Disc Pricing Update

Discussion in 'MindStream' started by Step Ahead Innovations, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer Formerly icecool2 R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Delaware Reef Club Build Thread Contributor

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    Don't go away. Debate sometimes means saying the same thing 5 different ways before you hit one that resonates. You're obviously a strong supporter, so you should continue to voice your viewpoint.
     
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  2. acolotto

    acolotto Active Member

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    @lexinverts

    You just dont get it man. They are using the kickstarter as r&d. They get no more the 100o units out to all the backers, they use them and let mindstream know the issues and problems. Basically all kickstarter backers are beta testers. But now that it looks like they wont reach their goal that whole idea is out the window. Now Mindstream has to pay for the units themselves to ship out to reefers to test for free. This is why people are calling crap on there "still going to market regardless" its going to take a lot more money and time for them to do this. Usually kickstarter is used to prove to the investors they are not throwing money away and people want the product. An investor told them he will not provide any more money unless they can prove they can raise $300,000 from the industry, and that reefers will actually buy this product. But they couldn't do that, so now they have the difficult task of trying to convince an investor to fund the r&d, even though they could not raise $300,000 which is probably a close estimate what its going to cost to get this product tested. Also dude patents only mean for the way you do something, you honestly think this is the only way to test for these things?

    Also im not trying to bash you or mindstream. I love this debate man, we are both bring valid points up for mindstream to see and comment on. Im not denying this item is awesome and will advance the hobby. Just dont believe its worth the cost and the flip flopping on when its coming to market and possible kickstarter failure isn't promising IMO
     
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  3. nmertz1

    nmertz1 Member

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    Again, incredible job with what you've come up with now. You've offered a premium product for those who want to pay - an added luxury/convenience. Similar to how Tesla disrupted the automotive industry.

    When they came out with their first car, they didn't target the Toyota Corolla market. They targeted the high end car owners who wanted a better, premium option. Not trying to start another debate on cars, but just a simple comparison.

    I guess my problem is people don't understand what goes into actually creating a business/product. I've started and sold 2 companies, own numerous patents, and work directly in R&D. It's not easy and it's not cheap. Step Ahead has simply put, provided a better option to test your aquarium. For me, and many others the cost is justifiable. If it's not justifiable for you, that's fine - stick to the test kits which work fine, and clearly have for years! Just don't go bashing on a company assuming their financial situation, price structure, and business model. A lot more goes into it than you think.
     
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  4. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer Formerly icecool2 R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Delaware Reef Club Build Thread Contributor

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    That's quite a stretch for a comparison. :) I think we can liken this a lot more to a Segway then a Tesla.
     
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  5. jerseypete

    jerseypete Active Member

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    I wouldn't go praising a company for their business model without knowing their financials. When you try and solicit money on an open forum for kickstarter dollars you open up yourself for debate. When you make statements like we're comming to market regardless if we don't meet the Kickstarter goal. Tesla haha
     
  6. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer Formerly icecool2 R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Delaware Reef Club Build Thread Contributor

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    Let me clarify my statement (my humor doesn't always come across on a forum)...

    I agree largely with the comments you made @nmertz1. I for one understand these facts quite well, this is world I live in. I do however think the comparison to Tesla isn't a fair one. I do think the Segway comparison is more appropriate. There are plenty of similarities with Tesla and Segway (and Mindstream too). Both companies sought to disrupt a common market, both brought new technologies to bear, both catered to a "higher end" clientele. However there are some important differences also. Tesla has essentially unlimited funding, Dean Kamen has a lot of money, but not enough to keep Segway development going and he sold it off. Tesla created a product for a customer base which was willing to pay its costs (wealthy environmentalists and wealthy people who like fancy/fast cars), Segways were bought by a niche set of people who like the outdoors but prefer not to walk and people doing tours of famous cities. Ultimately, Tesla has the ability to manufacture and refine their product and sell it at a premium price while they develop a more economical model. The Segway saw incremental improvement, but was banned from sidewalks and buildings everywhere (except mall security) and the price never came down.

