EDIT: Also, these changes will take effect for everyone who has already pledged at these levels. Though if you could, please switch - if the old ones have 0 pledges I can delete them.
Unfortunately I can't change the pricing structure in place, but based on the feedback we've gotten so far I've added a set of new rewards - all of which are better than their previous ones. :)
$15 - A license and acknowledgement on the contributor list
$50 - A license and early beta access
$100 - A license, early beta access, and participation in feedback rounds
$200 - Two licenses, pre-beta access, and participation in feedback rounds
All the higher rewards will also of course include participation in the feedback rounds. Ultimately, this should address people's concerns of buying something before it exists, but providing the opportunity to be a part of it at a lower price point.
If licences are now down to $15 - shouldn't all the pledges that contained multiple licences be adjusted as well? e.g., the $500 pledge included $200 worth of licences before, but now they are only valued at $60.
I understand KickStarter doesn't allow you to change existing rewards, but this is turning into a bit of a confusing mess...
Here's a rough guideline:
Earliest access - August 2012
Pre beta - October 2012
early beta - Decemeber 2012
Official Beta - late January 2013
Launch - May 2013
More details about the money and why you need it, what our donation will accomplish aside from the vague message about how more people get things done faster. How much are you paying yourself? How many other people?
More information about the end product (people are asking about OS for example), the timeline, and you and your qualifications to run the project. I gather you have been programming for a long time and work at Microsoft, but that doesn't prove you'll be able to deliver. For all I know you're a famous hacker, but not knowing that, not knowing if I can use the end product or when I will get it, and not being given a simple, compelling argument (rather than a detailed description of the idea) makes me less interested in participating.
That said I love the idea and really hope you are successful!
And why should we believe you can deliver?
I've been programming professionally for 8 years, during which I've built websites large and small (puma.com, newbalance.com, etc), helped design the future of Visual Studio, and released numerous open source libraries and frameworks. While at Microsoft I was the Program Manager for the C# and VB IDE where I spent countless hours behind a one way mirror learning how people develop things. Since then I've steeped myself in the world of startups and OSS. I worked with the guys at ReadyForZero to build readyforzero.com, created the Noir web framework, built the SQL abstraction layer Korma, and released a host of ClojureScript libraries to make client side development a breeze - many of which are now featured in the canonical books for Clojure. Even more recently, I built Bret Victor's live game editor after watching his inspiring "Inventing on Principle" talk. I have a history of building useful software and a hunger for making developers more efficient, as well as experience leading and shaping the the future of a billion dollar project.
PS. Good luck.
Maybe I'm just spoiled from spending $15-$20 on Kickstarter games and getting beta access, but as long as Light Table looks like an awesome toy instead of something I can build commercial software with it's hard to justify dropping $100 on it. That said I'll probably throw in $50.
I don't see it as chipping in $100 for Lighttable itself (which I do want), I see it as showing there is a very real demand for new thinking in IDE-land.
It's only $100 so there's no need to forsake anything. I bought a personal license for IntelliJ IDEA, for example, and I upgrade to every new version. I believe in buying software that makes me more productive.
I find it kind of strange that people in the software business have such a hard time paying for software. I hope this doesn't rub off on the general population.
In this case, personally, I am.
I take it that it also means that the license will not allow for you to copy / redistribute Light Table? Does it still really qualify as open source then?
Will they allow for contributors to the core of the product and if so, what rights do contributors need to sign away?
That said, I think its an awesome project!
One concern is they mention that it will make use of existing open source software; presumably they mean more BSD-style code or LGPL code rather than GPL code since the license they are proposing seems incompatible with the GPL.
But of course it's important that they be able to make money too, I wonder how that could work.
Will pledge my $50 later today, I'll probably never switch from Emacs but I do want to see where this goes! Id make it 100 though if they promised to (properly) open source the core and the language plugins. Maybe that could be one of the things promised if they exceed their funding target?
In this particular case this one is from someone who contributes to the community in other ways, but that's certainly not always the case.
If we hit $300k, Python will be the third language to be supported out of the gate.
I'd donate $500 right now if Lua support will be available in v1.
Edit: $500 (originally $100)
> PLEDGE $1,000 OR MORE - 10 licenses of Light Table and acknowledgement as a backer of the project.
> PLEDGE $5,000 OR MORE - 25 licenses of Light Table and acknowledgement as a sponsor of the project.
How can a pledging 5x the amount of the previous tier give you only 2.5x the value?
Honestly, I have no idea. In the end, these levels are primarily oriented at companies or other groups (education?), not individuals. What's one person going to do with 25 licenses?
