Open Letter to Kickstarter

In an effort to complete production of our Luminode light switches we recently submitted a project to Kickstarter which they sadly declined to accept.  I wrote the following letter to appeal their decision, but when I went to submit my letter I found that they only allow 500 characters in the appeal.  So instead I am publishing my appeal here on our blog in the form of an open letter to Kickstarter and ask that anyone and everyone to please post a comment to show your support.  And please follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook if you feel so inclined.

Here is my open letter followed by our two videos that we produced for our Kickstarter project.  Thank you for your support!

Dear Kickstarter,

I believe that our project does indeed meet the Kickstarter Project Guidelines and I hope very much that you will reconsider and accept our project.  According to your guidelines, as a technology project we must meet three additional requirements which I believe we do meet.

1) Project - The Luminode is a project that can be completed.  We have working prototypes and are well on our way to completion.  And although it is designed to work with other systems it is also a stand-alone product (well you actually need two to do anything useful).

2) D.I.Y.    -  Although this is a complex project that has spanned years and had various people involved at various stages, it is really my (Stephen’s) brain child and baby.  So far I have funded the project almost exclusively by myself out of my savings while also taking various jobs at various times to help put food on the table while also persuing my dream of building these light switches.  Although I used to work at Microsoft as a software developer 10 years ago (I left in 2002), we are D.I.Y.  This was literally developed in my garage and bedroom for years before moving into a 500 square foot workspace that I needed after selling my house (with garage) to help pay for this venture. I personally wrote the firmware that runs on the Luminodes and the back end learning software.  In addition, on the hardware side, Steve Dame who despite his impressive credentials also works on this out of his garage in his spare time.  We are small players in a very big pond.

3) Form as well as function - Although light switches not may seem stylish, this is a very creative product in this space.  The impact of using this device will streamline home lighting controls and provide a more minimalist, and yes stylish, interface to lighting control and home systems in general.

Aside from also putting a great deal of effort into our Kickstarter project, and that the Luminode seems consistent with many other technology Kickstarter projects, this is my baby.  I have put much of my personal savings into this project and I firmly believe that Kickstarter is the right place for the Luminode.   As much as this is my baby I recognize that Kickstarter is yours and as such I appreciate your continual efforts to protect your image as I protect mine.  There are many people who can vouch (and I hope they do) not only for my personal passion and dedication to this project, but also to the project’s tremendous potential.  Please, I urge you to reconsider!

Sincere thanks!

- Stephen Harris

12 thoughts on “Open Letter to Kickstarter”

  1. This looks like a very cool project! I knew Steve from when he worked at Microsoft back in the 90s. He’s a very smart and passionate person when it comes to technology. I’m anxious to see how this turns out!

  2. Steve, I would expect nothing less than to see you following this dream you have honed over the years. Since our college days, I have found you to be persistent in your thirst for knowledge, I know you to show creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial spirit always in pursuit of exciting things. It’s as if you know what we want before we know it. The videos show this sensory switch is very cool, indeed. Keep up the drive to realize this dream–I fully expect you to disrupt the market with this innovative and very cool sensory light switch! cheers!

  3. I am so glad to see this project coming to fruition, Steve. I recall visiting the R&D labs with you at Microsoft back in the 1990s and was amazed at the work you were doing there. This is so revolutionary, and exactly what Kickstarter supports, I am surprised that they declined it. This is clearly the future of home technology, making things smarter and easier to use, not harder, as some of these thermostats/remotes are. This invention, which will save people money in electric bills, echoes a similar device that my dad patented and used on thermostats to save money. Bravo! Onwards to great success!

    1. Thank you Josh for showing your support! I remember when you and RJ came out and I showed you around the old Microsoft. That was a fun visit, and a long time ago now… I think RJ said he thought the Microsoft campus looked like a “Star Trek pleasure planet”. Funny stuff!

  4. Serving as the Executive Director of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network in the fall of 2010, I was pleased to have the opportunity feature Think Automatic in our “First Look Forum” showcase. At that time, the Luminode prototype had already gone through a few iterations, after years of research, hard work and coding.
    Not everyone understood that this light switch is the entry point to the very sophisticated underlying software and learning algorithm.
    Not everyone realized that the market frustration with home automation is driven by the current model (programming and controls) vs. the Think Automatic model (sensing and learning).
    And I’ll admit that even having screened and coached hundreds and hundreds of startups through my work at the Alliance of Angels, I didn’t grock it immediately.
    But once you get it, you get it. It’s elegant. You know this is the way the world is going. And you want to be a part of it.

    Kickstarter, I hope you take a second look so you can get it too. I hope you realize that this is the kind of opportunity that epitomizes your funding platform for creative projects. But even if you don’t, I know this team, and I know they’ll make it happen.

    Think Automatic, best of luck and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  5. This is the type of project I could get behind and having remodeled my 1972 home from the studs out I know the pain involved in the current market solutions (cost, complexity, limitations). Perhaps you need to “gamify” your system and you will then qualify :) The technology category on KS has a meager 65 enteries and the only one with less is Dance with 55. I hope you reconsider Kickstarter!

  6. Big news and big thanks!! Kickstarter has accepted our appeal and has approved the project! Will keep you posted as we launch very soon! Really appreciate all of your support!

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