Monthly Archives: November 2012

How Memoto raised $500,000 on Kickstarter, part 2

We’ve previously described how Memoto got to the point of being approved by Kickstarter. It wasn’t an effortless ride, to say the least, but after months of preparations and weeks of nail-biting, nerve-racking anxiety and adjustments, we got the approval and were ready to launch early morning (CET) Tuesday, October 23rd 2012.

Today, 38 days later, we have just closed the Kickstarter campaign and thought we should share our sum-up. Because the roller-coaster ride had only begun when the campaign started.

The day before the launch, the Memoto team gathered in our Stockholm office. Normally, we’re scattered across Sweden, but for the launch we figured we should all get together and enjoy the first days of the Kickstarter campaign in the same room. We had lists of reporters and influential people in our network that we were prepared to call and beg for their engagement in order to boost interest the first hours. We had started an unofficial Facebook event to lure our friends to the launch. Each person in the Memoto team of 15 had a designated promotion task (call your friends, email 100 reporters, DM people on Twitter etc) for the first days of the campaign, to help us get started. It was not going to be easy, we thought, but we were committed to put in the effort needed to make the project fly.

In the evening before launch day, we went out for dinner and started talking about our expectations for the days to come. We had learned that the first 48 hours are crucial for any Kickstarter campaign. The exact numbers vary, but the general consensus is that if you haven’t raised a 30% percent of your goal (in our case 15k of our 50k goal, or 75 pledged Memoto cameras) within the first two days, you’re bound to have a tough time making it to 100% during the rest of your campaign period; Hence, the nervousness. (Notice a pattern?)

The Memoto Team gathered on the night before launch.

The Memoto Team gathered on the night before launch.

Someone by the dinner table took a bold guess: “We should be able to get those 30% the first day, shouldn’t we?” Someone more pessimistic (me) couldn’t contain their skepticism: “Are you crazy? How would we do that? If we’d have 75 people pledging for a camera the first day we’d have a conversation rate from our mail subscription list of 25%! Get real.” I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

Come Tuesday morning, 7am CET (10pm Monday night PST), waking up on team member’s mattresses across Stockholm, we opened our laptops to watch the campaign see the light of day. Amazed, we witnessed our baby getting the kind of reception we had only dreamed of.

After the first 15 minutes, 50 very quick-on-the-draw persons had watched our campaign video and 10 trigger-happy backers had pledged for a camera. After 30 minutes, we had reached 10% of our total goal of $50,000. After an hour, we had passed 20%, and the beautiful linear progress kept on climbing.

The funding progress during the first hours of the Kickstarter project “Memoto Lifelogging Camera”.

The funding progress during the first hours of the Kickstarter project “Memoto Lifelogging Camera”.

On the Interwebs, the word on Memoto started to spread. We were headline news on The Verge, Techcrunch and TheNextWeb. And Wired UK, Huffington Post UK, El Pais in Spain and Internet World in Sweden also picked up on the story. The talk about Memoto continued on Twitter, Reddit, Hacker News and Quora. The designated begging lists we were supposed to use to get people’s attention were quickly thrown out the office’s ceiling window.

Screenshot by Mike Manning @ravmike one hour after we launched

Screenshot by Mike Manning @ravmike one hour after we launched

Not that we could, by any means, kick back and relax. Instead, we would soon learn the real power of crowdfunding: the crowd.

But more about that in a bit. First, let me finish bragging about the funding progress the first 24 hours.

After 3 hours, we had raised $25,000.

After 4 hours, we had reached $40,000.

After 4 hours and 35 minutes, we passed the goal of the campaign: $50,000. The Memoto camera was going to happen.

The Memoto team celebrating the passing of the project’s goal: $50,0000. Notice the unintentional Gangnam Style poses.

The Memoto team celebrating the passing of the project’s goal: $50,0000. Notice the unintentional Gangnam Style poses.

Now the natural question: why did we set such a, in hindsight, low goal? Well, the truth is simply that $50,000 was (roughly) what we needed to get the cameras into production. Probably a higher goal would have been nice to increase the ability to solve unforeseen obstacles with money, but frankly we didn’t dare to set the goal as high as, say $100,000, because of the risk of not reaching it and thus, losing it all. $50,000 felt like something we could potentially raise over the course of the 38 days long Kickstarter campaign.

But as people started dropping in for our launch party, where we had prepared various games and treats to get people (our friends) at the party to back us, we had doubled our goal amount ($100,000). When the night was over, we had raised three times our initial goal and reached the first stretch goal that we made up almost in panic earlier in the afternoon.

After 16 hours, we were about to pass 300% funding.

After 16 hours, we were about to pass 300% funding.