This is the moment to really create momentum for the project -- if I were in your shoes, I'd spend a bunch of time today really refining the project details on Kickstarter. (Other successful Kickstarter projects might provide some great ideas.)
I say this to help your efforts – more specifics mean more likely support, imho.
The point being, that you should lower the goal and the main milestone. Esp. as long as you don't have a team to show... if there's interest it can go up many times over your goal anyway. People would ignore the goals if they can get something compelling from their individual deals.
So many folks in this thread, myself included, have adopted a stance of "I don't know if pledging this much is worth it!"
Well, we don't have to, right? We can just pledge $1 if we like it and want to help a bit.
Except we're talking about this product as though it is on sale and priced too high.
: Cleared up language.
I've been going back and forth about this, and I think the phrasing of the particular Kickstarter project controls whether it's more a donation or shopping cart experience. Think about the conversation like this:
- "Hey, can you chip in some money so I can spend a bunch of time making a really cool piece of software?"
- "Sure, I'd love to! I can spare $25. When do I get to play with your build?"
- "Oh, $25 isn't enough for you to access the software. That's just a donation. But you can buy a copy when it comes out."
If the pitch is "chip in what you can, and we'll make a cool thing for everyone," then you set the stage for donations for innovation. If the pitch is "pay enough, and we'll give you a license to our cool thing," then you're offering a shopping cart experience. Which is fine, I use shopping carts all the time, but it's a different and less exciting thing.
This is maybe different with physical products -- if there's a cost per product, there obviously needs to be a minimum donation to get one. But with a virtual product, the reason you set a high donation threshold to get a copy is that you're selling a product rather than asking for a donation. Again, that's totally reasonable, but it's not as exciting to be part of.
As I keep thinking about it, I think there might be an uncanny valley effect here. If a software company I really like, like the Omni Group or Macromates, said they were doing presales of a revolutionary new product and needed me to buy in so it could get made, I would be psyched to do it. But this is halfway in between -- it's neither "donate to my cool project" nor "pre-order my cool product," but "donate to my cool product." I think that's where our gears start grinding a little.
I'm still up in the air about whether to donate to/purchase this one or not. Interesting stuff.
That bit of text was misleading, the plugins that would be closed source are not the ones that would result immediately from this project, but instead domain specific plugins that wouldn't have broad appeal. All the language plugins will be open.
I would gladly throw $50 to you if you released this under a MIT (or similar) license. Even if I never switch from vim, I feel my $50 would be well-spent bringing a (hopefully) awesome free IDE into the world.
If this isn't actually free software but only open source, I still might purchase a license for myself, but I think it's fair that this is mentioned upfront.
Besides that, the video quality on the Kickstart home page is quite bad; I tried to see what was going on so I put it in full-screen mode and couldn't read anything properly.
Either way, I've put some cash in the pot :).
Will it be open source?
I'm a firm believer in open source software and open
source technologies. I can guarantee you that Light Table
will be built on top of the technologies that are freely
available to us today. As such, I believe it only fair
that the core of Light Table be open sourced once it is
launched, while some of the plugins may remained closed
source. At some level, this is an experiment in how open
source and business can mix - it will be educational for
Open Source Business models have been under debate and development for a while now, making it seem like he needs to "experiment" here shows that he doesn't have much insight into the Ecosystem to begin with.
I'd prefer it if third-party contributions were allowed right away, and I'd be completely fine with only the core developers being paid. I think getting early feedback from users who care enough to contribute would be invaluable here.
Just answer yes or no, thats how simple it should be.
Basically, what he is saying is "It's not going to be open source or free software." but in a way that makes it sound less bad.
"Be careful with waterfalling rewards (having each category include all previous ones) — We had t-shirts in too many tiers; and they ended up being one of the most expensive rewards"
I pre-sold tshirts to fund a music news website about ten years ago. I only sold about 35 shirts, but given that I was in school and working two part time jobs in addition to keeping my site going as a hobby, I found even fulfilling just those 35 shirts to be way more work than I really wanted, and I haven't bothered selling shirts since.
Although after everything was mailed off, I did make enough to cover hosting for pretty decent amount of time.
Or is the problem that people are manually doing something that cafepress or zazzle provide might provide?
It's not terrible, but it's nowhere near as efficient as selling digital goods.
Then I would be excited to donate :)
But I would love the promise of open source and not open core. Especially since the current description is so vague.
