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Slashdot Killed My Kickstarter Campaign 163

Posted by timothy
from the resharpen-your-knives dept.
New submitter agizis writes "Alex from Connectify here. I wanted to say thanks to all of you who commented on the Slashdot story about our Kickstarter campaign It was super-educational discussing Switchboard with all of you: you wanted your own servers, and we weren't doing enough to communicate what was so special about Switchboard. Based in a large part on your feedback, we blew up our Kickstarter campaign, and changed almost everything. Thanks, Slashdot. This isn't reddit, but ask me anything."
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Slashdot Killed My Kickstarter Campaign

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  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:32PM (#43863707) Journal
    Hi Alex, thanks for the info. Based on your experience with Kickstarter, do you think a Kickstarter to get a subscription to Slashdot would be successful? I don't seem to be able to disable ads anymore based on my karma, and I'm finding them highly annoying.
  • by cod3r_ (2031620) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:36PM (#43863767)
    Seems now days with fast interwebs and badass servers you don't see many pages getting /.'d which was half the fun of posting websites back in the day. Now we are here to /. your kickstarter projects
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:39PM (#43863807)

    Let me get this straight....

    You had an idea on Kickstarter. You asked slashdot when they thought. You got tons of "you're doing it wrong"s. Now you're abandoning ship?

    Someone wasn't taught to ignore the bullies in grade school. Slashdot posters will hate on everyone's ideas and suggest even stupider ones, just to be funny/trollish. You must be pretty new here.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:45PM (#43863889)

      Let me get this straight...

      You didn't read the summary or the linked articles?

      Here's what happened:
      1) They had an idea they needed funding for to make it cloud-based
      2) Based largely on Slashdot feedback, they realized that the cloud was a no-go because people wanted to run it on their own machines instead
      3) So they killed they the Kickstarter funding to make it cloud based and instead are making it available now to run on your own gear

      • by mtmra70 (964928) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:47PM (#43864687)

        This was far more informative than the summary was.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Everything in his post was in the summary.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, to be fair, he admitted one of their problems was communication.

      • by tgd (2822)

        Let me get this straight...

        You didn't read the summary or the linked articles?

        Here's what happened:
        1) They had an idea they needed funding for to make it cloud-based
        2) Based largely on Slashdot feedback, they realized that the cloud was a no-go because people wanted to run it on their own machines instead
        3) So they killed they the Kickstarter funding to make it cloud based and instead are making it available now to run on your own gear

        There is virtually no market I'd make a fundamental business decision in based on Slashdot comments.

        Hope they're smart enough to temper the view they get from this place with a realization of how biased and myopic Slashdot is.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          Hope they're smart enough to temper the view they get from this place with a realization of how biased and myopic Slashdot is.

          What was that you were saying, Epimenedes [wikipedia.org]?

      • In some ways it sounds like it's borrowing from the swarm/torrent concept. Smaller amounts of data divided among many sources.
        I wonder how it would work out in terms of RIAA copyright bots if you ran a torrent behind this protocol?

      • I think the problem is #2. They took a narrow paranoid demographic that hates *everything* related to the cloud and instead went with a completely different approach where you BYO router?

        I had no concerns about the cloud with the original pitch. My home connection has like 2Mb up. My 4G connections has like 20Mbps down. The WHOLE POINT of this technology was to speed up your internet by teaming multiple download connections. My understand of the new system is that everything gets routed through my ho

    • by agizis (676060) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:56PM (#43864043) Homepage
      Ha, no really, there were a lot of good points. I thought that the confusion as to what the core technology REALLY did, and the resistance to yet another cloud service/subscription really explained a lot of what I was seeing and hearing on Kickstarter. On Kickstarter, you hear from people who are excited, but very little from the 99% who don't decide to back you, they just wander off if they're not interested. Here on Slashdot, people were a lot more vocal.

      I do get how unbelievably negative Slashdot can be. Take the first Slashdot story that ever covered Connectify. [slashdot.org] ... What did I get 200 comments on Connectify, probably all negative. But I got 20,000 downloads of the software in the 8 hours after the post went up. So it's not obvious from reading the discussion but there actually were 100x as many people who liked the idea, as hated it. (Oh and then we decided that this really could be company).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Downloading something doesn't mean you like it. You may have just spurred enough curiosity, that's all. Not to mention how many of those downloads actually turned into installs that ever got any usage? I've downloaded tons of Linux distros just to try them out. Out of the 50 or so distros I've downloaded only 3 have ever made it past the LiveCD stage. Probably only 10 ever made it to the LiveCD stage. It's easy to get excited about and lose interest in free software, sometimes in the same breath.