After that first day, we were obviously overwhelmed with the warm welcome Memoto had received. Few phrases are probably more overused than “not in our wildest dreams…” but that night we all felt like… well, like we had made really crappy estimations to begin with.

Despite the fantastic, enormous and, for the most part, positive buzz that flew in and out of our mailboxes and Twitter feeds, it should be said openly that not all of the mentions and discussions about Memoto were completely positive. The most common concerns were, not surprisingly, about privacy issues, integrity and security. Plus, the inevitable and always nice, “what-the-heck-is-this-for” question. These concerns were much aligned with what we had expected. Using the prepared FAQ we were able to immediately take part in the discussions and present our point of view. The entire Memoto team of 15 people sat, reclined and stood scattered about the office, frenetically tapping on their laptops to offer answers or just provide someone to talk to about the questions emerging around Memoto.

The Memoto office early in the morning of October 23. Still in shock over the kick start and scratching our heads over how to manage the tons of feedback coming in.

The Memoto office early in the morning of October 23. Still in shock over the kick start and scratching our heads over how to manage the tons of feedback coming in.

After just a few hours in the campaign we learned how valuable all these discussions were going to be for our product development. The before-mentioned thread on Reddit, for example, quickly killed what we thought was a key feature of our service. (Thank you very much!) On the Kickstarter page we proudly state ”… the photos are automatically uploaded to Memoto’s servers.” Convenient, we thought. No hassle, and the user gets access to the organization of photos through Memoto’s smartphone app. Plus, you don’t have to store 4,5 terabytes of data per year on your closet server. The Reddit community thought differently. Redditers argued vocally for it to be optional to store your photos on Memoto’s servers and questioned why they should trust Memoto with photos randomly and automatically taken. We tried explaining the reason behind our thinking but quickly realized we were the ones mistaken and the Redditer’s demands were quite fair.

The next day, we started researching the possibilities to meet the demand of optional local storage. In the evening, we were able to publish a Kickstarter update stating this feature to be included if we reached the next stretch goal of $350,000 to finance the extra development it would need. At the same time, we threw in a couple of other features that had also been requested by the crowd during the first day of the campaign.

Quickly recorded video to illustrate how the double tapping feature will work. 

It all happened very quickly, but in just over the first 48 hours we had made some crucial insights on how Kickstarter works:

1. A) It’s a crowd funding platform. (Notice the two words; not “crowdfunding”). It is a CROWD that is funding you, not a single person or VC firm that you can schedule a Skype meeting with when you have time a week from now, but actually a (potentially very large) group of people willing to take out their wallets and give you money for something that no one knows whether or not it will ever exist. They are more than “users,” more than “customers.” They are champions of your idea and they should be treated with respect, gratitude, transparency and an eagerness to go a whole bunch of extra miles to meet their expectations.

B) During a Kickstarter campaign, the best investment you can make is to spend time talking with backers, converted or potential. Done right, you get both inspiration and positive feedback to get you through the hard work needed, plus you learn what works with your product and what doesn’t. Your backers essentially become a virtual product development team. If you doubt it, think about the costs of running a focus group or market research campaign. (Even that is not fair, since respondents in a focus group rarely have made the same commitment to your product as your Kickstarter backers have.) Help them help you (at Memoto, we did a “how to” page to help newbies to Kickstarter) and you’ll get it back 11 fold…

C) Community management takes time. A lot of time. At Memoto we, had to double our community management team from two to four people during the Kickstarter campaign in order to monitor and manage the questions and feedback coming. You are expected to be extremely quick and correct in your interaction on the Comments section, in your Updates, when personally contacting backers and in your feedback emails, Twitter discussions and Facebook threads. See A+B above for arguments.

Niclas Johansson (@niclasj), hand-picked and quickly added to Memoto’s community team for the Kickstarter campaign.

Niclas Johansson (@niclasj), hand-picked and quickly added to Memoto’s community team for the Kickstarter campaign.

2. Stretch goals are great, but not in the way we thought. It’s hard to prove with A/B tests, but our feeling after having announced a total of three stretch goals and reached two of them, is that stretch goals don’t work as triggers for backers. We saw little or no effect on the backer/funding graphs after announcing a stretch goal. Why? We don’t know. (If you have an idea, please post a comment as we are eager to understand.) What a stretch goal does enable though, is the ability for you to talk about things to come, thereby inflating your original product with more valuable features even before they are made. For instance, being able to offer the stretch goal reward of “double-tap to take a picture”, made the idea of the Memoto camera bigger and better without costing us money upfront for development. The basic idea with Kickstarter, in other words, but on a feature level. Plus, it proved that we listened to our backers.

The Memoto Wifi Dock – part of a stretch goal of $700,000 that we didn’t reach but which still offered us an opportunity to talk about future accessories. At Memoto.com, we will keep displaying the progress towards this stretch goal.

