PRODUCTHEAD: A deep dive into crowdfunding

PRODUCTHEAD: A deep dive into crowdfunding

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

product babies #

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


“First comes the crowd, then comes the funding.” — Brad Guigar

Done well, a crowdfunding campaign helps with market validation and publicity, as well as raising cash

Make sure you repay your campaign backers’ loyalty, faith, and patience


There is a certain type of product manager who, after working for other people for a while, boldly embarks on their own venture. Whether or not they succeed with their own product idea, they always learn a great deal from the experience.

These budding entrepreneurs often encounter a steep learning curve on funding, unless they happen to have worked as product managers for early stage startups. In more established technology companies, fundraising tends to be handled mainly by the senior exec and finance teams.

Of the many methods for funding your venture, you might have encountered crowdfunding only as a backer. The example most people tend to remember is Pebble, whose funding campaigns for subsequent generations of their e-paper watches were each among the most successful on Kickstarter.

The epilogue to Pebble’s story is one of hubris. Founder Eric Migicovsky turned down a $740 million offer from Japanese watchmaker Citizen in 2015 (Apple Watch launched in 2014, remember) and a $70 million offer from Intel, only to end up selling to Fitbit in 2016 for less than $40 million. Careless.

Crowdfunding offers benefits other than simply hard cash. We often talk about the need to figure out whether we’ve achieved product-market fit. One of the key indications you’ve attained some degree of product-market fit is that people are clamouring for you to sell them your product to address their urgent need.

The success or otherwise of a crowdfunding campaign would give you a reasonable indication of whether enough people will part with hard cash for your product idea.

For you this week #

The main article I’ve included for you this week is a deep dive into crowdfunding and beyond by Glenn Fleishman, who spent several years helping author Marcin Wichary bring to fruition a Kickstarter campaign for his massive tome on the history of keyboards. (Shift Happens. Ha!)

Also this week, Stripe has a useful and clear guide to the various forms of crowdfunding campaign, and CEO of Product School Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia talks about how to crowdfund your product from the perspective of a product manager.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

How we crowdfunded $750,000 for a giant book about keyboard history

The book project Shift Happens raised over $750,000 via crowdfunding on Kickstarter in February 2023. Author Marcin Wichary hired me six years ago — first as editor and later adding the role of project manager — for this sprawling enterprise. People have asked us since: how did you raise such a huge sum for a book? A book on keyboards?! And it’s 1,216 pages long?!?

“The best time to start work on your crowdfunding campaign is five years ago.”

[Glenn Fleishman / Medium]

Four types of crowdfunding for startups – and how to choose one

Crowdfunding stands out for its versatility and reach, allowing entrepreneurs to raise funds from a broad audience. Aside from securing the necessary financial resources, crowdfunding also helps startups gain valuable market validation, establish a community of early supporters and build an exciting engagement platform for potential customers, early adopters and even investors.

Securing funding without the institutional investors


Side project success: how to crowdfund your product

Being a Product Manager means helping great people to build awesome things…but what happens when you want to flex your tech muscles and build something yourself?

Storytelling is a key skill

[Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia / Product Coalition]

recent posts

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Hi Jock,

My product roadmap is not getting the right information across to other people in my company. In particular, my customer success and marketing teams are struggling to plan their work for upcoming product releases. I’m also not sure how I can show my roadmap’s relationship to the half-yearly OKRs we set. How can I improve it?

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Don’t let this discourage you!

Practical tips for breaking into a career in product management

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can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from some kamikaze system administration.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a freelance head of product, product management coach and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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