        In my rath
      • Designing anything based on feedback from slashdot is probably exactly the wrong thing to do. Take whatever feedback you get from slashdot, and do the exact opposite and you will likely have a booming business. Catering to the whims of the 0.04% of the population of slashdot will likely doom your business to 1% of that 0.04%.

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Seeing as your post counts as feedback on Slashdot, does that imply that he should do the exact opposite of what you advise in order to have a thriving business, and not do the opposite of advice on Slashdot? Where does that leave his decision to follow your advice?

  • by steelfood (895457) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @02:50PM (#43863971)

    Stop. You're giving people here a feeling of relevance. They might try to fight the RIAA/MPAA in court next, or come up with a new way to find extra-solar planets, or create new physics, or even run for public office.

    Who knows what they might do with this new feeling of power? It's dangerous, and you need to stop encouraging this behavior right now!

    • by pavon (30274) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:02PM (#43864109)

      They might try to fight the RIAA/MPAA in court next, or come up with a new way to find extra-solar planets, or create new physics, or even run for public office.

      No we won't. This just confirms our belief that complaining about problems on slashdot is all that is needed to make a difference.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by agizis (676060)
      I felt like a lot people started off negative, but when I started actually answering, everyone seemed really well behaved. I was happy, I think that maybe more people from the stories should just jump into these conversations. In the end, I didn't have any bad "troll" experiences.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stop. You're giving people here a feeling of relevance. They might try to fight the RIAA/MPAA in court next, or come up with a new way to find extra-solar planets, or create new physics, or even run for public office.

      I have news for you, slashdotter Ray Beckerman (NYCL) is in fact fighting the MAFIAA, there are PhDs in astronomy here (Phil Plait is one) who are looking for ESPs, there are undoubtedly theoretical physicists here (there is at least one slashdotter on Antarctica) and I wouldn't doubt there are

    • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

      Stop. You're giving people here a feeling of relevance. They might try to fight the RIAA/MPAA in court next, or come up with a new way to find extra-solar planets, or create new physics, or even run for public office.

      Who knows what they might do with this new feeling of power? It's dangerous, and you need to stop encouraging this behavior right now!

      next stop, the metric system!

  • Linux Release (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think you made the right choice in regards to your kickstarter campaign but at the same time I think we all knew you wouldn't reach your goal and had to rethink your strategy. No one can see a value in a monthly fee for something like this. My problem is you are releasing new software when I would be happy to give you money in exchange for Linux Dispatch. Do you still have the intention to release this for Linux or have you decided to move on to new products?

    • by drfred79 (2936643)
      You can bond network interfaces moderately easy in Linux but I agree just for the sake of data overages with hotspots. I don't even run Windows so I could see myself purchasing Connectify's products.
    • Re:Linux Release (Score:5, Informative)

      by agizis (676060) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:17PM (#43864349) Homepage
      Linux will be a supported platform for Switchboard. We did a much better job of building cross platform C++ with an HTML user interface from the ground up. Dispatch's a code has a lot of Windows specific stuff throughout it, the port would have be a new development effort almost from scratch. So I can't really say if Dispatch will really ever happen on other platforms (it could but... not soon, anyways).
      • by drfred79 (2936643)
        Well thank you for the reply. Let's just mutually hope that Switchboard for Linux doesn't get in the way of the development of your next product does like your development of Dispatch for Linux did. About every article I read regarding Dispatch claimed in the near future that the Linux version would be released. I understand the products are similar but its disheartening to hear that was purely advertisement.
      • by drfred79 (2936643)
        Might want to update your product FAQ as well to make it sound less like a development roadmap for Linux.
        • Re:Linux Release (Score:4, Informative)

          by lewdavis (2450904) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:41PM (#43864633)
          Dave from Connectify filling in for Alex here. Here's our Dispatch FAQ: http://www.connectify.me/dispatch-faq/ [connectify.me]. As you can see, Linux is behind Mac and Mac is a ways off. The benefit of Switchboard is that it can bond channels, so it can help every application you can think of, including those Dispatch can't (video streaming, file uploading, VPNs). We thought fixing all the complaints for Dispatch (supporting more applications AND more platforms) was a winning goal.
          • by drfred79 (2936643)
            I'm happy to purchase any of your products. I want to optimize my various internet connections and set data limits. It just has to be released for Linux for me to do so. The second that happens I'm on your email blast lists and I have my credit card in hand.
      • by BobPaul (710574) *

        Is there a timeline on this? I see the lifetime purchase of Switchboard is currently discounted. Will I be able to get the linux version before the price goes up?

        I could maybe justify it right now to secure the price, but I literally only have 1 windows machine at home: a laptop my wife uses, so it would be a tad useless.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for letting us ask you anything.

    Can you please tell me if your switches uses quantitative balancing algorithms?

    Thanks.