"some of the plugins may remained [sic] closed source"
What kinds of plugins? Every supported language is a plugin -- will Python or Ruby end up closed? Or the inline HTML rendering?
If Chris promised a true commitment to keeping this open, I'd promise to pay up. With Kickstarter, I could even prove it.
How about a KS reward that would give me the access to all everything Light Table related that the team builds?
Also note that even GPL allows you to sell the software and sell the code separately. Ditto for other licenses. I'd pay for the code. Not sure how viable that actually is, but it's something to consider.
Lastly, how's the development going to look like? Are the open source parts going to be done in the open (as most successful open source projects do) or will it be Android-like code dump on the release date?
I would back it up for Linux, for example, but a Windows version wouldn't be useful for me.
FWIW Chris stated in a previous post that Lighttable would be built on embedding CodeMirror, which, being web-based, should make creating cross-platform builds much easier.
"font_face": "droid sans mono",
Fair enough if you want to make money with this, that's your right and I don't think anyone will try to stop you. But don't say it's open source when it's not.
Could you explain, if Light Table is released, what will I have to do to obtain a copy? If payment is involved, please explain to me how it is open source. What license will be used (MIT, GPL etc, if you roll your own, please outline the major parts)?
GNU's criticism of open source: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.h...
Also, I saw you mentioned a patched Clojure compiler for column information. Did you use my patch? :-) Let me know how I can help with Clojure and ClojureScript contributions. I find working on the compilers to be a lot of fun.
When I saw the Light Table demo, I wanted to build it for CoffeeScript, and I could do it.
This morning I found this, I got excited because I could use your interface and create a plugin for CoffeeScript. I was hoping I would be able to simply clone it and start working.
Instead I'm asked to pay X dollars to only get access to early beta?
> I'm a firm believer in open source
Yeah? Then make it open source. Develop it publicly on GitHub. Let people contribute. Don't make them pay.
> As such, I believe it only fair that the core of Light Table be open sourced once it is launched.
I believe I just gave you hundred dollars. Can I have the beta access now?
Personally, I'm more than happy for them to get the core done properly, and open-source later.
These were my thoughts as I clicked through the Amazon payment buttons.
I know Apache (the foundation, not the software) used to have a problem with sponsors who were basically buying links. Apparently sponsoring Apache was cheaper than trying to buy links on comparatively ranked sites.
It looks like there could be at least one company on http://www.apache.org/foundation/thanks.html at the moment that still falls into that category.
$50 gets you access in May 2013
$100 gets you access in December 2012
$200 gets you access in October 2012
$500 gets you access in August 2012
$1000+ gets you access in May
I don't have a barrel full of money by any stretch of the imagination, but given all of the lispers and schemers on Hacker News, pg's essays, and so on, I find it surprising that there would be as much hesitation as there is about paying $50 for some of smalltalk's greatest hits coupled with an environment that lowers the barrier to entry for people to dig into the best modern lisp around.
I'm donating because I want to live in a better place, not because I want a license. The cost of not funding a project that could mainstream so many lost and forgotten great ideas while simultaneously promoting some of the best new ones, seems sort of like a crime against the craft of programming in general.
I mean no offense, just an observation.
If I was going to fund something, I would want to know my money is going to the product and not merchandise.
I don't think a YC pitch would go well if they said "And with the first $10k we're going to send out t-shirts to the first 1000 subscribers on the mailing list."
I just have one question/suggestion just in case it makes sense. My main hesitation with using a browser-based IDE is that with native apps, I can use standard quick-keys to navigate documents very quickly using just the keyboard, such as flipping between documents, jumping my cursor to the beginning or end of a line/document and shift-arrowing/tabbing to make a selection. These are very basic and simple things, but without them, I would have to painfully use my trackpad/mouse to make selections, navigate the cursor around, or switch between documents. Just wondering if you're considering this type of functionality that will let me perform quick and simple actions through keyboard commands.
If you wanted to integrate the IDE well with one particular piece of really nice kit, and then tell people that if they donate more than $BIGNUM, they get a nice workstation, all setup and integrated.
(just a silly idea. That's probably more of a distraction than you want. But it could be showy.)
Want to mention I think Light Table looks fantastic, but now that I have internalized vim's key bindings I am very hesitant to switch. That said, I still pledged on kickstarter.
All the best Chris.
Lets talk about editors..
CodeMirror/Ace as an editor.
While both Code Mirror and Ace ( A spin off from Mozilla's Bespin editor ) Have done a very good job, as Marijn Haverbeke ( Code Mirror author ) puts it, of "In-browser code editing made bearable". Neither are smooth / fluid / responsive enough for every/all day coding. If you read
You will get a good sense of why the browser is a very harsh environment for a code editor to adapt to.