    I feel the Segway progression more closely follows what I believe to be the Mindstream path. Is it a step ahead innovation (see what I did there)? Sure. Is it attracting a wide customer base? No. At the writing of this, it has attracted just over 200 people on Kickstarter (a very niche market). Price is clearly not the primary problem, although it clearly is one. I see people on here everyday drop $500+ on a 1/4" stick without batting an eye. There are a lot of those people on this forum and in this hobby. Why aren't they jumping on the Kickstarter? I contend it is because this is not a problem they feel they need to address. The ole sales adage, "When the pain of change is less than the pain your are currently experiencing, you will make a change." The pain of change here is clearly greater than the pain anyone is experiencing with their testing. Similarly, people discovered walking isn't so bad and didn't drop $2k on a Segway. Step Ahead needs to do more to convince people that they are in awful amounts of pain and this product will take it away.
     
  7. nmertz1

    nmertz1 Member

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    ^^ well said @icecool2. The only comparison I was making to tesla was target market and market disruption. Nothing else.

    I'm sure you could compare Step Ahead to dozens of other companies who had similar strategies. Tesla was the first that came to mind in my quick response.

    Obviously in order to be successful they need to have market support. I don't think their kickstarter necessarily determines their success. It's a nice window to see into what they have come up with, and market response, but I still bet only a very small percentage of reefers who are willing to pay for it have seen it. Hopefully macna and other outlets will help shed more light on their product.
     
  8. Step Ahead Innovations

    Step Ahead Innovations Member

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    Hi Diesel. Thank you for your comments and for your good wishes for us at MACNA. We'd like to be clear that our message has been consistent regarding our Kickstarter campaign from the beginning. Our campaign is an key part of our company's development. It provides important start-up capital beyond what we have raised from our early investors. It also demonstrates to some extent that customers are interested in the product. Not reaching our Kickstarter goal will be very challenging for our company as we regroup and seek additional financial backing from investors. Raising capital takes time and can be a distraction for the management team and the tasks of completing a product and getting it to market. We are confident that we can get this done but it will result in delays. So, of course we will be very grateful to those who decide to help us reach our Kickstarter goal so we can bring the MindStream monitor to market as quickly as possible. Thanks again.
     
  9. malira

    malira Well-Known Member

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    Not monetarily feasible for me. I don't need to test 96 times a day. I'll wait version 10.0, by then it might have come down enough.

    But it is interesting.
     
  10. Diesel

    Diesel String Stalker. R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award Reef Spotlight Award R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2018

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    Thanks for reaching out, that means a lot.
    But on this point I'm not sure how long lived this product will be.
    If all depends on future investors to get it going ASAP maybe you guys should ask the question as so many already pointed out to release 20 maybe 30 through out the community for a beta test schedule.
    IMO you had more to backup on the whole project and with these results I'm sure you would reach the goal of $300K in a heart beat.
    Again not telling you guys how run this whole deal as I don't have a total in sighed on the game plan.
    But reading all comments through out R2R and Facebook made me wonder what is the game plan other than reach a kickstarter goal and go from there.
    What will be secondary game plan to get this started?
    Maybe MACNA will tell you guys but be prepared to answer a lot of questions and a lot of the same questions.
    If it was beta launched you had at least those hobbyist on your hand to cheerlead for you guys, kinda like a "Reef Squad"
    I hope you guys do something with the info and questions pointed out to you guys as feedback can mean a lot to the future of this product.
    Will be waiting from the results out of Macna from the Mindstream.
    Myself had to blow Macna off as of yesterday on the last moment as I had to start a change order on one of my Jobs and everyday extra we work after Monday I would be fined for $750 per day, that said plans are already made for California next year.
     
  11. Amoo

    Amoo Kills SPS R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I have a very simple question that has been posed many times here and has yet to be answered, doesn't take any further research or development and will take about 10 seconds of somebody's time. To be quite frank the answer to the question is the difference between me keeping my backing or backing out, so I would appreciate an answer to it.

    We buy a unit and 1 disk. How long do we have access to our data via your cloud services?

    @Step Ahead Innovations
     
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  12. Greenstreet.1

    Greenstreet.1 Valuable Member

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    Just getting out of work and don't like what I'm reading. Looks like I will be waiting for it to come out.
     
  13. Step Ahead Innovations

    Step Ahead Innovations Member

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    Hello Amoo. Thanks for backing us and for being so active on our forum. We have not yet determined what our model will be. We know based on our market research that most aquarists would prefer a subscription model for the automatic delivery and charging of their credit cards once/month. We currently cannot guarantee accuracy of the discs beyond 30 days so we know aquarists will want fresh discs every 30 days. We are working to determine what model works best for our customers and the financial realities of running a successful company. It is not our intention to turn off access to monitored data via cloud services immediately after the end of a disc’s 30 day lifespan. At the very least, we expect to provide a very generous grace period to allow time for users to purchase additional discs. We have not yet determined how long that will be. Thanks a lot.
     
    lexinverts likes this.
  14. pciscott

    pciscott Active Member

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    I want this product and I am willing to pay for it, but if I were uncertain of my companies future and needed more capital to get up and running I would look at which company would gain the most from bringing this technology to market within our industry. This would come at a price, but you would sell more if you had a name like Neptune or Ecotech on the box?
    Good luck meeting your goal.
     