    • Re:Hi Alex, (Score:5, Informative)

      by lewdavis (2450904) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:31PM (#43864533)
      Hi, This is Dave, the lead developer on Switchboard. Alex had to step into a meeting, so I'll be sitting in for him for a bit. It's not exactly a switch in the traditional sense, but the Switchboard code takes into account bandwidth, latency and loss to decide which connection to send traffic over in a bonded channel. Thanks for the questions, and keep them coming! Dave
  • by starworks5 (139327) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:10PM (#43864227) Homepage

    I mean presumably you have to be charging for the severs, and now your asking for people to pay you to write software thats already working, so that you can continue to make money on the software, that eventually you may abandon sometime later if its unprofitable?

    Step 1. GPL the client software

    Step 2. GPL the server software (which is probably running linux).

    Step 3. Offer a optional traffic package

    Step 4. Ask for crowd funded money.

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:50PM (#43864729)

      I concur. I use crowd funding or private funding (commission) to pay for my work and working expenses. Then the work I do belongs to the private company (unless open source, but they still get a copyright assignment if negotiated), or in the case of crowd funding my work belongs to the public at large, and they can use it for free. Instead of selling bits which are in infinite supply (and thus Economics 101 says have zero price regardless of cost to create), I simply do more work to get more money... The bits aren't valuable. The ability to configure the bits (do work) is valuable. Just like when I was an Electrician, or small engine Mechanic before that, or Home Builder before that, or Data Entry Clerk before that, or fast food Burger Flipper before that, or Pre-Teen Lawn Mowing service before that... It's a proven model. The Artificial Scarcity Racket of selling infinitely reproducible information is Evil and economically untenable. The model where you sell bits is DUMB. Stop it. It's simple: You want to do work and get paid for it? Then DO WORK, and get paid for it. For a model that works see: Car Mechanics or any other labor industry where an estimate is given, price agreed upon, work performed. It's not rocket science. I have no sympathy for fools.

  • But let's get the important question out of the way: would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:38PM (#43864607)

    Just an FYI for everyone reading the terrible summary.

    Switchboard was advertised as a "MAGIC OMG FASTER INNERNETS BECUZ POWER OF TEH CLOUD" thing.

    What it actually was:

    A VPN client that aggregated all internet-connected links you had, split up packets across all your pipes (you have to have multiple ISPs), and then sent them off to some server they leased which has a fatter pipe, reconstructed your packets from the split up packets, and then routed your traffic to its intended destination, and did the reverse for traffic going to you.

    • by lewdavis (2450904) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:47PM (#43864691)
      Dave from Connectify here. Right you are. The second description you gave is technically correct, but didn't have nearly the sizzle of your first!
      • by dehole (1577363)

        A VPN client that aggregated all internet-connected links you had, split up packets across all your pipes (you have to have multiple ISPs), and then sent them off to some server they leased which has a fatter pipe, reconstructed your packets from the split up packets, and then routed your traffic to its intended destination, and did the reverse for traffic going to you.

        I'm failing to see how you'd be able to achieve a faster internet connection by having your network-limited main internet connections, connected to a larger bandwidth leased server (unless you are underutilizing the bandwidth of each connection). I guess the Connectify software (closed source, not-free), is just a load balancer, using the highest bandwidth connection when possible and available.

        From your website:

        Secure your Internet connection and easily encrypt all of your Internet traffic through your own personal server. Switchboard keeps sensitive online banking, credit card, and other information totally safe, even when you’re on an untrusted public hotspot.

        I'm not sure why anyone would trust closed source software, especially ones that claim to be "t

        • by guruevi (827432)

          It is basically a link aggregation of VPN links to a VPN endpoint somewhere else. I have noticed better bandwidth ignoring my ISP and using a VPN to one of my servers because
          a) my server is not being throttled and ISP's don't throttle VPN connections (yet)
          b) my server is located within my ISP's peering network
          c) my ISP's CDN's (to YouTube or Netflix) are awful (as in you can't get even a 300kbps stream across without buffering). Direct connection to the actual servers works a lot better and can give me 1080

        • by phorm (591458)

          It would be faster for a single stream.
          For example, you want to stream a ~ 50MB/s file, but you only have access to a 30MB/s wired connection, a 20MB/s wifi, and a 5MB/s cellular.

          So all of those connections go to a bigger node with a >50MB/s pipe, the data is combined there, and arrives to you across all three connections where it's recombined and then appears to be a single ~ 50MB/s stream.

  • by fa2k (881632) <pmbjornstad @ g m a il.com> on Thursday May 30, 2013 @03:56PM (#43864785)

    I hope the slashdot crowd puts their money where their mouth is then. It's a good idea, VPNs are always a hassle to set up and tune, so this would be welcome. I wonder, though, if "normal" people will try out this... On the other side, if you went the cloud route, you'd be the ten thousandth or so VPN provider, with only performance to differentiate the product. And you may even have lost out on performance, despite the channel bonding, if the competitors had servers all over the world.