Alternatively you can have a play with any one of the tools, that use Code Mirror and Ace.
Try to use them for an extended period of time and you will see what I mean.
http://jsbin.com ( Code Mirror )
http://c9.io ( Ace Editor )
As a front-end developer, I'm all for making as much as I can browser based / cross platform, and pushing the limits of the browser. But from personal experience the browser isn't the place to be writing the code to do it.
(And with a great plugin system).
I don't know what percentage of backers are the kind that do it merely to "support" a project, but I would guess it's not more than 10-15% of all backers for a given project.
The rest want some value for their money beyond feeling good about backing. You state you chose $50 for a license because that is what you think it is worth. I think you'll find out that what you think people will pay you for something and what they are willing to pay differs by a factor of 2-3.
So most of the people that want what you are going to make, even a little, probably don't want to spend more than $20 or $25. The difference between that and $50 is made up from goodwill, but that's really asking a lot of people.
I would recommend making some more tiers between $5 and $50, where everything above $20 gets a license. This way you capture the people that just want the product, and give others the ability to show their goodwill as well.
This isn't the kind of project that really needs swag. Nobody really wants a t-shirt. If you do something like promise to list backers (and their associated tiers) in the "credits" of the app, that would probably be great for most people.
edit: typos, and wording
The other software kickstarters I've backed have included a copy of the product for the lowest tier (usually $15), and then added swag like t-shirts at the higher tiers.
Something like this:
$15: Light Table license
$30: Light Table license and included in the list of contributors
$50: Light Table license, included in list of contributors, and early access to beta
$100: Light Table license, included in list of contributors, early access to betas, and t-shirt
Lowering the early access will get you more beta testers, and raising the t-shirt higher will make you have to ship less t-shirts.
I disagree, I think shopping is exactly what Kickstarter becomes. You can use the platform for a lot of different realities. But, really, I didn't back the pebble watch because I thought the guys were nice, or because I thought the world needed another watch, or another thing to charge at night. I backed it because I like having new shit, I wouldn't of done so if I didn't get something physical from the money. As much as kickstarter is the poormans way to vc projects. VC's want to see something for their money too.
Even if my only reason for backing projects was to see projects become a reality. I'd still be shopping in a way, shopping to find projects I wanted to push into a tangible place. But even at that point, I still think it's the minority.
Donation based projects are more than fine, i'd love to see light table exist. But don't underestimate affordable donations, or fair rewards.
Kickstarter isn't "supposed" to be an e-commerce site, but that's what the majority of its users seem to be using it as. That's the emergent use case that's become almost a standard for the site.
Regardless of how we might feel about it, pricing needs to accommodate this user behavior. Not the other way around. Expecting users to change how they use Kickstarter is a recipe for sub-optimal subscription, if not failure.
For the consumer electronics. I'd say it's absolutely about crowdfunding and supporting the creator for artist and artwork projects, which are the majority that I back, as well as many people I know.
However, if Kickstarter doesn't allow changes in pricing once the project is set, it might not be the best option. Why not simply set up a personal pre-selling page, accepting payments via PayPal or any other service?
Can not change current reward level's, at least not after they have a purchase. But you can always add more levels. So as much as that does not alleviate the fixed prices, I think if the prices are well thought out, then more reward levels were added based on demand of the market, at that point I think it becomes a pretty successful platform for a startup or commercial activities. Although there are definitely exceptions.
"Why not simply set up a personal pre-selling page, accepting payments via PayPal or any other service?"
Awareness. If I started a new company that sold shoes, set up a seperate page. I would not have the instant credibility or the traffic that kickstarter has. As much as there is a small chance if the market demanded what I had, that I could push it viral without kickstarter. I do believe that the kickstarter platform has proved itself over the last few months. Multiple projects being pushed over the million dollar barrier, projects spanning from pure hardware to pure software. I think there are plenty of cases where kickstarter should be a last option. You're still preselling product, instead of equity, all while gaining awareness/free publicity while not taking very much risk.
On top of that, with not using kickstarter, you're losing not only the traffic, but the impulse buys. At least a lot of them. At the discounted prices, people jump on bandwagons. For instance, if I see something that has taken off, I will in a lot of cases "back" the project, even projects where I didn't think I wanted or needed before logging on to kickstarter.
I agree with you in theory that kickstarter isn't a place to shop, but in practice it appears that offering 0 marginal cost rewards (e.g. software, videos, early access, media, etc...) at low tiers is a very successful strategy.
