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Ubuntu The Almighty Buck

Using Kickstarter Data To Predict Ubuntu Edge's Success 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-the-numbers-say dept.
First time accepted submitter Jason Waddell writes "According to Kickstarter's historic backing data, crowdfunding follows a very predictable pattern: a strong opening, a mid-campaign 'dead zone', and a small resurgence at the end of the campaign. We combine Kickstarter's trends with the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo crowdfunding data to forecast whether the innovative Ubuntu phone will reach its $32 million campaign goal."
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Using Kickstarter Data To Predict Ubuntu Edge's Success

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  • Maybe the slashdot effect will bring them donors while bringing their servers to a crawl.
    • Re: slashdot effect (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is no slashdot effect for at least 5 years now. Slashdot's peak came and went 6-7 years ago. Why do you think the old names in management left? Stories usually easily got 100+ comments are now down to double digits. Call it the reddit effect if anything.

      http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=slashdot&cmpt=q

      • I remember seeing stories get hundreds and hundreds of comments on average just a year or two ago, but you are right slashdot has declined but it is still good.

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          The comment quality is still okay, but they could have been reddit (in terms of userbase) since they were here already here in the late 90s... but they puttered around on code changes that did next-to-nothing user interface wise since then. It was a really wasted opportunity.

          But reddit sucks anyway, so the lament is just over quantity, nothing else.

    • Slashdot doesn't have the userbase anymore.

  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday August 02, 2013 @05:45AM (#44454825) Homepage

    Talk about click bait. Can the topic header be edited after posting to save everyone having to waste their time?

    • Thanks for saving me the click. They're really after $32 million? I could have predicted they wouldn't reach their goal without any analysis at all.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Especially with the price of stuff. You can spend $20 and get nothing physical at all. You can spend $50 for a t-shirt, or your can spend $775 (sold out, now $780) and get the actual phone. If it actually get released. For that kind of money you can go out and buy a phone right now, and still have lots of money to spare. And you will actually have a phone. Instead of having the chance of getting a phone if the project is actually completed.
        • by jkflying (2190798)

          You won't have a phone with a sapphire screen. Those aren't available *anywhere*, at *any* price.

          • by jkflying (2190798)

            Never mind the 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash.
            Seriously. Where do you intend to get a phone with those specs?

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              The same place you do, the land of dreams and wishes.

            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              It's not a question of "where", but "when". I would expect that next year, this probably won't be unattainable. Which is probably the earliest I would expect them to actually get this phone in my hands. They are comparing it to an iPhone 5, which was released almost a year ago, and the Samsung Galaxy Galaxy S4, which is newer, but still probably due up for a new model to surpass by the time they release this phone. Also, you get the Galaxy S4 with 64 GB internally (hard to find though), and then add an ad
              • by Xicor (2738029)
                if this campaign does not succeed, next year there still wont be anything close to it. why? because the phone manufacturers have no reason to push the limits on hardware when ppl are willing to pay 600-900$ on hardware that is 3-5 years old.
          • Oh good, something far more brittle than gorilla glass to make a large screen out of.

            Sounds like an anti-feature to me.

        • The article does predict they'll raise 20 million, I would of said that was absurd too.

          • by Xicor (2738029)
            i think 20 million is easily possible. if the campaign hits the kickstarter 11M record, there will be a TON of press and news articles. the word would get out there, thats what the campaign needs most atm. it doesnt need new perks or cheaper phones, it needs ppl to know about it. if the word gets spread out there, the campaign might even get to 32M
  • For all the impressive tech and design that went into Edge, there's one glaring technical problem that will prevent it from reaching the target - it doesn't have a picture of an apple on the back.
    • by feds (3005861)
      I guess the Ubuntu picture on the back is not the same ;)
      anyway there are other/bigger flaws:
      - expensive: sure, it's a dev edition but I've been reading articles in the Interweb about the market pushing for cheaper phones, not more expensive (talking about big numbers here, not just a few thousands hard core fan)
      - too far in the future: in one year there will probably smart watches around, and who knows what else!
      - user experience: I don't think a dual OS device gives a good user experience, Jolla capab
  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:28AM (#44454955)

    If you didn't want to RTFA, it says they project it'll get somewhere between $18 to $22 million of the requested $32m.

    (which ids damn good, $20m of real people's cash. Imagine what could happen if Google, Microsoft or Yahoo stopped buying stupid internet companies for many $billion and spent a fraction on stuff like this - or gave it to these kickstarters!)

    • by Windwraith (932426) on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:37AM (#44454993)

      I've been following several ubuntu blogs and they got a ton of cash in mere days. Like you'd at times get updates with the $3K milestone and the $4K milestone in the same one-hour period.
      Besides, $18-22M is still a pretty kickass amount of money...and there is always the possibility of some larger sponsor kicking in.
      Personally, if I could afford it right now, I'd make sure to get myself one. I always wanted a linux phone with decent specs and without the risk of having to flash stuff everywhere and/or making clumsy chroots inside Android to have my favorite tools ready.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        Personally, if I could afford it right now, I'd make sure to get myself one. I always wanted a linux phone with decent specs and without the risk of having to flash stuff everywhere and/or making clumsy chroots inside Android to have my favorite tools ready.

