Kickstarter (Profile)

April 13, 2015



Organizational Details

  1. Is the subject of your profile a corporate entity?
    1. Yes.
  2. What type?
    1. Privately held.
  3. When was it founded?
    1. April 28, 2009.
  4. By whom?
    1. Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, Charles Adler
  5. Original founder(s) still active?
    1. Yes, though they’ve hired a lot more people since then!
  6. Publicly Traded? Since when? Initial Stock Price? Current stock price?
    1. Nope, nope, nope.
  7. Has the company made any acquisitions? If yes, which companies, and what were their core products?
    1. Not that we could find.
  8. Has the company made any investments in other companies? If yes, which ones.
    1. Not that we could find.
  9. Number of Employees?
    1. 112 according to their gorgeous team page.
  10. Where is HQ?
    1. Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
  11. Does it have any other offices or locations?
    1. No.
  12. Website?
    1. https://www.kickstarter.com/
  13. Wikipedia?
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kickstarter
  14. Does your organization file any annual reports? Please include links to any relevant documents (i.e. 990, Annual Report, Year in Review, etc…)
    1. We couldn’t find them.


  1. Does your subject participate in social media? If yes, please list a URL for each account, and reach within that community. (i.e. Twitter: @RedHatNews – 61.9K Followers.
    1. https://twitter.com/kickstarter (980K Followers)
    2. https://instagram.com/kickstarter/ (40.7K Followers)
    3. https://www.facebook.com/Kickstarter (1.1M Likes)
    4. https://vine.co/Kickstarter (22.3K Followers)
  2. What communication channels does your subject use to reach their public? Briefly describe and include a URL for each.
    1. The above social media accounts.
    2. Their website
    3. Their company blog
    4. Their engineering blog
    5. Happening
  3. Does your subject organize or participate in any conferences? If so, list them here, and provide links to any relevant sessions, keynotes, or content.
    1. Backing and Hacking
    2. Engineering Meetup
    3. Presence at RubyConf, RailsConf

Community Architecture

Your subject likely runs or contributes to one or more Open Source products or projects. Choose one (or more) of these and answer the following questions:

We chose Pebble the smartwatch, which was funded through Kickstarter.

If applicable, list and provide links to:


  1. Describe the software project, its purpose and goals.
    1. The Pebble smartwatch was created to redefine what a watch can be. It was one of the first smartwatches in existence. It bridges the gap between the information you can get on a watch vs. a phone.
  2. Give brief history of the project. When was the Initial Commit version? The latest commit version?
    1. The first Kickstarter was launched April 11, 2012, with the first watch being shipped in January, 2013. There was a more recent Kickstarter to fund production of a new version of the watch (Pebble Time), which launched on February 24, 2015. The Pebble Time has not been released yet.
  3. Who approves patches hardware revisions? How many people?
    1. Eric Migicovsky, Founder and CEO of Pebble, and inventor of the watch has a big say. According to the company’s LinkedIn page, Itai Vonshak is the Head of Product, while Mark Solomon is the Head of Industrial Design.
  4. Who has commit access, or has had patches accepted? How many total?
    1. Not applicable.
  5. Has there been any turnover in the Core Team? (i.e. has the top 20% of contributors stayed the same over time? If not, how has it changed?)
    1. The original people are all still at the helm.
  6. Does the project have a BDFL, or Lead Developer? (BDFL == Benevolent Dictator for Life)
    1. No, although Eric Migicovsky probably won’t step down anytime soon.
  7. Are the front and back end developers the same people? What is the proportion of each?
    1. Not applicable.
  8. What have been some of the major bugs/problems/issues that have arisen during development? Who is responsible for quality control and bug repair?
    1. Not applicable.
  9. How is the project’s participation trending and why?
    1. Pebble is doing quite swell! The Pebble Time Kickstarter raised about $20 million, which is double the original, which seems to indicate its popularity. Wearables are an exploding technology, which Pebble is a large part of.
  10. In your opinion, does the project pass “The Raptor Test?” (i.e. Would the project survive if the BDFL, or most active contributor were eaten by a Velociraptor?) Why or why not?
    1. Most likely. Because the concept of a smartwatch is already established and the Pebble has many competitors, neither the Pebble itself, nor smartwatches would be in any danger if Mr. Migicovsky were tragically eaten by a reptile of any sort.
  11. In your opinion, would the project survive if the core team, or most active 20% of contributors, were hit by a bus? Why or why not?
    1. Possibly. As previously mentioned, the product already physically exists. It would be devastating to lose the CEO and designers, but since it is so popular, and was crowdfunded, others would probably be able to pick up the (time)pieces.
  12. Does the project have an official “on-boarding” process in place? (new contributor guides, quickstarts, communication leads who focus specifically on newbies, etc…)
    1. See links to developer resources above.
  13. Does the project have Documentation available? Is it extensive? Does it include code examples?
    1. See links to developer resources above.
  14. If you were going to contribute to this project, but ran into trouble or hit blockers, who would you contact, and how?
    1. Well the only real way to contribute would be to fund their next Kickstarter…
  15. Based on these answers, how would you describe the decision making structure/process of this group? Is it hierarchical, consensus building, ruled by a small group, barely contained chaos, or ruled by a single or pair of individuals?
    1. Ruled by a small group for sure.
  16. Is this the kind of structure you would enjoy working in? Why, or why not?
    1. Yes, the innovative mindsets of the Pebble team have given us a cool product which has inspired competition from very large names. Plus, Pebble sounds like a great place to work.

Technology/Product (Section adapted from EFF Worksheet)

  1. Who invented, created, or sponsored the technology?
    1. <wip>
  2. What is the technology designed to do? How is it used?
    1. <wip>
  3. Who would benefit from using this technology?
    1. <wip>
  4. What kinds of companies or organizations (stakeholders) might have been concerned about the development of this technology? Why?
    1. <wip>
  5. Does/Did an aspect of copyright law play a role in controversies about the technology? How?
    1. <wip>

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