You're right that the tiers can't change much now, but the way it was structured and worded is indeed discouraging. I know I was certainly discouraged as a result, and I'm currently on the fence as to whether to contribute now or wait and see how it turns out. If this project doesn't succeed in making it's goal I would really recommend looking at the more successful software projects in detail and notice how they go out of their way to message and recognize backers in a way that makes them feel like their genuinely contributing, even if only in spirit, and orient their rewards accordingly. Adding buttons, logo stickers, t-shirts, posters, etc. are the kind of things that a community of supporters will desire and from what I've seen so far, go a long way in encouraging larger donations.
edit: removing suggestion to rollup rewards due to their potential for complicating things.
I must admit that I'm having a really hard time justifying donating to this project, if it really will be pay-what-you-want when it's released.
Looking at the kickstarter page, it looks like you're completely missing out on the low tier donations that many other kickstarter projects get the most money from
FYI, no data to base off, just guessing, hence the words "think", "would" in my post you're replying to.
But $50 is a pretty high bet in this case, and I would bet that I am not the only one in the described situation...
"Kickstarter isn’t charity: we champion exchanges that are a mix of commerce and patronage, and the numbers bear this out."
Kickstarters are a bet: I expect 50% of them to succeed, so I have to be able to extract double the backing value per project for it to be worth backing.
I'm obviously not the only one, which is why the $15 price point is so effective..
This looks like such a cool idea. I think their primary concern must be to release a basic thing out first and then iterate over it. This way they will get both contributions and the product going.
Decide what your design goals are, define what code and quality goes in and out of your repo. Build something basic, release it and then iterate. Contributions and donations will follow. But if you are expecting mass adoption for a tool designed primarily for Clojure then, Clojure itself is in low adoption stage now. On top of that people who use clojure wanting to use will be fewer(Emacs + Slime really works well). So the initial payment model with only Clojure support may not bring them much money. This definitely has to be a platform like Emacs. And then the money can come from upgrades, major revisions.
Also it would have been nice if language used to extend this was Clojure itself.
We desperately need some modern GUI candy on an Emacs like editor which can be extensible by Lisp.
While in an ideal world, things like this could be free, in reality, the amount of time, effort, and people involved to build it in the time frame we're all wanting this means they need money and I'm not sure having rewards for $15 is going to accomplish that. That's the unfortunate reality of what is wanted, and what it takes to actually get there. :\
I know that a game and IDE are not directly comparable, but they do have some things in common: 0 marginal cost and expensive to implement due to skilled labor requirement.
However, neither do what Light Table does. I'm also certain that there will be plugins for practically every language with a REPL, given enough time and the fact that it's open source.
A high goal on Kickstarter /is like a high price/ and seems to trigger similar supporter/customer behavior.
When I saw the Light Table video on HN I flipped out. I want this! But when I saw this campaign something cooled my jets. I'm not sure I'd pay $50 if it was for sale right now. If I'm supporting its creation, and speculating at that, I need a more alluring price and/or a story that makes me forget about all price concerns.
If I were the creator, I'd seriously consider pay-what-you-want.
In this case, it's not a matter of presumption, it's a matter of knowing the reality of what is involved in actually building this thing.
Edit: I did't mean to suggest the goal is unreasonable or unattainable. I was just trying to explain the not-positive reaction I had to seeing it. Like shopping, not all price reactions are logical.
Saying "license" looks non-free. I guess it includes the closed-source plug-ins (?). Good to clarify.
For what it's worth, I agree, especially on the t-shirt. I stopped reading after $20 because (a) I sure as heck don't want a tshirt and figured everything else would include it, but that doesn't matter because (b) I have no desire to "invest" more.
That's obvious: Include a full copy of the product at that level. Call it "no support" or something, but if you're going to be doing pay-what-you-want, then go ahead and start now.
I think playing with support options or possibly upgrade paths ($20 get you free upgrades for 1 year, $50 gets you free upgrades for 2 years or somehting) might be a solution...though I'm not sure myself.
Being able to only pay the difference when buying a licence is another option.
The only tier, apart from a 15$ software tier(as its been standard), that would make sense to me personally(and financially) would be an option to vote on what language he creates support for first(after he's done with the initial Clojure version).
$200k: JS and Clojure
$250k: JS, Clojure and C
$300k: JS, Clojure, C and ...
It seems like it might be particularly well suited for HTML5/CSS3 development as well, since it runs in a browser, and that would be great to have.