Jordan Bishop calls his CrowdTilt project, in which crowdfunders invest money in a mystery product, a “trust experiment.”
He’s offered hints to potential backers, but it’s very vague. In his own words:
- I’ve had two different designers specialize in the two intricate processes required to build the physical product, and I’ve worked with countless manufacturers and suppliers of everything from raw materials to packaging to make sure every component of the finished product is just right. I’m not cutting any corners.
- There are 24 SKUs (24 distinct items). All 24 follow the same general theme, but each SKU reaches a different target audience.
- It’s something you will give to someone else. It could be anyone from a co-worker to your significant other; it’s just as appropriate for either.
- Each unit retails for $US4.50.
He’s offering a pre-sale special: you can buy three of his products for $US9, which includes free shipping to the U.S. and Canada. On July 23, he’s holding a launch party for the product in his home town of Toronto. On July 24, you can choose which product you’d like.
Bishop went with CrowdTilt instead of Kickstarter because after running a Kickstarter campaign last November, he realised how much planning would go into making a Kickstarter campaign. CrowdTilt reached out after his Medium post went up, and pitched its platform to him. Bishop accepted.
Bishop said in an interview with Business Insider that he’s a “pretty secretive guy as it is,” and that only his closest friends know what the product is. When the word got out that Bishop was making a mystery product that he’d soon announce, he gave them the chance to trust him.
“I said, I’ll give you a good deal on this product if you trust me and give me money up front before you know what it is,” he said. “So really, it was just a trust experiment — who actually trusts me? And then it became something bigger than that.” Bishop says he’ll even refund your money if you decide you don’t like what he’s selling or if you can’t easily use 12 of his products within the next 12 months.
“In the first couple hours I had over 100 people putting money down socially, which means if they were to back out, they would be socially ridiculed, so I thought that was really surprising,” he said. He’s already reached his goal of selling 250 products, and he still has a few days left.
“It shows how the internet is changing how we interact, in that you can’t screw people over on the internet anymore. Your entire reputation is on the line,” he said.
Even more surprising to Bishop than how many products he’s already raised money for is how he’s gained the complete trust of total strangers.
“I never expected this to blow up. This is just something I did in half an hour on Wednesday morning when I wrote the Medium post. It really was not a planned endeavour,” he said.