest iPod Nano into a wristwatch, but no accessories company would fund it. So he turned to Kickstarter, a website where entrepreneurs and artists solicit startup money from small-scale donors. Wilson requested $15,000, but as of early Monday had raised $608,324, with 10 days to go before funding ends. So not only does it look like Wilson will get his watch bands to market, but he is on track to raise the most money via Kickstarter in the site's history. What exactly is Wilson's idea?
Who is Scott Wilson?
He is the founder of Chicago design studio MINIMAL, which has designed Dell smart phones, furniture, and the latest Microsoft Xbox Kinect. Before starting his studio in 2007, Wilson was the design director at Motorola and the global creative director at Nike. Needless to say, he "has plenty of experience designing great-looking sportswear," says Christina Warren at Mashable.
How do the watches work?
Wilson has designed two kits. One, the TikTok, allows you to snap a Nano into a dock on the wristband. The other, the LunaTik, screws together to make the Nano into a more permanent timepiece. Wilson says he didn't want the Nano "clipped on a cheap strap as an afterthought," but something that "your friends and strangers would stop you and ask 'WTF is that??? And where can I get one?!'"
What's the appeal?
Wilson says that watchmakers had struggled for years to create a color, touch-screen watch, but couldn't develop a small enough battery to make it viable. The Nano changed that. Turning a Nano into a watch actually "started off as an off-the-cuff joke by Steve Jobs," at the Nano's unveiling in September, says John Brownlee at Cult of Mac. Wilson isn't the first person to take the Apple CEO's joke seriously. But the TikTok and LunaTik are the first to "pass muster," with a "gorgeous" design and top-notch materials.
Why don't people just wait to buy it in stores?
People who donate $25 to Wilson's project get their own TikTok, which will retail for $34.95; $50 will get donors a LunaTik, which will sell for $69.95. Non-investors will be able to buy them in stores if any are left after the 7,236 funders (and counting) get theirs.
What Kickstarter record did Wilson beat?
Before Wilson's project, the movie Blue Like Jazz managed to raise $345,992 on the site. Other high-earners include Diaspora, a Facebook alternative from four NYU students who sought $10,000 and ended up with $200,641, and Gilf, an iPhone tripod that raised $137,417. The lesson here, says Adrianne Jeffries in The New York Observer, is that to succeed on Kickstarter, "propose an Apple accessory or a Facebook killer, set a relatively low goal," then "sit back and prepare to be ridiculously over-funded."