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Midronome, the King of (Pre) Launch - Hardware Edition #03

Midronome is a revolutionary music tool that has been gaining attention in the music industry. Founded by Simon, Midronome utilizes technology to create an accurate and reliable beat for musicians while practicing their craft. By providing the user with real-time feedback and detailed metrics, Midronome gives its users an edge when it comes to mastering their instruments. Simon ran a very successful prelaunch campaign and managed to raise €160,000 on Kickstarter. He tells us how he did this.

You can both watch and listen to our podcast or read the transcript below.

George: [00:00:00] But you spoke to Everett, the new CEO of Kickstarter.

Midronome: I said, so we hope that finally there's gonna be a Facebook pixel on Kickstarter. And, and the magic is, he actually did, he put the pixel on Kickstarter like three days before the end of my campaign and I was like, God , like anyway, couldn't have come a month sooner.

George: Our guest today is the creator of Midronome. Midronome is a mid master clock with built-in metronome to keep electronic musicians in sync. Midronome raised over $160,000 from over a thousand backers and the man behind it all Simon is here to share how he did [00:01:00] it. Simon, welcome. Super great to thank you on the for everyone watching and listening.

George: Simon is eating a piece of cake at the moment, which we just learned is a French thing, right? .

Well, thank you for having me here. It's a

George: pleasure. Absolutely man. It's, it's such an honor to have you, Simon has a bit of backstory. So, we worked a little bit on Simon's campaign.

George: He has proven, she's one of the most brilliant creators I think that we've ever had. Like, we almost kind of felt bad charging him for our services because he just had so many great things, , that we actually learned from him just the way he set up his campaign, which is why it's great to have you here today.

George: I think everyone including us can actually learn a lot from you cuz you executed so well. Before we get into that, would you mind giving people a little bit of backstory on who you are, where you are what your background is? .

Midronome: Yeah, I mean, thank you for saying this. I, I didn't know actually that I was your best kind, but I, so yeah, my name is Simon.

I am French, live in Denmark. [00:02:00] And I'm a musician and my band has had some timing issues when we play music. And somehow I came up with this idea of this device that's actually right here. Always have one on the table . And yeah, I mean we had issues and I thought, Hey, I can solve this.

I can do a bit of electronics and stuff. And somehow that was like three years ago and the project grew and grew, and I've always had in the back of my to use crowdfunding. Because I didn't want to go through investors and all that stuff. And I hope the idea was literally, okay, I'm gonna create device that's, you know, that's gonna solve a problem.

People are gonna like this and then, and then it's gonna be cheap. That was also my idea. And somehow I worked actually pretty well.

George: So you don't have a background in, in electronics or in hardware,

Midronome: Not hardware. I have background in software actually, so I had all the software side.

Midronome: That could do and everything that was hardware I just learned on the fly.

George: How long did it take you to learn that?

Midronome: A lot, a lot of time. . I think I'm a very nerdy person and I think it's also what I did with the crowdfunding and all the marketing. I just, I just [00:03:00] go deep into things and I just learn.

George: That's a big undertaking to like actually to not just learn crowdfunding. We actually learn electronics and then learn crowdfunding. That's you, you don't back down for a challenge, that's for sure. Mm-hmm. . So you said you didn't wanna raise investment you wanted to do, you had kickstart in the back of your mind.

George: What were the deciding factors ultimately to then choose to do a crowdfunding campaign and then specifically to do Kickstarter, for example,

Midronome: well, I mean, like I say, I've always had crowd funding in the back of my head, so I always thought, let's, let's raise some money from people.

Midronome: And then the whole idea of why Kickstarter versus Indiegogo. Actually I wanted to launch on Indiegogo first. And I've actually spoken to the Indiegogo guys. Ended up going on Kickstarter and I hope it's okay. I'm saying this, but like my experience with Kickstarter was really disastrous. Like I, I did not like that at all.

George: Wow. Yeah. Please elaborate on that. What, was it that you didn't like?