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  15. lexinverts

    lexinverts Active Member

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    Eco tech? Please no! I thought we wanted this system to be affordable. :)
     
  16. jerseypete

    jerseypete Active Member

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    This if it ever does come to market, will make ecotech seem like jeabo money
     
  17. lexinverts

    lexinverts Active Member

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    Aren't you done trolling this thread yet?
     
  18. jerseypete

    jerseypete Active Member

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    No trolling it's the truth. Are you done cheerleading. Do you think your getting one for free.
     
  19. Greenstreet.1

    Greenstreet.1 Valuable Member

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    lol lollol
     
  20. Amoo

    Amoo Kills SPS R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Thank you for taking the time to answer that.

    This is just one person's opinion, but I don't feel I'm the only one who shares it. When kickstarter first started the impression many of us got was that the "current" reliability of these discs is 30 days because everybody's tank is so different. What this means to a lot of us is that we can save some money by doing our own testing and determine what the actual lifespan is in our tanks. We can from there assume we can provide feedback to Mindstream on what we are finding and things get adjusted from there. So initial impression to us is that Mindstream wants to make these last as long as possible for us.

    Fast forward to now and we're finding out that buying a disc is also buying a subscription service to our data and a lot of folks are scratching their heads. We know you need to make money, but if you know reefers, we're going to try to find ways to save money. If I have to pull a disc out of my system that is still perfectly accurate because "it may not be in some systems", that's going to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    I backed this project because I believe in the concept, I want to help test reliability and lifespan and I feel it has a place in this market. What I don't believe is that once a subscription model is established it's ever going to change. So once 30 days + 10 grace (making up numbers here please nobody key on these) is established, I have very rarely seen a company willing to "give money back". I fully understand your pricing model and why you are looking at things the way you are, but as a business owner myself, this is where from a customer standpoint I start feeling "nickle and dimed" for something I'm already spending a ton of money on. As others have mentioned already, we are already paying a premium price for the unit and discs, once you start charging us even further beyond that people are going to balk (ie charging for Fusion...etc). Basically if I have to start reading the fine print when I buy a reef product, I'd rather not deal with it.

    ___

    Off topic, but my opinions about the kickstarter in general.

    I've mentioned previously I participate in kickstarters all the time. I'm not trying to be mean or rude, but I want to provide honest, possibly helpful feedback. I really feel this kickstarter was poorly run and timed. Typically we see a few months of massive "community involvement" aka marketing before the launch of a kickstarter. Something to get people excited leading up to the kickoff. This helps spur the big kickoff many companies achieve. The big ending was well timed with MACNA, but you chose to finish on the last day of MACNA? Not give people a week to get home and really take a look at things. Most companies already know going into kickstarter what questions and concerns the community has about their product because of the "sweat equity" they've already put into the community. You guys waited until the kickstarter was almost over and it was time to hit the panic button before starting any of this.

    Again just my opinion, but if you started to have a presence here and RC a month before the kickstarter and began putting out feelers and integrating yourselves BEFORE, I feel this campaign would have been much more successful. You have a very concentrated part of your market in two major places, why would you not do everything in your power to work those markets the best you can? The interviews and news articles ahead of time, that's all fine, but the bottom line is you have to look at where you're going to get the most eyes who will actually purchase on your product and the reefing community makes it extremely simple for you. As it was I feel you over estimated the importance of your product and kind of felt like you could skip the whole marketing phase and people would come climbing over each other handing you guys money hand over fist. That didn't happen and I honestly feel you only have your marketing strategy to blame.

    ___

    So where from here? You probably already know this, but many companies continue with backers/supporters type things on their website even after a successful kickstarter. So yeah this is a giant kick in the nether region, but you probably still have the support you can already count. Don't just disappear from the community because the kickstarter fails. If you want this product to succeed and want to be part of the reefing community then you need to work to do so.

    Again, I meant none of this disrespectfully and am only trying to give my perspective and how I have felt. Good luck going forward.
     
    evolved likes this.
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