        Well, then you should consider buying one once somebody makes one. This isn't a way to purchase a phone. This is a way to donate a large amount of money to a for-profit, private company.
    • Sadly. this closed purchase option with no retail option in the future is more characteristic of Apple than Ubuntu's philosophy. The phone looks great, specs sound amazing.. This exclusivity deal is all about "snobby" tactics. I am a game developer. I can't currently afford to put down money for this phone but i will be able to in a couple months. Without the app eco-system, this will be another failed phone project like WebOS and Meego. Yay for a FOSS company creating a closed phone
  • Using averages for this sort of analysis is problematic because it ignores variance in the data based on factors such as total amount requested, how long KS promotes a project on the front page and via email, change in pricing for early bird via later funders, and type of project. Unless you take into account and look at the distribution of funding results you really have very little data to back a conclusion. Sure, the funding pattern is interesting but provides little insight on chances of success. You mi

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Probably not, considering it's on IndieGogo, not on Kickstarter ;)
      • Probably not, considering it's on IndieGogo, not on Kickstarter ;)

        Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't sure if they were setting up a KS campaign. If not, the data is even less relevant.

  • This project isn't it. I'd put money in it if they were to unify their efforts to make linux suck less and stop changing for the sake of change. Instead of blowing time making a phone they could have succeeded at making their desktop product rock solid and keep it that way. (Ubuntu has this thing about changing everything in every version far too much.)

    If you don't agree with me, consider that Windows has at the core barely changed. Apps from 15 years ago still work for the most part, without much fuss. Doc

    • by hAckz0r (989977)
      "Windows has at the core barely changed. Apps from 15 years ago still work for the most part"

      And there in lie Microsoft's biggest security problem. Their refusal to jettison bad ideas only leaves them wide open to all kinds of security issues. Bad applications and old API's never get upgraded, patched, or fixed. They can apply all the band-aids they can think of (ASLR/SEP, etc.), but if you leave vulnerable hooks into your OS then its just a matter of time before someone comes along and tries the door kno

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "This is further evidence that would-be backers are turned-off by Canonical’s incremental pricing structure."

    I think it is rather proof that Shuttleworth and a lot of canonical people pumped in money early (persuaded, so to speak) to try and make it look successful, hoping it would generate momentum, hence an early surge. Real world demand is clearly actually much flatter, and I really doubt it has to do with "pricing structure" alone. At least that is the most likely reason for the unusual early sh

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Friday August 02, 2013 @07:01AM (#44455083) Homepage Journal

    Elite: Dangerous [kicktraq.com] looked the same as Ubuntu Edge's progress in the early stages, and it got funded.

    • No it didn't, it had a very normal progression from what I can tell. I assume in this graph the green is the average daily amount predicting the total earned. http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/#chart-exp-trend [kicktraq.com]

      Compare that to the graph in the article with the diagonal line, see how successful projects generally stay above the line (the diagonal one in the article, the flat one in my link). The edge is already well below it unfortunatly, and is quite early in funding. It shouldn't di

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Elite also had a thirtieth of the funding goal, used the more popular Kickstarter platform, and had nostalgia and big names to help it. Whether Ubuntu is a popular enough brand to reach their lofty ambitions or not remains to be seen. The biggest crowdsourced project to date is Star Citizen, which managed to garner about 10 million dollars across two campaigns (their own site and Kickstarter later on). They've since taken the long approach and added another 4 million to the pile through extended preordering
  • "This projection puts the Ubuntu Edge campaign on pace for a $18 million total."

    • by leonbev (111395)

      By predicting that the Kickstarter is going to come up short of their goal, these armchair analysts have likely (and amusingly) impacted their own projections. Now that more people think that the project is going to fail, even fewer people will bother to invest in it. Depending on how many people read the article on Slashdot, it might cost Canonical another $500,000 to a million in contributions.

      • Now that more people think that the project is going to fail, even fewer people will bother to invest in it.

        The point of Kickstarter (and IndieGoGo projects that don't use the greedy and buyer-hostile "flexible funding" option) is that there's no reason to do that. If you think the project will fail, it's still rational to pledge - if you were wrong, you're happy, and if you were right, you've lost nothing.

        That is the KEY point of treshold pledge funding, and by extension Kickstarter, to counteract this sel

  • They should have had another option below $10,000/-. Something like a $5000 option which includes 3 phones + and invite to the unveiling meeting. I think the $10,000/- with a single phone option won't be attractive to a lot of people.

    • by javy29sp (1723340)
      I think they should have a lottery system where for $20 you buy a 1 in 40 chance of winning a phone. They get $800 which is more then they're asking and I think they'd have more people throwing in money. Why would I want to donate $20 so others can have a phone? If I have a chance at winning one then I might be tempted. I could even donate more money to increase my odds.
  • From reading TFA, it seems that the headline should have been punctuated with a question mark, so Betteridge's Law could be applied identifying this effort as a failure.

  • This campaign can be paid off immediately on any morning that Mark wakes up, yawns and decides to click donate in his own campaign.
    • Good point. Since part of the purpose of the campaign is to gauge the market potential of the thing, there is probably a sum below which he won't do that, though... but that sum is also probably quite a bit below the stated goal.

      • Good point. Since part of the purpose of the campaign is to gauge the market potential of the thing, there is probably a sum below which he won't do that, though... but that sum is also probably quite a bit below the stated goal.

        True. And it also may be in his best interest to fake some market potential by a series of incremental boosts. Showing something can be done increases interest in the endeavor, creating more market potential.

  • Sorry, but the idea of having a small foot print, small learning curve, media device has been pre-emptied by Google's chromecast. It makes a phone like this irrelevant for most people. Even though it's not even remotely the same type of device, it does feel the gap of missing use cases for most users. There is a very good reason why donations to the phone project stopped when chromecast came out. It's not a coincidence.
  • I created a crowdsourcing platform for science with the goal of never letting a worthy science project go unfunded. I have always loved science and technology and wish I was scientific minded, but have come to terms with the fact that this is the best way I can further humans scientific knowledge, which I am none the less excited about. ScitechStarter is not only useful for scientific project creators, but is also great for people like myself who are looking for a way to contribute and don't have the abilit

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