    I think there is hope for both business plans. The personal VPN server market hasn't been cracked yet. There was Hamachi, but it was bought by some company and not much happened. OpenVPN is as hard to set up as ever. NAT and firewalls mean that you need layers of fallback for reliable operation. I would suggest making a Linux version with low system requirements, in addition to the "Enterprise" linux version, because linux users will be overrepresented in the group of people who run always-on systems at home, and it could also run on VPSs. The enterprise VPN market is quite crowded, I can't say anything about how that will go. The hosted VPN market is equally crowded, but there is also a huge demand, partly because of inane geo-IP restrictions on various services. You'd have to sell it on speed, and speed is very much key for things like video on demand. I'm not sure about the value of channel bonding for personal use, as for many people their home connection or even courtesy wi-fi at coffee shps is significantly faster than the mobile connection, so switching to wi-fi when possible should give good speed and less monetary cost. This feature would be brilliant for enterprise systems though.

    • by fa2k (881632)

      I should add a disclaimer, I will not be buying this for a while, because I only use Linux. I will keep it in mind. And it's very cool that companies listen to the users (hopefully) and make better (or at least different) products

    • by agizis (676060)
      Thank you, good feedback. We're going after the personal VPN first, but I think that eventually we'll be able to return to the cloud server. There certainly were a fair number of people who really wanted it.
  • To half of us slashtards here, you seem a whiny half-grown-up. To the other half, it is not fully intelligible what goal exactly you are trying to reach . For the potential future CEO of an internet company, that is a bad start. Get yourself a business angel, work hard and stop embarrassingly mentioning who your father is. I mean it. Stop whining and work hard.
    • by agizis (676060)
      Thanks for asking, this was part of a campaign to sign up technically sophisticated beta testers for our new VPN product. I came to slashdot because of the concentration of such networking experts. The casual, ask me anything, tone was set specifically to disarm the frequent, negative posters who frequently post without contributing to the discussion in a meaningful way. At this moment, I have now signed up 249 people for the Switchboard beta (thank you everyone, we won't let you down). Thanks for your
  • It should be "Slashdot helped me realise my kickstarter idea was stupid"

  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @04:53PM (#43865609)

    Greetings, Alex.

    In the past, I've used Hamachi, Tunngle and failed entirely to set up the Microsoft VPN software (even getting two game clients to interact was two wasted days). Hamachi "just worked". Same with Tunngle. Eventually I gave up on both of those as well even though they worked for my needs. The reason I stopped using them was because I didn't trust either company.

    In the process of reinstalling my OS I discovered that even though I had previously uninstalled Hamachi it had left behind an active, registered network connection to their servers--I had to wipe the drive to get rid of it.

    The exact same thing happened when I intentionally uninstalled Tunngle as a test. Massive backdoors left wide open on my machine. What I thought was a tunnel was actually a massive hole smashed through my firewall and covered over with a few leaves.

    My point is that without the trust, I feel I am better off without those products. I feel the same way about the "cloud". THAT is why everyone wants to run their own servers--they don't trust you.

    • by agizis (676060)
      Interesting, thank you. In general I think the trust/privacy issues are bigger here on Slashdot than they are in the rest of the Internet (I submit Facebook's success as evidence). I think the subscription part was a bigger deal to more people. That said you clearly have a valid point, and your stories about those other products are clearly nightmarish. I'm going to keep this in mind going forward. And I get that nothing I say here will make you trust me. So are there standards/trusted 3rd parties, wh
      • " And I get that nothing I say here will make you trust me."

        Honesty begets honesty.

        It's not you, it's the product. It puts me in the position of having to trust you in order to use it. The servers are the problem--if there was some way that I didn't have to include a middleman in the equation, then things would be different.

        But, as things are, the product, in my opinion, is doomed out of the gates--what you are providing is essentially optimized Hamachi/Tunngle type VPN service. Your going to have to provid

      • I should clarify.

        When I mentioned middlemen, I meant in terms of having access to my data--I don't want to share that with you, even if you are providing a service of optimizing my connection, by whatever means. I don't want you in my data.

  • I took a look at your "What's So Special About Switchboard" link and I thought it was pretty terrible. Oh... it had a lot of good technical explanations, but from a marketing standpoint it pretty much stinks.

    People want to know first: "What can this do for me? Then, if they are technically-minded, they will want to know HOW. But what it does NOT do -- which you go to great lengths to explain on that page -- is something they might want to know, but if they do they'll want to know it last.

    Your page was

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