The Memoto Wifi Dock – part of a stretch goal of $700,000 that we didn’t reach but which still offered us an opportunity to talk about future accessories. At Memoto.com, we will keep displaying the progress towards this stretch goal.

3. It’s a process, not a product. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the insight still grew on us as our project evolved. Your initial Kickstarter page and video is basically just a statement on where you’re at by the time the campaign starts. With the help of your backers, this will change and improve over time and you will have iterated your project plan over and over until you come out on the other end with a different product than you first launched. To talk in tech project terms: Kickstarter may require a waterfall spec to launch your project, but it is actually a scrum platform.

The Memoto app underwent a rapid development during the Kickstarter campaign.

The Memoto app underwent a rapid development during the Kickstarter campaign.

4. Don’t be cheap on details. Your backers deserve to know whatever they want to know about your product. What is the name of the sensor in the Memoto camera? Will I be able to use your API to build a Windows app? What’s the photo quality in dawning light? Tell it, and tell it honestly. Use Kickstarter’s various media platforms to place your level of information right: large-scale, top-level “sales points” in the video, essential product information in the page body, nitty-gritty nice-to-know stuff in your FAQ.

Overview of the PCB in the Memoto Lifelogging Camera

Overview of the PCB in the Memoto Lifelogging Camera

After those first hectic days when everything was chaos, we started to get on top of things again. We brought in extra personnel to assist with the community management. Niclas Johansson (@NiclasJ) and Lina Boozon Ekberg (@BoozonLina) came in after a week or so and made the whole difference. Now the rest of the communication team could spend some time on figuring out the next steps and the dev team could focus on developing the product.

As the campaign went on, we kept getting the most unexpected inquiries and requests. Adventurers wanting a camera for their walk around the world, researchers seeing a use for a Memoto camera when doing research on sheep and a world-known rock band asking to have a couple of cameras to document their next tour. And then, there were distributors offering to get the cameras out on the most unexpected markets, super cool social media brands initiating partnerships and one or two investors placing their money on the table for a stake in the company.

So far we’ve had to turn most of them down. Not because we don’t like their ideas, but simply because we have increasingly seen our need for focus. In a few weeks we literally went from zero to thousands of buyers and with that comes a responsibility to also ship what we’ve promised. Seems obvious, I know, but it doesn’t happen out of nowhere and at the time of writing we still have many hard hours of work ahead of us before the first camera lands on all of our backer’s doorsteps.

Single most common request: a Memoto cat collar

Single most common request: a Memoto cat collar

Today, we closed the campaign. It feels great, of course, having raised 11x our initial goal. No question about that. As we described in the first part of this blog post, we were never sure we would even reach the original goal set for the campaign and ending up with >$550,000 was light years beyond what we could have ever dreamed. We’re still amazed and forever grateful for this.

But even more important has been the validation of our idea that we’ve received from the thousands of camera sold and the thousands of comments, tweets, emails and random cheering from each and everyone. The positive feedback has, for sure, kept our egos running, but it’s been in the mix with the more, should I say constructive, feedback that we’ve really been able to tighten our product development and keep ourselves on the right track. For this, Memoto owes it to our backers to have a kick ass product in their hands within a few months. And that is what we will spend all our time on now.

The discussions live on on Twitter, Facebook and on Memoto.com. Join us in the race to the next stretch goal!

The Memoto Lifelogging Camera on Kickstarter, 2 hours after the campaign ended.

The Memoto Lifelogging Camera on Kickstarter, 2 hours after the campaign ended.

To sum up, and in the spirit of lifelogging inspired data collection, we’d like to share some data from Memoto’s Kickstarter campaign:

  • Campaign starting time: October 23rd 7am (CET) 2012
  • Campaign ending time: November 30th 12pm (CET) 2012
  • Total campaign time: 38 days, 5 hours
  • Number of backers: 2871
  • Number of new Twitter followers: 802
  • Number of new Facebook page fans: 2,414
  • Number of visits on Memoto.com: 116,439 (99,177 unique)
  • Number of visits on Memoto.com directed from external sources: 57,282
  • Country yielding most visits on Memoto.com : United States (43,494) (California being at the top with 9,119)
  • Number of countries yielding visits on Memoto.com: 178
  • Most popular pledge level on Kickstarter: $249 (45% of backers, 59% of money raised)
  • Total amount pledged: $550,189
  • Percentage funded: 1,100%
  • Average pledge amount: $191
  • Traffic source delivering highest percentage of pledging: Kickstarter.com/discover/categories/hardware (19,48% or $107,185)
  • Number of video plays: 102,788 (62,054 on Kickstarter, 40,734 outside of Kickstarter)
  • Number of cameras sold: 2,346
  • Getting feedback from awesome backers: priceless
Funding progress of The Memoto Lifelogging Camera on Kickstarter. (Image cred: Kickstarter.com)

Funding progress of The Memoto Lifelogging Camera on Kickstarter. (Image cred: Kickstarter.com)

Again, thank you for the fantastic ride this has been! We can’t wait to get the freshly baked cameras in your hands. Now we’re going to crawl back into our startup cave and get everything ready for shipment ASAP. But we’ll keep you posted about our future progress and we look very much forward to hearing from you along the way.

