$99 Mineserver: The Devil is in the Details

IMG_0734You may recall my three sons ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall for their $99 Mineserver, a multiuser Minecraft server the size of a pack (not a carton) of cigarettes. On the eve of their product finally shipping here’s an update with some lessons for any complex technical project.

At the time we shot the Kickstarter video my kids already had in hand a functional prototype. Everything seen in the video was real and the boys felt that only producing custom cases really stood in the way of shipping. How wrong they were!

First we needed a mobile app to administer the server so we hired an experienced […]

Last chance to get a Mineserver™ for Christmas!

newmineserverlogo.jpgIt took only two days for our three sons to reach their $15,000 Kickstarter funding goal and visions of building a kit car were dancing in their heads. Almost three weeks later, however, total pledges are just nearing $30,000, which puts profits more in the deluxe quadcopter range. Still good, but not a Manx dune buggy. But there is one more day to make your pledge — the only way to get a Mineserver™ or Mineserver Pro™ in time for Christmas.

Along the way we gained the attention of Mojang, owners of Minecraft, who didn’t like our logo so the boys held a contest with the winner (from Hamilton, New Zealand!) getting a […]

The Cringely boys Kickstart Mineserver™, a $99 Minecraft server

When my three sons, ages 13, 11, and 9 decided to do a summer business together I thought it could be almost anything. After all, they’ve visited three dozen tech startups with me in our RV and they’ve been surrounded by technology entrepreneurs their entire lives. What business would it be?

I just never expected a $99 Minecraft server.

It’s brilliant, really. Minecraft is hugely popular but the Minecraft hardware market is almost nonexistent. It’s not that nobody thought to do such a server but that it’s a business idea most entrepreneurs would see as not having legs. It will scale, sure, but will it endure? In a few months someone — no doubt someone in Asia — will copy the idea, […]

Fathers Day 2015

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Fathers Day 2015

The KickStarter Paradox

Among the great business innovations of the Internet era are KickStarter and the many similar crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo. You know how these work: someone wants to introduce a new gizmo or make a film but can only do so if you and I pay in advance with our only rewards being a possible discount on the gizmo or DVD. Oh, and a t-shirt. Never before was there a way to get people — sometimes thousands of people — to pay for stuff not only before it was built but often before the inventors even knew how to build it. From the Pebble smart watch to Veronica Mars, crowdfunding […]