Formix, you said, “Ask questions about the “problem” or desired outcome, and the solution is there”. I wish ST would have taken this approach during the development with Kickstarter participants. I know you were speaking about the software doing this, but as a company, ST should have been asking customers what they want to do, how they want to do it, and when do they want to do it. They should have also asked for feedback about the design of the interface.
With respect, BrianH, you seem to have made the same mistake made by many “purchasers” on Kickstarter: We are NOT customers! All payments made on Kickstarter are completely disclaimed and meant solely as FUNDING for the “Project”. We are “backers” of SmartThings (and not even funders of “Physical Graph Corporation”). Everyone who creates a Project on Kickstarter gets to decide what “Rewards” they offer to their funders/Backers. Once funded, they are NOT obligated to fulfil these rewards or meet the expectations or desires of the backers.
Of course, ever since the Pebble Watch Project beat their fundraising goal by $10,000,000 (TEN MILLION DOLLARS), I have always believed that this “funding” concept is complete BS: A vast majority of Projects on Kickstarter (particularly “gadget Projects”) are perceived as “pre-sales at discount prices”. This means that sales tax should be charged, and if the “sellers” do not meet reasonable delivery projections and basic quality expectations, then this is mail-fraud and all sorts of remedies could be sought (from credit card chargebacks, lawsuits, or criminal charges). Kickstarter is making $ millions off of these “pre-sales” and they really don’t give frack, though. In my opinion, a lot better controls could be put in place: a Project should not be allowed to exceed 2x it’s goal – this would encourage the realistic setting of goals and ensure that a Project does not result in the creation of a whole new Enterprise. There are differing opinions, but Kickstarter is not supposed to fund new companies (it’s in their guidelines…).
Focusing particularly on my experience so far with SmartThings, though, and absolutely no offense to all the creativity and hard-work that they are putting into this, and with due respect to the developer community here: My biggest beef is not that we are really only BETA TESTERS for SmartThings, and we have PAID for that privilege. Yes: It’s up to you how much to test, what to report to SmartThings, how heavily you press support for issues, how much you spread the word to future customers and competitors: But still…
Since this is my first Kickstarter backing, I was not quite sure what to expect. Is the current situation unreasonable? No, I guess not. Kickstarter has lots of visible warnings and the cost wasn’t too bad, and I’d have to be pretty dumb not to consider early-adopter risks… Could it be better? I wish, but – I’m not sure: The concept of “buying” the privilege of being a Beta Tester is becoming more and more common (even if the price is free…). How long are Google services (e.g., Google Voice, Google Glass, …) in widespread “public Beta” mode? – For ages!
I seriously long for the old days when release candidates (ummm… VERSIONS) had a high-degree of stability before being SOLD. All updates were optional and explained what bugs were fixed or features added. Constant updates to Cloud based products, which I cannot opt-in or opt-out of, is incredibly risky. All such services should have distinct Alpha, Beta, and Production channels, with Production having a very high degree of stability and a highly functional featureset. As it is, I have all my Android Apps set to NEVER “auto-update” since, as a generalization, every-other-update breaks an important function or causes crashes. Each time I decide to consider updating an App, I have to read both the release notes AND all of the recent user-reviews. This is NOT AN OPTION for web/cloud based services with only one channel.