Lots of love,

Memoto Team through Oskar Kalmaru

This blog post has been inspired by Niclas Johansson’s roundup of his FundedByMe campaign “Bar-deli”. It’s a great read for anyone planning a launching a crowd funding campaign, no matter the size or place. Thank you Niclas for the inspiration! 

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

The only way to get a Memoto Camera in the new color is…

…to back us on Kickstarter!

Thanks to everyone who took time to vote! The results are in: There are 719 votes for 29 different colors and the winner, with 312 votes, is…BLACK! This is possible because of all you wonderful backers. We reached the very first stretch goal with your help and now we have you to thank for helping us choose the new camera color! You guys are awesome!

The piano black camera will be made exclusively for Kickstarter. All backers will have black as a color choice for their camera. But the color is only available through Memoto’s Kickstarter campaign and will not be a color choice on Memoto.com. The campaign ends tomorrow, November, 30th at 12:00pm (CET)! 

The Memoto Camera in Piano Black (exclusively for Kickstarter)

The Memoto Camera Lineup

Tell your friends not to wait! If they want a camera in Black there’s only one day left to get it!

Go to our Kickstarter Campaign!

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

Seamless Lifelogging with The Memoto App

The development team is hard at work on the Memoto App. Reaching the 2nd stretch goal allowed us to hire a project manager to facilitate the app development process and make sure we deliver the best possible product. Here’ s a look at how the app will work with your Memoto camera to bring you seamless lifelogging and how things are coming along.

The photos are analyzed based on various algorithms that consider not only explicit markers like GPS and time, but also lighting, clarity, photo composition, face detection and changes in context.

So, a moment may be 50 photos or 500, depending on these factors. For instance:

  • Your commute in your car (100 photos)
  • Meeting your co-worker on your way into the office (10 photos)
  • Getting coffee (6 photos)
  • Work at your desk (200 photos)
  • Attending a meeting (150 photos)
  • Lunch with a friend (100 photos)
These moments will then be presented to you on your smartphone as a Timeline; You can then go into a moment, view it as a time-lapse video and see other information about the moment, such as location and time. 

 

Smartphone App Timeline and Moment View Screenshot (click for larger view)

The App in its current state

 

A look around the Stockholm Development Office

 

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

How Memoto raised $500,000 on Kickstarter, part 1.

Still being in something of a shock over the overwhelming response Memoto’s Kickstarter project has had, we feel we need, for reasons of self-therapy if nothing else, to put down in words what has really happened these past few weeks since we launched.

We will do this in two parts, one where we describe the process leading up to the launch of the project and one where we disclose some lessons learned during the actual project.

So, what’s Kickstarter? Well basically, it’s a website for crowdfunding projects. Anyone can set up a project and seek funding – and anyone can fund a project. As a project creator, you have the possibility to raise money for projects that otherwise would have trouble being realized. As a funder (or “backer”, in Kickstarter lingo) you can be part of the creation of brand new goods and services and you often get to start using them before they hit the regular market. That is, and this is important, if a project is successful. Because if the project doesn’t reach its announced goal (the amount of money needed to make the idea of the project a reality) the project creators get nothing and might need to give up the idea completely.

Memoto’s Kickstarter project was launched on October 23rd, with the goal of reaching $50,000 before November 30. It would turn out to be way more, but that we didn’t know that when we started. So, let’s go back to when that was; Let’s go back to Sweden, spring of 2012:

Per Brickstad of design agency PeoplePeople showing early drawings of the Memoto camera.

Per Brickstad of design agency PeoplePeople showing early drawings of the Memoto camera.

Beginning in March 2012, the Memoto team began to expand from only three original founders to a team of a dozen in June. This was made possible thanks to small funds from Swedish governmental institutions and the founders. The process of taking the Memoto Lifelogging Camera from an idea to an actual product had then already begun (led by experts on market research, product design and interaction design.) With this reinforced team, Memoto was able to start the electronics design and the software development.

Early version of the Memoto blog

Early version of the Memoto blog.

We wouldn’t have much to show for the outside world in terms of prototypes for another 6 months. Doing any kind of marketing or communication might have seemed unnecessary or even stupid, (Why spend time and effort on marketing a non-existing product?) But even though we didn’t have much to talk about, we thought we had a lot to learn by listening.

