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The cautionary tale of the Pebble smartwatch grows a bit longer.  The Pebble, a Kickstarter star that raised $10 million from backers, won’t ship by Christmas. The new ship date: “soon.”

Here’s part of Pebble’s message to backers:

Unfortunately we will not be able to ship out Pebble in time for the holidays. As a tiny act of compensation, we’d like to offer you this little holiday card. I know it’s not a Pebble, but I do hope that you can tell from these updates that we’re quickly moving towards the moment when Pebble will finally be on your wrist.

Any thoughts, Pebble backers?

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Food
*Sustainable/green design
*Science
*Young Makers
*Action sports


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Comments

  1. adcurtin says:

    As a backer, here are my thoughts: Your article is wrong. Nothing has changed. There was never a date given after they knew they wouldn’t make the ones listed on the kickstarter. They just said it’d come when it comes, and never gave even an estimate. They said maybe for the holidays, but never anything stronger than that either way. I got a strong feeling they weren’t gonna make Christmas. Not a surprise at all, or really even news.

    Honestly, you wrote 4 sentences, 2 of which are flat out wrong, 1 is a bit wrong, and the last is a question. It’s not a cautionary tale really (a bit wrong). Delayed again is flat out wrong. It was delayed once, and only once. They didn’t promise to get them out before christmas (so double wrong on that sentence). There is no new ship date, it’s always had a ship date of “when it’s ready”.

    There has been nothing wrong with the Pebble kickstarter at all. They’ve been completely honest with us from the start, and I have no idea why you would even think it’s a cautionary tale. Pebble has been a great kickstarter so far, they’re doing a lot of planning and testing, keeping us in the loop without updating too often, not overpromising anything. The only reason the kickstarter was delayed in the first place is because they got such overwhelming interest.

    In my opinion, you should just remove this post, because it is so wrong. It’s disrespectful to the Pebble team, and also makes this blog look bad.

    1. adcurtin says:

      This is the first Make post that I’ve seen that angers me. I’ve seen stuff that’s wrong, and seen stuff I’m not even remotely interested in, and that’s fine; it happens. This is just so flat out wrong and misleading and rude, grrrr.

      1. adcurtin says:

        Really, shame on you guys.

        1. TimmehBob says:

          Rage much?

    2. Aaron says:

      Thank you… lets not rag on these hard working guys just to make news. It’s an accepted level of risk entering into a kickstarter as a backer. I’m glad it’s revolutionizing hoow stuff gets financed and made. Surely there will be bumps along the way, and our compassion is very much needed to see these entrepreneur’s dreams come true.

    3. You are correct, Adcurtin. Pebble did not promise to ship by Christmas. That is my mistake and I have corrected it. My apologies. My post was in no way meant to beat up on the Pebble folks. Manufacturing thousands of units of an innovative product like the Pebble is no easy task. I get that. I simply meant to report the news that this high-profile project announced it “will not be able to ship out Pebble in time for the holidays.” As for the cautionary tale, I stand by that. I believe it’s a cautionary tale for both backers and those who launch Kickstarter campaigns: there are no guarantees when a product will ship or even if it will be produced at all.

      1. adcurtin says:

        I see you’ve finally responded, but you still haven’t fixed everything the article. There is no “new ship date”, it only changed once. This is also not “another thing” to add to the list. This is the ONLY thing on the list. Pebble has done absolutely everything else really well.

        As for missing ship dates, the kickstarter says “expected ship date”, not “ship date”. A little common sense and understanding what kickstarter is should make it very clear that the dates aren’t firm. The dates are probably a best case scenario where everything goes perfectly. As for pebble, they got 100 times the amount they asked for. Imagine you were doing something, and gave a time estimate to do that, then had to do it 100 times. Do you think it is even remotely reasonable to assume it would take the same amount of time? I think even double the amount of time would be amazing. If you still think such a minor detail deserves an article, a way to do that respectful of the pebble team would be something like the following:

        “The Pebble team confirmed today that they would not be able to ship the devices in time for Christmas. They previously stated that they didn’t expect to make the deadline, but the announcement today is a confirmation. As a consolation, they offered the card to explain to anyone whom you planned to gift a Pebble to why you don’t have one yet.”

