Look for landscape shifts!! An approach to coming up with ideas for a product or business. I'm Solomon, a value proposition design and DIY wizard. AMA

Solomon Tibebu
Nov 10, 2017

A landscape shift is an event that changes the path of least resistance in an economic environment. This event creates an opportunity for new propositions that provide substantially better value to consumers with existing problems or offer solutions to new problems caused by the shift.

Ex:  Smartphone use is rising to a symbiotic level. This "event" has created a shifted landscape in a number of categories. OLD Problem - A new proposition like hail a ride from anywhere (Uber) offers substantially better value to consumers (riders).

NEW Problem - Vision is deteriorating at a faster rate among children due to heavy smartphone use. (This problem did not exist before the event) A filtered screen protector might offer a solution in this new landscape.

CROWDFUNDING - Check out my live Kickstarter campaign, Cicada Chips, and AMA; the good, the bad, the ugly.


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Do you have a YouTube channel of all your DIY? 

Nov 10, 8:00AM EST0

At the moment, no. But that's a great way to show people behind the scenes work.

You brought up a challenge that some entrepreneurs have, which is stepping out of the "lab" and interacting with potential customers in order to become better at sales. I think a lot of entrepreneurs, including myself, spend a lot of time working on the technical aspects of an idea and forget that sales should be an integral part of the product development process. 

Nov 10, 10:40AM EST0

What is your core value as far as business is concerned?

Nov 10, 6:28AM EST0

Fantastic question James!

Be different!

I'm a firm believer in innovation and creativity, in any capacity. Coming up with a novel idea/premise for a product or service is the single most important thing an entrepreneur can do to help themselves create a competitive advantage. This foundation is the hardest thing to change once development is underway.

Nov 10, 10:53AM EST0
Show all 5 replies

Could you team up with companies who are in the same field or similar in order to offer incentives or rewards to users?

Nov 9, 10:19AM EST0

Yes and no. You can do some creative cross promotion or collaborations but you have to be careful with your approach. Crowdfunding is NOT a portal to simply resell products; you have to actually be the one who is making the goods. 

For example, you cannot "partner" with Nike to offer your backers shoes because you are making innovative pairs of socks.

Here is more about prohibited items on Kickstarter:


Last edited @ Nov 10, 3:27AM EST.
Nov 10, 3:27AM EST0

How many crowdfunding campaigns are allowed per cause/project?

Nov 9, 9:13AM EST0

If you mean does a website like Kickstarter limit the number of projects it allows for a particular category, then the answer is no. There is no restriction on the number of projects you could launch as a creator OR the number of projects the site can host.

Nov 10, 3:18AM EST0

What's with crowdfunding that made you choose it as a platform to promote your cause?

Nov 9, 9:01AM EST0

Crowdfunding can be a great option to present your product/cause to a larger number of people in a very short amount of time. So, the main reason is the number of people you could potentially reach in just a few days. 

Nov 10, 3:20AM EST0

you can contact an experienced business person.

Nov 9, 4:49AM EST0

Yes, learning from others is always great and sometimes easier. But learning for yourself gives you the freedom to make mistakes and to be accountable for those mistakes. This will make you a resilient, knowledgeable, and confident entrepreneur in the long run; i.e. "an experienced business person."

Nov 10, 3:15AM EST0

What are your back-up plans if your crowdfunding campaign fails?

Nov 9, 2:51AM EST0

Another great question!

While fleshing out the business model canvas for Cicada Chips, it was crucial that the product had multiple uses and multiple industries to serve. So, if we determine that crowdfunding fails because consumers simply do not want the product, then I will move on to leveraging the patent to offer the different lines of the product to different customer segments. (gaming chips to casinos and card protectors to poker tournament players).

Check out Strategyzer for more on the Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model Canvas.

Last edited @ Nov 10, 3:08AM EST.
Nov 10, 3:07AM EST0

How quickly do you need your money?

Nov 8, 10:23PM EST0

Being able to fund manufacturing costs with pre-orders in less than 60 days would be great! But I want to make sure that customers (fidgeters, casinos, and card players) are interested in the product and that there is enough feedback to justify moving on to manufacturing; in other words, product-market fit. Building a product no one wants would make for a bad business : )

Nov 10, 2:58AM EST0

How long do you think it would take for this crowdfunding campaign to attain the goals you have?