So from the very beginning, more than half a year before the Kickstarter launch, Memoto started reaching out to the community of daily photographers, lifeloggers and quantified self enthusiasts who were already discussing the aspects of wearable cameras and lifelogging photography. We created a blog, made a Facebook page and opened up a Twitter account. To mark our vision, we let our friends at HouseofRadon do a visionary video for us.

Vision video Remember every moment, produced by HouseofRadon for Memoto in April 2012.

With some basic social media channels in place, we started to collect all the intelligent and interesting thoughts we stumbled upon, and posted them as blog posts (“This week in lifelogging”), re-tweeted them and shared their stories on Facebook. This way, we were able to make Memoto a somewhat recognized brand at a very early stage, albeit for an extremely limited crowd.

In July, we even took steps to launch the production of a full-length documentary! We sent two young film students, Amanda and Ville, on a six week long around-the-world trip to interview entrepreneurs, scientists and thought-leaders about their thoughts on lifelogging and the impact it will have on our lives in the future. Amanda and Ville returned home with not just over 100 hours of lifelogging material (see the trailer for the upcoming documentary here), but with invaluable high-quality contacts with some of the world’s most influential people in our field.

Meanwhile, Memoto received a seed round of funding from an institutional investor (Passion Capital). The extra capital enabled us to continue developing the Memoto camera, the software and growing the team for another few months. But the money wasn’t enough to cover the cost of setting up mass production of the camera. This was about the time when we decided Kickstarter could be a realistic means of getting those funds.

Left: Memoto team shared a boat at Sweden Social Web Camp. Right: Community Director Jenny Dahl exhibiting Memoto at Techcrunch Disrupt.

Left: Memoto team shared a boat at Sweden Social Web Camp. Right: Community Director Jenny Dahl exhibiting Memoto at Techcrunch Disrupt.

In August, The Memoto team continued the efforts of community building at the major Swedish web “unconferance” Sweden Social Web Camp and tested the idea with some of Sweden’s early tech-adopters. The first prototypes were 3D-printed and the concept for the smartphone apps had started taking shape.

It was time to start preparing the Kickstarter page.

It’s worth mentioning that “preparing the Kickstarter page” is not the same as “preparing for a Kickstarter project”. The preparations for the project started at the same time we started reaching out to the lifelogging community (it’s only that having a Kickstarter project wasn’t yet decided at the time). Since we now had more of the product in place, we got down to the actual creation of the project page.

After researching and finding inspiration in numbers of other Kickstarter projects (like Boosted BoardsThe Pebble Watch1Q and The Biochemies DNA Molecule Plush Dolls) plus listening to what previous project creators had to say we realized a few things:

  • The video is key – it doesn’t necessarily have to be super slick, but it needs to align with what you want to say and stand for
  • The project page needs to say it all – if there are questions your potential backers don’t find answers to, the risk is that you’ll lose those backers
  • Once the project is launched, it will need constant care during the rest of the project period – updates need to be posted to keep the project alive, backers need to be kept in the loop about the project’s progress and potential discussions in external channels need to be curated

These realizations would later turn out to be not more than a fraction of the lessons we would learn in the coming weeks. But we didn’t know this when we started preparing the Kickstarter page in late August.

Co-founder and CEO Martin Källström with Ville Bloom during the filming of the first Kickstarter video Memoto made.

Co-founder and CEO Martin Källström with Ville Bloom during the filming of the first Kickstarter video Memoto made.

We started with the video. We didn’t know how to create a Kickstarter video, so we started out writing a script. We tried to cram in each and every detail we thought was needed to convince the audience about Memoto’s excellence. We asked Amanda and Ville to do the video (rashly disrupting their work on the post-production of the documentary). And, of course, we ended up failing miserably. There was a lack of clarity in what the essentials of the project were, so the script was a mess and the resulting video was doomed a catastrophe.

Now we were in the middle of September, only weeks before the planned launch date (October), and we started getting nervous: would we have a video good enough in time for the launch? We knew Kickstarter would take some time to review our project as well, so we needed to submit the video and the page a week before launch date.

Luckily, HouseOfRadon came to our rescue. Literally throwing our original video script in the trash, they started from scratch in making us a video that would present the Memoto Lifelogging Camera  the way it deserved to be presented. Since our early prototypes didn’t exactly have the looks and finish we aimed for, they designed beautiful 3D-renderings to use in the video and on the Kickstarter page. Despite the lack of time we had left for preparations, things actually started to look promising again.

emoto’s camera engineer and co-founder Björn Wesén with an early version of the prototype on the left. HouseofRadon’s 3D-rendering on the right.

emoto’s camera engineer and co-founder Björn Wesén with an early version of the prototype on the left. HouseofRadon’s 3D-rendering on the right.

