Post-Kickstarter Update

Discussion in 'MindStream' started by Step Ahead Innovations, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. Step Ahead Innovations

    Step Ahead Innovations Member

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    To all our Kickstarter backers – thank you to each of you who stuck with us throughout our Kickstarter campaign! Even though we have not yet launched the product, and even though we were not in a position to answer all your questions about the MindStream monitor, you pledged your support to help us get to market and for that we are extremely grateful! While we are disappointed in the final results of the campaign, we are encouraged and motivated by the extremely positive feedback along the way and particularly with the overwhelming response at the MACNA conference this past weekend. As promised, we will forge ahead to bring you the MindStream monitor as quickly as possible and will let you know once we have a new timeline in place.

    In accordance with Kickstarter rules, if you backed us on our campaign, your card will not be charged for your pledge and all rewards have been cancelled. Nonetheless, we want to make good for those who pledged, and we will honor the Kickstarter pricing and delivery priority on the monitor/discs for our backers when we launch. For those who signed up for the beta tester reward, we will reach out to you personally in the coming weeks to discuss next steps. Lastly, we will continue to post updates here and will want to get in touch with you when we get closer to launch. Thank you again and know that we appreciate your enthusiasm for the MindStream monitor and the dramatic changes it will mean for maintaining healthy water chemistry for your cherished fish and corals!
     
    Djtonton, mdbannister, Myka and 10 others like this.
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  2. ReefMadScientist

    ReefMadScientist Valuable Member

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    Thank you so much for noticing the people who backed the kickstarter! Lets make this happen!
     
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  3. whatchamacallit

    whatchamacallit Active Member

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    Awesome, glad to hear you're going to honor your side with the backers!
     
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  4. Reduck

    Reduck ^ His name is Trent R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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  5. sonnus

    sonnus Member

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    Some non-funded Kickstarter campaigns have had successful second attempts with different strategies the second time around. Would you guys consider a second try with a revised business model?
     
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  6. ssdawood

    ssdawood Valuable Member

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    Great job to honor the pledges step ahead.
     
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  7. Bryman

    Bryman Member

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    I have been somewhat critical of the current offering and the marketing involved. I truly believe in the product and it would be a game changer if it works as advertised. However, as others said, the real hardcore reefers are a skeptical bunch. We've all wasted plenty of money on "snake oil," and are leery of miracle products that never seem to live up to expectations. Especially when they are expensive. Therefore, I'd like to share some ideas that I believe would make a more successful attempt.

    1. Be realistic with your target audience. The majority of people in SW drop out after a year or less, and don't invest in high-end equipment to begin with. Your target audience is coral growers, SPS or LPS. We are the crazy ones who enjoy difficult challenges and usually have disposable income. And while knowing the 10 parameters a ton of times a day is great, the only thing we really care about everyday is Alk. No matter what your marketing research says, we don't all chase PH as our primary target. This has proven to be a wild goose chase that usually causes more harm than good. Alk, then Ca, then Mg are the most important in order. Our controllers already do temp, salinity is constant if you use ATO (who doesn't who is serious in the hobby?), and ammonia should be non-existent if you aren't a total noob overfeeding your fish. More useful to us would be PO4 and Nitrate.

    2. Get a real hardcore reefer onboard. Jason Fox, Steve Tyree, Mike Poletta --> Leaders of your target audience. They know not to post freshwater pictures for a saltwater specialty product. They will tell you what is most important and their endorsement means something to the reefing community.

    3. Verify and publish accuracy and reliability info for all of your tested parameters. Few of us will drop $1k on a new, untested product, with promises but no data to back it up (besides PH).

    4. Launch with 3rd party controller support. I would be willing to bet if you came to Kickstarter with Apex integration, you would have smashed your goal. This is the magic that we've all been dreaming of - automated Alk/Ca/Mg dosing based on actual levels in the system. A true "set-it-and-forget-it" reef system.

    5. Plan for a global launch to maximize ROI. At the price point of the product, the majority of people in the SW hobby won't be able to afford or justify the cost. You are looking for people who are dedicated to corals and have money, and possibly public aquariums or servicing firms. I don't think the market is big enough in the US only to give you a quick ROI, no matter how great the product is.
     
  8. sonnus

    sonnus Member

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    I absolutely agree. If Mindstream could collaborate with Neptune this would give the project major support with the reefing community. I think if Neptune could simply integrate Mindstream's data into Apex Fusion so it could be displayed and utilized by Fusion that would be a major draw to many of us here.

    I would imagine if Mindstream would reach out to the initial Kickstarter supporters they might find that 90% of the pledgers already have an Apex system and maybe the other 10% use some other aquarium controller. I wouldn't be surprised if an extremely low percentage (if any) of the Kickstarter supporters didn't have an aquarium controller. It just makes sense to market the Mindstream as a major addition to a product that already has massive market share among the reefers that are willing to spend this kind of money on a monitor.
     