Midronome: So like, I mean, first I was pretty shocked both on Indiegogo, and [00:04:00] on Kickstarter, like the how bad the websites are. Like the editors are so bad, it's like it's 2023 and they can't make a decent website editor. Like everybody makes their webpages on of pictures.

Midronome: And as a webmaster, like someone who makes websites is. It's so wrong, and it's so weird that you have to make the entire page out of pictures. You can't just write text and yeah. Anyway, that was one of the first factor, but that was on both, on both sides. That I spotted this. Yeah. But then, then the Kickstarter experience was also like for example, now, so one of the things is now I'm fighting to get all my backers shipping addresses.

Midronome: Mm-hmm. , and this, I don't understand why Kickstarter has this system where people can join basically Kickstarter with the Apple id. And then they don't even have an email, so I don't even have their email. I don't have their shipping address, and the only way I can contact them is one by one. on sending a Kickstarter message, and there's no easy way to do this.

Midronome: It's not like you can select them all and say, oh, send message. No, I [00:05:00] have to select one. Like I spent hours doing this, and today I still have 30 people that have actually bought a device and I don't have their, I don't have their shipping address.

George: This is so common. It's so crazy, right? We actually have this on all the campaigns that we do.

George: We always have have people that just purchase the thing and then just disappear, which is, it's crazy on all accounts, right? It's crazy from the backer sort of pay for a thing and then disappear. And it's crazy that Kickstarter has that system. Full disclosure, before we go on our, rampage of, absolutely. killing Kickstarter. I used to work at Kickstarter, so all my former colleagues in the product team who are listening, , I apologize, I still love you, but I agree with Simon that , the product just hasn't, hasn't had an update in so long. Mm-hmm. , which is, Yeah, it's just weird. But you spoke to Everett, the new CEO of Kickstarter.

George: Right?

Midronome: So yeah, that was actually quite cool. Like he joined, it was actually a few days before the end of my campaign, or maybe in the middle of my campaign. I think he became [00:06:00] CEO and I mean, I spoke with him. I just, I think I wrote a comments on Instagram and he answered, which was kind of nice. And the comment was

Midronome: the Facebook pixel basically. I said, so we hope that finally there's gonna be a Facebook pixel on Kickstarter. And, and the magic is, he actually did, he put the pixel on Kickstarter like three days before the end of my campaign and I was like, God , like anyway, couldn't have come a month sooner.

Midronome: But yeah. So that was also one of the things that was terrible about Kickstarter that is now resolved. This you can now use the Pixel. Yeah, the Facebook pixel. Yeah.

George: I don't know if I ever told you the backstory, but basically one of my good friends was one of the very, very early employees at Kickstarter.

Midronome: And so I asked her, I was like, why always this like hesitancy with the Facebook pixel? And then she was like, oh, like actually we were gonna do it. But then like, yeah, we sent it over to Perry, the co-founder, and he was like, sure, but then someone never followed up on his email and then, It just became an issue that for 10 years just laid dormant, even though everyone's just kind of on board with the idea.

Midronome: It's crazy. [00:07:00] And then it just never happened. Mm-hmm. .

George: So you didn't love your experience with Kickstarter because the platform was and continues to underdeliver on the needs that you have as a creator. Mm-hmm. , but you still matche

Midronome: Sorry, just to finish on this, it kind of matches

Midronome: with stuff that you, told me yourself that I think Kickstarter is a bit of a dinosaur. It's like, it was pretty much the biggest crowdfunding website for years and they never rethought by improving it. And they just thought, Hey, crowdfunding is cool. And it's true. Like the whole idea is cool.

Midronome: And I think it kind of comes from . But like you say, it's just a platform really. Updating. It needs to be modernized. And I actually think the ceo the new CEO is, is working on this. So hopefully it'll get better.

George: Yeah, I, just heard a podcast with him. They're doing the marketing services now and they are building a pledge manager.

George: So I think, you know, 10 years in they got the memo. But you're, you're not the only creator , who says this, like, you're not, you're not overly negative or anything. I think, I think it's what a lot of people struggle with.