Then the next drawback hit, and this time it was a major one.

On the evening of September 21st, Kickstarter posted a statement on their blog introducing some important changes to the guidelines for hardware projects like Memoto’s. Being a hardware project, you were no longer allowed to use 3D-renderings (which was about 100% of what we had in terms of product exemplifying images…) Further more, we were not allowed to show product simulations, i.e. “here’s how the camera would work, if it did work…” Finally, multiple quantities of rewards were abolished, meaning we couldn’t have (our planned) pledge levels of twin packs or “buy 10 for the price of 8” etc.

Looking back, we admit that these new guidelines are nothing but fair and do make Kickstarter a better place for both project creators and backers. But at the time, we felt frustrated. We were only days away from submitting our project for review and we were basically told there was no way we were going to be accepted.

We had a crisis meeting on the morning of September 22nd.  Should we a) find another, less scrupulous, service for our project, b) stick with our time schedule and launch an extremely downscaled version of the project or should we c) wait until the camera and app were ready enough to show according to the new guidelines (which we now know would have taken until December to accomplish)?

Hesitant as we were to all of the three options, we decided to go with a fourth one. We quickly postponed the announced launch by two weeks, until October 23rd, to buy ourselves some extra time. Then we had Prototal, a professional prototype producer outside of Stockholm, do three copies of high-end, 3D-printings of the Memoto camera. As soon as the prototypes were ready, we ran over to HouseofRadon to have them shoot new scenes with the prototypes in them. And we re-wrote practically the entire Kickstarter page, removing all simulations and 3D-renderings and doing our very best to present our project as transparently and honestly as possible.

On October 13th (after an intense two weeks, where HouseofRadon gathered their forces to do not only the video, but concept animation for the app, wearing illustrations and product photos) we were finally able to submit the project for review.

Behind the scenes of the production of Memoto’s Kickstarter video.

Behind the scenes of the production of Memoto’s Kickstarter video.

Some VERY nervous days followed. Would our project be approved? Memoto’s entire business plan more or less relied on us to run a crowdfunding campaign to get the finances needed for mass production of the cameras. Also, we had timed the campaign to start on Tuesday, October 23rd (after, don’t forget, changing the date once already) with high-profile media lined up to publish our story on that date, our friends waiting with their fingers on re-tweet buttons and a launch party planned at our Stockholm office on the night of the launch. Failing to launch on October 23rd would mean trouble on a scale we barely dared to consider.

First version of Memoto’s Kickstarter video.

On Wednesday October 17th, with only six days left before launch date, we received Kickstarter’s verdict. Our submitted project was not accepted.

The video contained parts that were seen as simulations and there were much more explanations needed to show the functional prototype. With so much lacking and so little time to fix it, getting through to launch date suddenly seemed unrealistic. After the miserable first video, then the change in guidelines in the middle of our preparations and now this, we were seriously starting to consider giving up the whole idea around a Kickstarter project. As a plan B, Memoto’s development team gathered in Linköping to quickly build our own webshop, inspired by what that the team behind Lockitron had done.

Meanwhile, we tried getting more specific details from Kickstarter’s support on what we could do to, by a long shot, be accepted. What exactly did we need to remove or add? Could it be negotiated in any way? After two nerve-racking days, Kickstarter’s support team got back to us with clarifications that actually gave us a little ray of hope. 24 hours of hard (slightly panicked) work later, we had restructured our project page and reedited the video to fit the new instructions.

We submitted the new version.

Crossed our fingers.

And…we were still not accepted.

A frantic back-and-forth conversation with the Kickstarter support team followed, where they gradually specified what was needed and we gradually added, removed and reedited until finally, early Saturday morning (!), we got the long anticipated news that we had been approved! This was only three days before launch day and the sigh of relief we let out could probably be heard from our offices in Linköping, Sweden to Kickstarter’s in New York, USA.

Our Kickstarter journey was about to begin.

(Part 2 of the story on how Memoto raised $500,000 on Kickstarter can be found here)

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

The Memoto Gift Card

Lots of things are happening between now and February! Anyone planning on giving a Memoto Camera as a gift for a birthday, holiday or just because is very welcome to present the lucky recipient with this beautiful, versatile gift card. It’s yours to add your personal touch or use as is.

Reserve a Memoto Camera for a friend or family member today!

Happy Giving,

The Memoto Team

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

 

Voting Time: Help choose the New Color!

The reward for reaching the $150,000 stretch goal is to let the backer community nominate and vote on a new color. Today we will start polling on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Memotocompany

The voting will run through next Wednesday, November 28th until 11:59pm CET.

Visit the Memoto Facebook page and vote today!

