Picture This: Photography Podcast Ep. 22 – WAIT Before Kickstarting

For those listening to the audio podcast, here are some of the videos promoting the Kickstarter items mentioned on the YouTube video version of the show:

Tony & Chelsea discuss some of the Kickstarter products that either “completely sucked” or conned investors out of their cash. One of the most notorious examples was the Lily Drone; while the initial concept was met with praise, the Lily never lived up to its promises when they finally rolled it out. In addition to the long list of the Lily’s problems, leaked emails from Lily’s CEO indicated that the promo shown above was actually filmed with GoPro cameras – not a proprietary drone camera, like the one advertised in their Kickstarter plug. Adding insult to injury, here’s the current state of Lily’s website.

TriggerTrap was actually kind of a cool product. By using an embeded mic, this little device would tell your camera when to start take pictures based on audio cues. If my description has you confused, it may be easiest to just watch their promotional video linked above. After numerous setbacks, TriggerTrap just took too long to develop. Many years later, the TriggerTrap Kickstarter page announced they had given up, but not without losing the majority of their investors money first.

Stikbox was a particularly sad story – an inventor designs a mobile device case, with an extendable selfie stick built right in! Two things went awry here; first, the Stikbox was ripped off by Chinese manufacturers, allowing them to release a similar product before the Stikbox Kickstarter project had a chance to finish. Secondly, the competitors knockoff versions seemed to be just as capable, but was offered at a price point that Stikbox just couldn’t compete with. The real rub was when the Chinese manufacturers used the Stikbox promos to promote their own replicas! We genuinely felt sorry for the Stikbox innovator in the end.


The Z-Cam E-1 was a tiny Micro 4/3 camera – only slightly bigger than a GoPro, but offered the convenience of an interchangeable lens. We actually received one of the E1s when they were first released, and never really used it more than a handful of times. There was just something about the footage it produced that never looked quite right – and would take a needlessly long time to color-correct in post. The company who designed Z-Cam kept promising new, innovative products, but aside from a VR camera, has even given up support with their current products.

Peak Design got its start with Kickstarter backing, and has grown into a successful company that makes great products. This was one of the examples we used to show that not all Kickstarter projects are necessarily scams or disasterous. We’ve been using Peak Design gear for a few years now, and while some items are rather expensive, the quality of their bags and clips are very good!

The Exploding Kittens card game was another Kickstarter success. Conceptualized by The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman, the concept was simple enough; make an entertaining card game with the colorful comic-art Inman was known for. This was a prime example why more Kickstarter initiatives should pay closer attention to the amount of R&D and manufacturing that goes into a product. The simplicity of Exploding Kittens, the popularity of The Oatmeal and a fair price point all helped the game become a smash hit! There’s even a follow-up expansion pack for Exploding Kittens…Imploding Kittens.

The Coolest 21st Century Cooler was a great concept, but was marred with manufacturing flaws and setbacks once production started. The company quickly ran out of funds during development, and chose to sell their first few shipments on Amazon, instead of reimbursing their investors with the product they were promised. It was wildly overpriced from the beginning, but numerous bad reviews have indicated trouble with the batteries and the blender. There has since been a class-action lawsuit proposed by the investors, in hopes of reclaiming their money.

As always, thanks for tuning in and supporting us! We’ll have a new and insightful Picture This! podcast available for you later this month.