Nov 8, 9:26PM EST0

Well, with the right amount of traffic, this campaign should reach its goal in less than a week. We actually have great conversion rates; more than 18% of the people that view the site turn into backers. But the problem is sustaining enough traffic which goes to a lack of adequate or effective advertising along with too many projects competing for the attention of backers.

Nov 10, 2:52AM EST0

How would you feel if this crowdfunding campaign doesn't meet your expectations?

Nov 8, 6:44PM EST0

I have learned, over the past couple of years, to take emotion out of it and be an entrepreneur.  If the crowdfunding doesn't meet my expectations, all that means is something is not working. The task is to quickly find out what that something is and pivot!

The campaign has already underperformed and I've looked at the data as well as feedback from backers to make changes for a relaunch.

Note that sometimes the problem is just the product/premise you are offering in the first place. In this case, the pivot that needs to be made is to simply throw the venture out and morph/move on to something else that will work.

Nov 10, 2:48AM EST0

Have you approached any famous people or other influencers to use your product and market in this way?

Nov 8, 6:19PM EST0

Not quite, but I am approaching many influencers through social media at the moment. As you can imagine, a challenging task.

Nov 10, 2:40AM EST0

Do crowdfunding sites ensure the campaign's intentions are pure?

Nov 8, 2:44PM EST0

Not exactly. This is a topic of much debate recently as many campaigns have had questionable execution with nothing delivered to their backers. 

Crowdfunding sites do review projects before they launch but it is up to the person providing funds to gauge the ability of the creator to deliver on their promise. Do they have pictures? are they in the video?Did they connect their social media? Do they have the pedigree and skills to build the product? does there seem to be significant effort on the part of the creators? etc.

Nov 10, 2:37AM EST0

I really love the idea, concept & look of what you're doing, but it doesn't excite me as much as other things - this could be a major factor for you to look into - buyer/consumer psychology in relation to your idea?

Nov 8, 2:41PM EST0

Yes, this is an excellent point and feedback!! Thank you!

If you love the idea but are not excited about the presentation, then I have simply failed to provide content that does and present it in a way that is entertaining. Keep in mind, however, that I want to position the product as intelligent and having depth, not a toy. 

With that said, I invite you to take a look at our relaunch in a couple of weeks with a completely revamped advertising campaign. This will most likely be thru another crowdfunding portal.

Nov 10, 2:32AM EST0

Where did you find out about the concept of crowdfunding?

Nov 8, 2:25PM EST0

I came across crowdfunding back in 2012 while watching an episode of Dragon's Den; the show preceding Shark Tank in Canada. 

(Remember that crowdfunding is only a tool for getting sales and should not affect your ideation process; let the idea/premise of your product dictate how you bring it to market. In other words, don't build products solely because you think they would be great for crowdfunding)

Nov 10, 2:27AM EST0

Have you considered trying to make a viral video on YouTube to gain followers and investors?

Nov 8, 2:24PM EST0

Yes, actually I have! We are relaunching the campaign in a couple of weeks but with completely revamped advertising campaigns! From provocative to visually stunning, my team is creating print and video ads that will entertain and inform consumers!  Check out this book by Thames & Hudson; fantastic read, we took some important lessons from it.

Nov 10, 2:19AM EST0

Do you think that maybe your idea is just missing a bit of the fun factor?

Nov 8, 12:20PM EST0

Tamara, this is a great question!

It brings up the subject of perception, brand positioning, and marketing tactics. 

Fidgeting is not something you do, it is something you do while...; thus, it is a background activity that should fade out. I have tried to stress this point and use it to differentiate from spinners by taking a more cerebral approach. But, we could have shown the fun in learning the tricks and using the product in various scenarios. If you did not like or get excited about the product, then we have simply failed in our marketing and will pivot accordingly.

Thanks for your feedback!

Nov 10, 2:10AM EST0

What are other effective platforms for launching campaigns aside from crowdfunding sites?