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

This Week in Lifelogging: what visual lifelogging is like, Expereal and Lifeloggers

“Somehow this is not the same as a regular camera”

Rob Shields – Search Your Life from Steven Jonas on Vimeo.

The concept of visual lifelogging is very interesting but the lack of widespread examples makes the actual practice of it a bit difficult to imagine. Rob Shields recently presented his QS project, Search Your Life, at the Portland QS Meetup. His presentation offers a lot of insightful information on what it’s like to self-track by passively taking photos of your daily life. Among other things, he talks about why he does this, how others react to it and what it’s useful for; three very relevant questions about this kind of lifelogging.

Read more: QS PDX Recap (October 30, 2012)

Free QS app helps keep track of how you experience life as it happens

The app allows you to rate your experience from 1-10 on a color wheel; other information regarding the experience can be added if desired. “Kahneman describes that as we recall past events – whether past relationships, jobs or vacations — we typically remember their totality in how they ended, NOT how we actually experienced them, regardless of their duration.” The makers of the app hope that by rating experiences as they happen, you will reduce this bias when reminiscing. What are your thoughts on QS in the psychological realm?

Read more: Expereal: iPhone app to rate/analyze your life via data visualization

The Value of Self-tracking

What practical applications stem from self-tracking? Some people question why anyone’s daily life would be interesting enough to tediously log, and perhaps from a strictly entertainment based perspective this is true; most of us lead fairly uneventful lives. But there are many other facets to consider, such as self-improvement. Take, for instance, how much time we spend at work and how that effects our lives. Would realizing how much time you actually spend sitting or staring at a computer or mindlessly snacking help you make a change? Check out this infographic from Learn Stuff.com, click the photo view it in it’s entirety.

Read more: Take a Break

“Lifeloggers” trailer


Last summer, Memoto comissioned two student filmmakers to travel around the world and learn about lifelogging. The end result will be a free 30-minute documentary released in early 2013.

Six days left on Kickstarter!

It’s Black Friday! The Memoto Camera makes a great gift for any occasion and there are six days left to reserve one at $30 off the retail price! Visit our Kickstarter page at memoto.com/kickstarter!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Announcement: Memoto Camera now ready for trial manufacturing of both electronics and casing!

Today we are able to make an announcement we have been looking forward to for a long time. We are now finished with the last tweaks of the electronics and mechanics and are ready to go into trial manufacturing of both! We are so proud that we have actually achieved this before the end of the Kickstarter campaign!

Electronics (camera & GPS)

There are a lot of challenges that go into making the electronics for a new camera, especially one so tiny. Luckily, we have, not one but two, very experienced and talented digital camera engineers on the job and they have been able to solve all of the challenges that go into the design of a new camera in less than a year!



The last step in turning our prototype into our tiny camera was to miniaturize the circuit board. The miniaturization had to undergo careful review from several different manufacturers and experts. Making the technology so small means, before going into trial manufacturing, we had to:

  • Make sure it fits into the camera casing without causing any problems during assembly or long term use
  • Verify our power management and battery life
  • Verify overall build quality and circuit wiring
  • Verify that the GPS will function properly and to compare it with a reference design
  • Verify our antenna placement in relation to other components and the casing

What we are so excited about now is that we have finalized the design of the miniaturized circuit board. As we outlined from the start of our Kickstarter project, this was the biggest engineering challenge of the entire project. It’s now going to the electronics manufacturer for a trial run. This means we are manufacturing about a dozen real, physical PCBs with surface mounted components and doing testing to see what works and not, before doing another trial. The purpose of the trials are to iron out any errors before doing a pilot run which is a little higher in volume and then the first production run of the cameras we are going to ship to you, our backers!

Mechanics (case & clip)
We worked with our manufacturer for the larger part of the year to get to the point where we are ready to start trial manufacturing of the finished case & clip construction as well. First we produced a design that the construction engineer then turned into a CAD drawing of a construction that is possible to produce and assemble. The next step now for the manufacturer is to start trial manufacturing there as well, by creating the trial tooling for plastic injection molding and then produce samples from it.

Finishing the construction has taken months of hard work. It should not only follow the design aesthetics, it must be possible to produce and assemble. It must also be weather protected and with great surface finish. The size must be as small as possible but still large enough to hold all the components going inside.

After trial samples have been produced we are going to approve the surface finish and overall quality before we do proper tooling with double shot injection molding of both back and front of the camera cover.

An awesome achievement by our team
With all this accomplished, both the electronics and mechanics are ready to go into trial manufacturing. We are so proud that we have actually achieved this before the end of the Kickstarter campaign! Our focus is on delivering all of you a high quality product within the time frame we have estimated. Now we are looking forward to having the first beta version of the camera in our hands in the beginning of January!

