It’s a New Year, so, as per tradition, in this post we’re going to reflect back a little and look forward a little.
From a purely logistical perspective, 2016 was an incredibly busy year for Crowd Supply — backers placed nearly as many orders in 2016 as in all three of our previous years combined. More important than the number of orders, though, is what people were actually ordering. Overwhelmingly, backers were supporting projects that can be broadly categorized as open hardware, hacker-friendly, and privacy-protecting projects like LimeSDR, The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen, and EOMA68, to name a few.
The trend toward these types of projects wasn’t exactly an accident. At the beginning of 2016, we decided to experiment with focusing on such projects. By the middle of the year, we were convinced. By the end of the year, we’d found a way to put this focus into words: Crowd Supply is home to original, useful, respectful hardware. Original and useful are self explanatory, but what exactly does respectful mean?
In answer to this question, we came up with our Proclamation of User Rights, or PUR. It’s the culmination of a long process of examining what makes us us, surveying our confidants and community, and bouncing ideas off of complete strangers. Between these earnest discussions, there was writing, rewriting, and yet more rewriting. Followed by a revision.
But now, we’re excited to say, we have a version we are ready to share with the rest of the community. So, we’d like to ask for your help. Please, read through the Proclamation and let us know what you think about it. What do you like? Dislike? What’s missing? What should be tightened up and what should be expanded? Please, send us your questions and comments.
One last thing about the Proclamation of User Rights - we didn’t come up with it in a vacuum. We owe our community many thanks, especially the following people who gave a lot of their time, insights, and support during discussions of the PUR: bunnie Huang, Cory Doctorow, Joe Grand, Kit Walsh, Noah Swartz, and Star Simpson.
We’re also excited to announce a major addition to our popular Creator Guide. We’ve added a whole new section for everyone who supports Crowd Supply projects, a guide for backers. With this addition, we’re renaming the document to simply “The Crowd Supply Guide.” The new name is meant to convey how we all use Crowd Supply to build an ecosystem where we all rely on each other to germinate and grow great new ideas.
So, what’s in the new backer section? We’ve added a couple of pages that discuss how you can support projects, and the various protections, policies, and procedures involved in that support. We clarify the differences between crowdfunding pledges, pre-orders, and in-stock orders. We get into the nitty-gritty of shipping, payment types, refunds, and returns. Basically, we’ve taken all the questions we commonly field in correspondence with backers, and collected them on these pages. We hope we’ve answered every question a potential supporter might have. If we’ve missed something, please let us know.