Nov 8, 12:04PM EST0

The challenge is audience/traffic. Crowdfunding has an audience but traffic to a project is competitive. In the modern world, you could leverage social media to gain significant traffic to your website; showcasing compelling content in order to convert that traffic into sales is a different question. 

I would suggest honing your marketing acumen, your social media prowess, creating compelling campaigns, and driving traffic to your own website.

Nov 10, 1:58AM EST0

How will your intellectual property be protected?

Nov 8, 11:55AM EST0

Ivy, the intellectual property mainly includes a provisional patent application based on mechanical and electromechanical functional claims.

However, the scope of the patent extends much further than one example of it (Cicada Chips). If accepted by USPTO examiners, the patent will prohibit anyone else from making/marketing gaming chips that are mechanically or electromechanically functional. The patent also extends into collectibles, commemorative coins, faux currency, card protectors, and fidgets in the form of a chip.

Nov 10, 1:48AM EST0

How difficult it is to raise funds through crowdfunding sites compared to traditional fundraisers?

Nov 8, 11:54AM EST0

Great question Faye!

In short, it is difficult and has become a marketing challenge again!

The demand & supply ratio for crowdfunding has changed in the past few years. A few years ago, a product could launch on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and have thousands of views for their idea and all they have to do is showcase a great product with a great story to raise a significant amount of money. The demand for projects relative to the supply of projects was high! This convenience is why projects paid a fee to the crowdfunding sites if they get funded.

Now, crowdfunding sites host too many projects. The supply of projects in relation to the demand from consumers is high; the capital from backers is spread thinly over a large number of projects. Thus, projects have to compete for attention from backers by making significant efforts in marketing. Avoiding this task was the reason why they went to Kickstarter in the first place! 

So, if crowdfunding sites don't put a limit on the number of projects they accept, they may soon become obsolete. 

Nov 10, 1:42AM EST0

Do you need advice or connections?

Nov 8, 11:37AM EST0

Advice is great when combined with the willingness to learn for yourself and trust your own intuition. Networking and connections are also vital; so yes, more of both would be great!

Nov 10, 1:22AM EST0

How different do you feel your concept is compared to anything else out there right now?

Nov 8, 11:31AM EST0

Cicada Chips are different from other fidget products on the market in the following ways:

  • Foundation. Where it comes from; poker. Fidgeting from this world should give me credibility at least by association. ("if it works for them, it'll work for you"). Most fidgets are random creations with NO story to tell their customers!
  • Mobility. Most, if not all fidgets are bulky or odd shaped and difficult to carry. Up to three Cicadas fit flat in your pocket.
  • Versatility. You can fidget with 1, 2-4, or 6-8 chips for various scenarios and difficulties.
  • Scope. Cicadas are the only fidgets that are not just fidgets. There is a bigger picture that I think consumers will appreciate. There will be three product lines - Fidget, Gaming Chips, and Card Protectors.
Nov 10, 1:19AM EST0

When and how did you think of this idea?

Nov 8, 11:16AM EST0

The idea actually came to me during a poker game late 2016! Fidget cubes and spinners were everywhere and even though they seemed to be a fad, they were valid products that highlighted a long-existing market usually served by stress balls and desk toys.

There is no place where fidgeting is as rampant than a poker table. So, the idea was to redesign the chip for fidgeting purposes and market it to consumers leveraging the credibility of the world it comes from. If presented effectively, a unique origin and story should give a product competitive advantage; this is yet to be validated.

Nov 10, 12:58AM EST0

Would you say that perhaps people need to see your idea from a new or different perspective?

Nov 8, 11:10AM EST0

Yes, strategy for marketing and presenting an idea is a challenge and a skill I'm actively working on. From the beginning, I believed in the premise that a fidget having a purpose bigger than itself will give it a stronger foundation as a product (a fidget chip that is also a functional casino gaming chip). That premise is yet to be validated.

If the presentation of my product has not enticed, informed, or excited you, then it is a data point I will take into account in order to pivot our marketing strategy.

Last edited @ Nov 10, 12:48AM EST.
Nov 10, 12:34AM EST0
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