  9. DaveMorris

    DaveMorris MACNA2016 Co-Chair R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award

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    I would like to add that you need more presence on these forums. We live in a forum driven world these days and especially in this hobby we get a very large amount of our information via the forums. A post here or there doesn't cut it. Either address concerns voiced on forums like this one quickly or set up your own forum much like Neptune and others have. Facebook is cute but quite a lot of people don't bother with it.
     
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  10. Jasona

    Jasona New Member

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    This, so much this. I backed the December shipment, but I was still having issue with data only being available through only your "cloud". There needs to an interface to look at the device locally. There definitely needs to be a way for 3rd party integration. If you don't want the added expense of an APEX integrated product, then the least you can do is open up the data via API. You could accomplish this via a RESTful Web Service.

    I really think the business model of: You can only access your aquarium parameters from the device you paid $600+ via our website. I think your model is scaring people away, and it isn't the price. Considering the amount of people that buy EcoTech and APEX price isn't much of a problem. And, you could be more active with the reef community via these forums to work on and address potential objections to your product. At this point I would be worried about getting beaten to the market by a more integrated product. I have been wondering why Neptune System hasn't done one of these yet.
     
  11. slip66

    slip66 Member

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    Some really good points, Ak,CA,MG, PO4, NO3 are what I care about most. #2 is pretty important, get people who are well known on the major forums, youtubers and well known reefers/sellers.
     
  12. BryanS4

    BryanS4 Well-Known Member

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    The above is really what caught my attention. When I saw this product my first instinct was man this is killer, can't wait to get one. The more I looked into this my thought was am I really going to pay this much money for an Alk checker.

    While the thought might be ok to monitor 10 levels, 8 of those levels are really useless on an everyday basis to your tagert market. I would even venture to say 9 of them are useless. As an sps keeper I check alk every day, ca ever two weeks and mg when my two part runs out.

    Speaking from the standpoint of a Sr. Level Sales and Mkt Exec, I would take a step back and re-examine your target audience and also the complexity of your product. In theory all the test levels are great, but I would guess that 99 out of 100 that would consider your product would buy it in a heart beat for the monitoring of the big three, alk, ca, mg.

    Good luck down the road.
     
  13. ReefMadScientist

    ReefMadScientist Valuable Member

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    I was and still am a backer: beta tester, but wanted to add my opinions.

    The ONLY reason I am getting the Mindstream is for Calcium, Alkalinity, and Magnesium. I keep running out of test kits from testing all three multiple times weekly so the Mindstream would be a huge burden off my chest of daily/weekly things to do. I can adjust my doser to what the monitor says and be done with it.

    With that said, what about coming out with a "Mindstream Jr." or something along the lines. This unit will just monitor Calcium, Alkalinity, and Magnesium. You can sell these at maybe $500 a pop and would still have people all over this product. The monthly subscription would also decrease since the disc's will only need to measure/monitor 3 elements instead of 10.

    I am just tired of titration tests guys. You have no idea how bad I want something like this to work.
     
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  14. sonnus

    sonnus Member

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    It take 4 parameters (pH, CO2, temp, salinity) just to calculate the alkalinity so you'll need those.
     
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  15. jcdeng

    jcdeng Valuable Member

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    When can this product be purchased if I was not one of the backers?
     
  16. DaveMorris

    DaveMorris MACNA2016 Co-Chair R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award

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    One of the things that I still can't understand is the fact that beta testers are actually being asked to pay almost full price for this thing and they still have to do the reporting and tracking that a beta program would require. I have never heard of this. I have been a beta tester for two different companies that manufacture electronics for the aquarium industry and I have never paid a dime. The beta versions of hardware and software are sent to me and I do some testing. Having to pay for the privilege of being a tester doesn't make any sense to me. I will be sitting here on the sidelines watching to see how this unfolds. If it makes it to market and the cost drops down a bit, I will invest in it. Until then, it makes for some good reading. :)
     
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  17. Rsaalman

    Rsaalman Dysfunctional Veteran

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    Exactly what I told them in the beginning of their kickstarter.
     
  18. lexinverts

    lexinverts Active Member

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  19. Step Ahead Innovations

    Step Ahead Innovations Member

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    Hi @jcdeng, thanks for the question. We are still regrouping and working on timing post-Kickstarter. We will update our Kickstarter backers, this community, and our Facebook fans once we have a new timeline in place.
     
  20. Step Ahead Innovations

    Step Ahead Innovations Member

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    Hi everyone! Thanks again for all of your interest and excitement around the MindStream monitor. We are full steam ahead here at the Step Ahead Innovation offices, moving forward to secure additional funding, continue with testing and final product refinements, and building out production capacity. For the next several months, we will be heads-down and focused on getting the MindStream monitor to market. So we are going to take a bit of a break from this forum to focus our resources on the task at hand. We will be checking in periodically to provide updates as we have them, but we will not be posting regularly for the next couple of months. Please do not mistake our absence as a lack of commitment to this community, as our intention is the opposite: we want to ensure we dedicate our time to getting the MindStream monitor in your hands as soon as possible. If you do want to hear from us more regularly in the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1KGN4r9 or subscribe to our website at www.MindStreamH2O.com.
     
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