        You could of course write that last sentence a bit better, and include their press release.

        What you’re doing is harping on one of the best and most successful kickstarters for the single thing they didn’t do perfect. Do you think people are going to be excited to use kickstarter if this is what they have to look forward to? Would you like it if I followed you around and pointed out everything you didn’t do perfectly (as in on everything you post, not just this one)?

        Here’s another question for you: have you ever participated in a Kickstarter from start to finish? Or even partially? I’ve done a few. some are good, some are bad.
        Pebble is definitely one of the better ones. They even sent empty boxes to some backers to test the shipping methods. That’s pretty thorough.

        I backed the Teensy 3, that kickstarter was damn near perfect, but to be fair Paul had the hardware mostly, if not completely in its final state before he started it, and has made similar products before. He just used the kickstarter to get some initial cash to fund mass production. That kickstart went off without a hitch, and I had my reward well within the expected deadline. That was the best kickstarter I’ve done.

        I’ve done / am doing 3 others I won’t really talk about (Galago, Sensordrone, and iControlpad 2). Those are all doing well so far. I’m not particularly amazed by what they’re doing, but they’re still doing a good job, and if they continue as they are, I’d be more than happy to support them in the future.

        I also back ironbuds. ugh. I can say I’ve gotten a consolation reward so far, but not my actual reward. I back ironbuds in august. of 2011. That’s 1.5 years ago. That kickstarter had a lot of updates (too many even), lots of overpromising, and lots of missed deadlines. When I got the reward I got so far (it’s a more basic version of my actual reward), it was hand addressed. They took weeks just to ship all of those out, and I assume they hand wrote all of the addresses. Would you be surprised to know that ironbuds not only missed christmas last year, but also again this year?

        Now can you see why it’s bad for you to harp on Pebble? I have nothing but good things to say about Pebble. Am I a little disappointed that I don’t have mine yet? Sure, but that’s no exactly a surprise, and I can’t really fault Pebble team (especially because they got such a huge turnout. They even had to put a cap on the number of pebbles, which they hit a day or two before their deadline.)

        So please, fix the article so it’s not rude to the pebble team.

      2. adcurtin says:

        I’d also like to point out the other responses you have gotten. They all echo what I’ve said. This article is ridiculous, and pebble is one of the better kickstarters.

        Not even a single person has commented to say they agree with the article. Not one. There’s only a single comment (other that yours) that doesn’t say something similar to what I said.

        (to be fair, I did comment first, and set the tone, but still no one other than you has said anything to the contrary)

      3. adcurtin says:

        and if I haven’t previously said this: I have absolutely no ties to the Pebble team other than being a backer. I don’t have any ties to any of the projects I mentioned other than being a backer (well I bought stuff from PJRC I guess, and a definitely would again in a heartbeat after their kickstarter, but that’s it. still no personal ties).

  2. Darrick says:

    I am starting to suspect Make is trolling to get more page hits and ad views.

  3. Akiva says:

    Agreed. If MAKE wants to point out problem projects, they should go after Code Hero…

  4. Jeff says:

    STETT, edits are in order.

    EDITOR?

  5. Greg says:

    Funded May 2012. What are you complaining about? My Hexbright was funded July 2011 and I still don’t have mine! Last I checked neither project gave a firm end date. The Pebble project was 100 times larger than anticipated. Let’s cut them some slack.

    1. PanoWorks says:

      At least HexBright is actually shipping now (units confirmed received) and had frequent updates. There’s other projects that have been going about as long and I have no idea what the creators are doing. Still, could be worse.. could be any one of those doomed iPod/iPhone/iPad projects.

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