George: so Kickstarter aside, that wasn't a great experience. What [00:08:00] I think, at least for us, was a great experience to see you do is your whole pre-launch.

George: So talk us through what you did to build hype and momentum before your campaign launched, because you did an excellent job there.

Midronome: The whole idea with pre-launch is you got the emails, but then they have this $1 reservation. Yeah. , which I think is becoming more and more common where basically, you know, people pay $1 to say, Hey, I really want to join the Kickstarter.

Midronome: And just the fact that they have to pay $1 means, you know, they have to take out their credit card and stuff like this. It really is an amazing tool for validating.

Midronome: And I think, like in my case, it was a mix of luck and like good product at the right time, the right price, the right markets. And like in my case, there's basically one competitor for this. It's a German company and. they own the market. Like they were the only one doing clocks basically for years.

Midronome: And everybody complained about their prices and they make great devices. It's all manufactured in Germany. And everybody says , it's just so expensive, but there's nothing else on the market. [00:09:00] So then I came and say, Hey, I can make something cheaper.

Midronome: And then people jumped on it.

George: And so, so just to summarize, so what you did was you built a landing page where people leave their email, then they get an email from you, and then you ask 'em to pay a $1 reservation. And what was the perk that you were giving for people to, to pay that $1?

Midronome: So the point is, like normally when you launch, you have the super early birds, right? The early birds, and then you have like the normal Kickstarter special price. Well, basically the concept is you add one more level that's cheaper than the super early birds. And that's why you give people that give the Wonder Reservation say, oh no, you have access to, so I call the VIP price.

Midronome: It's like now you are VIP because you've put down $1 and then you have access to the special price.

George: How did you manage all of that? So let's dive into the nitty gritty you built your own landing page. What software did you use?

Midronome: I did everything in my mail software called mailer Light. It's actually a Lithuanian company and honestly, I love their software. It's amazing. So it's, it's [00:10:00] like a big competitor to MailChimp. Basically.

Midronome: A lot of people use MailChimp or Klaviyo. I think Mailer Light is maybe a bit less known but I. Everything about the mailing lists side of things is amazing. And then basically they have like another part of the software that comes for free, which is the whole landing page. You can build a whole website on it.

Midronome: And honestly, I think I'm gonna switch my website to the Mailer Light system actually, because it's, it's so amazing. Obviously it's very basic, like you can't make anything complex. But if you need a very simple website, you can make that very quickly. It's pretty easy and it's super easy to edit or anything.

George: Okay, so you used Mailer Light for your, both your landing page and the email marketing. And then what did you use to process, like the $1 payment, was that also Mailer Light or was that another system?

Midronome: I used Stripe to process the actual payments. But yeah, obviously that's where I guess I have the advantage that I can code. So I, I didn't have to tweak a few things, integrate Stripe in the Mailer Light system and stuff. So this is maybe not something everybody can do. But they, again, they're working on this and I, they [00:11:00] initially have a Stripe integration in Mailer Light.

Midronome: It just wasn't working the way I wanted it to work, so I tweaked it and did some coding here, there. .

George: I think for everyone listening , who's not a coder like Simon, there are a bunch of ways you can do this. We sometimes use, like WooCommerce for example, because it integrates with WordPress and then, you know, you make your landing page there instead of Mailer Light then mm-hmm.

George: it has a tube. But you had, a super elegant solution.

George: So how many emails did you collect? How many people paid the $1 Reservation? and then how were the conversions after that?

Midronome: So this is where I'm gonna bitch about Kickstarter some more, because basically if you look at the numbers I've sold, Like most of my backers are actually the VIPs.

Midronome: They're the people that put down the one dollar reservation. I didn't get much backers from Kickstarter. I didn't get much backers during the campaign. Like this was like the difficult part. I still feel like the biggest thing was literally the pre-launch is where it's like I've almost felt like I reached the maximum of people I could [00:12:00] reach.

Midronome: And then there was it like they were there, they're ready to buy, which is where I feel like maybe I just didn't need any crowd funding. I just need to get their money .

George: I think it is a really good point before we dive into your numbers, because we see this more and more, right?

