Update: Even though they haven’t taken any of these ideas (c’mon guys, I wasn’t going to charge you for my intelectual property) Canonical people is very active looking for ways to promote founders participation. Now you can compete for your own Ubuntu Edge, you just have to get a bunch of referrals to fund the project. So just Click here to contribute to Ubuntu Edge!!! and spread the word about it.
Even though there might be a couple of things I don’t like about Canonical (remember the Amazon affair and the Shuttleworth’s we have root unfortunate answer) I do have to admit that they are very good at taking chances and pushing the envelope.
And now they did it again. They are crowd-funding a high-end mobile phone, called Ubuntu-edge, and they are expecting to raise no less than 32 million dollars in barely a month.
And, most surprisingly, they had a hell of a good start.
BTW, here’s a widget you can include on your blog to see how far is Canonical from raising the 32 million.
Just in the first 24 hrs, they managed to surpass the ten percent of the ambitious goal they settled for. That is more than 3 million dollars in just one day.
By the way, this kind of figures makes me wonder if Linux presence in the desktop is really so irrelevant as we tend to think.
But, even though I don’t want to sound pessimistic, I think it will be pretty hard for Canonical to achieve this goal with the current options available for supporters.
Let’s have a look at how this funding is composed, just after a day and a half from launching the campaign:
So we can see that most of the funding, came from the early adopters that even saw a substantial benefit in being one (a U$S 230 discount, in fact)
The second and third groups are those buying the Ubuntu Edge at U$S 830 and those buying a pair of them at U$S 700 each.
Obviously, the importance of the early adopter platoon will decrease with time (given that option is no longer available) but what I’d like to highlight is that the strong part of the support come from people expecting to get something in return
Surprise! people don’t seem to be willing to give their money away for free just to have some wealthy fellow have their super-deluxe Ubuntu mobile phone. On the contrary, and quite as expected, people are willing to put money to get their own Ubuntu Edge.
So I think Canonical should seriously (and quickly!) start to think of some way to encourage people to collaborate with the project.
They already started. The double edge option wasn’t available at the beginning. And in this short time it surpassed all the more altruistic options (the founder and the one of a kind
So here comes a couple of ideas to encourage people to contribute to the project.
1. Give at least some hope to the founders!
This is an easy one. Every founder should participate in a drawing for an Ubuntu Edge.
If the founder contributes with let’s say $ 20, then every 40 founders (that would cover the cost of the device) an Ubuntu Edge should be drawn at random.
Economically speaking, it would be just the same as selling an Ubuntu Edge at $ 830, but it would give some incentive to contribute to those not willing to spend THAT much money.
2. Discount per quantity for resellers
Well, the Double edge option is indeed a good start. But there might be resellers that might consider giving a try to a high end mobile. Maybe buying 10 or 20 devices. There should be some margin for them to make a profit. Perhaps 10 devices at $ 600 each would be fine.
On the other hand, it’s rather nonsense to pretend anybody to buy 100 units with NO BENEFIT AT ALL, perhaps that’s why the enterprise 100 bundle hasn’t seduced a single supporter so far.
3. Discount per quantity for fans
Taking it down up to to five devices at $600 each, for example, would allow not only resellers, but group of fans (Ubuntu user groups might play an interesting role in this) to gather together to save a few bucks. They could also be rewarded with some kind of swag or something.
4. Think about some offer with some other value added
Perhaps some Ubuntu One space + participate in the draw of an Ubuntu Edge combo, or something like that. That is, for $ 40, you would get 20 GB extra space in Ubuntu One (it’s normal price is $ 30) plus participating in the drawing of an Ubuntu Edge.
I can’t think of any other temting service Canonical might have to offer, but you get the idea
5. Involve the community
Ubuntu user groups might have had an important role in fostering this initiative. I think it’s already too late, but perhaps doing some kind of event for developers (like FirefoxOS did), and at the same time spreading the word about this initiative. I think that it’s too late now, but it might be a good idea for next time.
Even though my heart is with FirefoxOS (specially because of Mozilla’s long tradition regarding freedom and respect for users) many of us are willing to see more free software options gain space in the mobile world.
Besides, I’m pretty comfortable with the current Ubuntu desktop experience (yeah, I finally tamed Unity… or perhaps it was the other way round) so Canonical has my vote of confidence for building a similarly rewarding experience in a smartphone.
I just think Canonical really has to put some imagination into it in order to achieve the highly aggressive goal they aimed at.
Well, it seems like Canonical also saw the need to do something to keep the funding flow alive (I doubt they read my article) and came out with new perks to promote funding.
You have 1250 devices for $ 625 available, and then another 1250 at $ 675 and so on, and it seems to be working pretty fine. They are well over the $ 4 million mark by now.
I still hope they implement the drawing of devices for the rest of us…
A nice site showing the evolution of Ubuntu Edge funding: link. Just a couple lines of ruby magic :-)