We are amazed by all your input and support!
Thanks to all the feedback we have gotten from our community, we have been able to focus on what really matters in terms of functionality and usage before finishing the design of the product. Equally important, thanks to your support we are now able to afford starting trial manufacturing right when the design is finished! We are such a small team compared to the giant corporations we are trying move ahead of. Without you backing us on Kickstarter we wouldn’t know if anyone was interested in Memoto, and could not afford to start manufacturing even if we knew!

The imaging sensor is the heart of any digital camera
The imaging sensor we are using is proven and already being used in millions of existing devices in the market. We haven’t invented any new technological components that are used in the Memoto camera; we’ve only taken tried and true, existing technology and made it our own. The sensor comes from Omnivision which is the world’s largest imaging sensor manufacturer. The sensor uses their backlit CMOS pixel technology, which provides great low-light performance.

Keep talking to us and telling your friends about Memoto! With the end of the Kickstarter campaign approaching fast, we need all the help we can get in getting the word out about Memoto!

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

Lots of love,

The Memoto Team

$500,000 and 1000% Funded!!! What will the future hold?

There are 8 days to go, 8 days to strive for $700,000. It seems daunting, but honestly, so did our original goal. In the beginning of this adventure we never imagined being 1000% funded, and yet, here we are. Absolutely amazing! And it’s all because of you.

Below, you can take a look at what reaching the $700,000 stretch goal would mean!

The underlying idea of Memoto is to make everything about lifelogging as simple as possible. The sketches are just preliminary design ideas and might not be indiciative of the end result, but the feature set is fixed and will be met.

The Memoto Wifi Dock

 The Memoto Wifi Dock will streamline the entire lifelogging process. There are no buttons to push, simply wear, charge and wear again! The dock will have an SD-card slot for exchangeable memory storage, making it useful for charging and offloading photos from the Memoto Camera even when there is no wifi around for syncing.

The Waterproof Case

For all of you who imagine doing heavy duty lifelogging, whether it be swimming, hiking, scuba diving or doing hard work, we would like to develop a sturdy waterproof shell for the Memoto Camera. It will be made of hard transparent acrylic, have a really beautiful design but still be very functional, including a metal tripod mount.

The Wide-angle Lens

The wide-angle lens will be a corner snap-on, most likely giving the camera a 135 degree viewing angle. And, don’t worry, we’ll make sure it fits inside the waterproof case!

The Memoto Camera

Keep in mind the sketches make the camera and accessories appear much larger than they are. The camera is tiny and the accessories will be as well. Use this photo as a frame of reference while considering them.

Rest assured we are not letting any of the work with the acccessories delay the delivery of the Memoto Camera to Kickstarter backers. This also means that the Wifi Dock and other accessories will not be available from the start, but rather as soon as possible after that.

Finally, we are excited to announce that we are ready to start ramp up production on the Memoto Camera! So, let your friends know about Memoto. Share the photos, this update, your thoughts! Tell them they should join you in being part of Memoto’s story and together we can make this future a reality.

Lots of Love,

The Memoto Team

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us on twitter and facebook! PS – Have you pre-ordered your Memoto Lifelogging Camera yet?

 

This summer, Memoto sent two film students around the world to find out what lifelogging is. See the trailer!

The end of our campaign is near and we are planning on going out with a bang! The stories surrounding Memoto are abundant, from idea conception to solving design and engineering challenges we’d really like to offer you all full transparency into what we do. So, let’s get started!

A lot of you might already be well acquainted with the lifelogging concept; you are early backers of a lifelogging camera after all. But lifelogging is a new idea for a lot of people. In order to fully explore what the phenomenon is today and how it will affect us in the future, Memoto commissioned two film students to travel the globe in search of answers.

Now they are editing their material into a film… and here’s the trailer!

“We were asked by Memoto if we wanted to go around the world and interview people doing this “lifelogging” thing. We had no idea what that was, but it felt like something we wanted to find out more about,” said Amanda Alm, who together with her classmate, Victor Bloom, has been working on the documentary since last summer.

The filming of the documentary, Lifeloggers, started in July 2012 and sent Amanda and Victor on a complete journey around the world: from Stockholm via Copenhagen, Beirut, Berlin, London, Southampton, Cambridge, Oxford, Boston, New York, Toronto, Victoria, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, New Taipei and Tokyo before they landed back home in Stockholm six weeks later.

The film will be distributed for free over the Internet later this winter. Our aspiration in making this film is for it to be a unifying force for the growing lifelogging movement; something to refer to when discussing the term and perhaps a historical record of what the most progressive thinkers thought of the future in 2012.

Today, we are excited to give you a glimpse of Lifeloggers via the trailer above!

Please share the trailer forward by posting it on Facebook and Twitter! The direct link is http://vimeo.com/53493951