George: Where, where the, the pre-launch is such a big part of the overall campaign, or it's like, you know, 70 or 80% of pledges. , and those probably would've converted anywhere because you've already sent them a payment on a page that you literally built yourself with Stripe and Mailer Light. So it is, I think, a very valid point that mm-hmm.

George: What is the added benefit of Kickstarter at that point?

Midronome: That's the funny thing though, because I've spoken to a few other creators and I think what I hear more and more is I think the crowdfunding world has changed that before there was always this thing, okay, you're gonna do, you're gonna do pre-launch and you're gonna gather maybe, you know, 30% of, of your backers and then the rest is gonna come during the campaign.

Midronome: What I feel now, actually, it's a lot more, it's literally, you almost feel like it's all about the prelaunch. once you've launched, it's like, [00:13:00] oh, people know the system and they know how it works and everything, and they know the best prices at the beginning of the campaign. And yeah, at least for me it was, it was very, like the curve was extremely flat.

George: I, I also feel like maybe it has to do a little bit with Facebook advertising these days. Obviously, you know, Kickstarter didn't have the Pixel. It has it now, but the Pixel overall. Mm-hmm. is not. Good as it was before iOS 14. And obviously when you run like a lead generation ad campaign, Facebook has a lot more data points to optimize on, right?

George: Because you're gonna have lots of people sign up for email, which is a conversion sort of data point, versus purchases on Kickstarter, which are just always gonna be less. Mm-hmm. , you're just gonna have more email signs than you're gonna have purchases, and therefore you just. , the Facebook algorithm better and for a longer period of time.

George: So that's my personal theory as to why that Yeah. Might be more effective.

Midronome: Yes. Yeah, that's a very interesting point about why the pre-launch works so well because you get mm-hmm. , you get all that Facebook data at all the points, basically. You get it when they go on the page, then [00:14:00] you get more. Exactly.

Midronome: When this put email, and then if they even go further, put like the 1 dollar reservation. Exactly. Then it's like, well, okay, it's, this is a good lead and yeah.

George: Exactly. , that's at least my, my hypothesis.

And, and also you probably have more time. So how long, how long did you run your pre-launch for?

Midronome: Yeah. I would say about two, maybe three months. It's like I felt, I remember I didn't have the set dates, but it's like I could feel it. I remember I could feel that, okay, now it's time to launch. I had like, more and more people decided writing to me like, oh, this is a scam.

Midronome: He's just running ads and he's not, he's never gonna launch. And like, and when I get more and more of these, I feel like, okay, now it's probably time to launch. Like people are, start to. The same ad ,

George: what a great tip. The moment people start calling you a scam is when you need to launch . That's how you know.

George: Let's dive into your numbers.

Midronome: I launched a first campaign on kickstarter, and that campaign didn't work. As in, I didn't reach the goal.

Midronome: But funny enough I had about 400 leads. At the end I ended up about a hundred backers so that's like [00:15:00] the 25% conversion rate from my leads to the backers, which I think is pretty high. And I think, again, it's very specific to my product.

Because it's very niche product. So like I don't think random people will just sign up if they were not interested. Normally people say this is much lower than 25%. But funny enough that 25%, even though numbers grew basically on the next campaign, the one that was successful

Midronome: I still kind of saw the same because when I launched I had about 4,000 emails and I had 1000 VIPS that's 25% .

George: Wow. The VIP's all converted.

Midronome: Yet another thing that annoys me about Kickstarter, there's no way to control any of this. I have no idea.

Midronome: All you can do is just guess and compare things. And I've tried, but there's no precise number. There's no way to exactly know who converted. Yeah. My guess, my guess is almost all converted. I think it's probably like above 90%, maybe even above 95%. And at the end I've sold 1,200.

Midronome: Devices. Yeah. And some people bought two devices. So I think I have maybe [00:16:00] 1000, I dunno, 50 backers, which makes me feel, again, so I got 50 backers from Kickstarter, .

George: There are cases, right where surf, for example, with Kickstarter, if they put you in one of their newsletters, you know, that's a huge boost.