Book Review: It Will Be Exhilarating

Simply put, ‘It Will Be Exhilirating’ is the story of how Dan ‘The Russians Used a Pencil’ Provost and Thomas Gerhardt launched Studio Neat. Studio Neat has to date created two products: the Glif – a stand/tripod mount for the iPhone – and the Cosmonaut – an iPad stylus designed to feel like a whiteboard marker.

Overall this book is a fascinating insight into the thinking and details that went into launching a Kickstarter campaign and eventually growing that into a successful company. The book is available in two versions – an eBook (for $5) and an online version (free).

The first half of the campaign deals mostly with the changing dynamics of using Kickstarter to launch a company instead of going the traditional venture capital route. The authors call this ‘Indie Capitalism’ – I find this to be a slighly premature notion given the fact that Kickstarter is pretty much your only option if you’re willing to go this route. In any case, the book tells the story of how the authors created their two Kickstarter campaigns and offers advice for those interested in doing something similar.

Practical advice is a continuous theme throughout the book (and one I really enjoyed) – for example, the following is a snippet in the section on creating the video for your Kickstarter campaign: “If you are not comfortable in front of a camera, it can be incredibly difficult, but it’s necessary. We found that taking a couple shots of whiskey helps take the edge off.”

The section on business is full of helpful information for those who are looking to become self employed – patents, bookkeeping, accounting, customer service – all covered. The book doesn’t go into any kind of detail, but it definitely gives you enough information to start researching on your own. If you’re interested in building a physical product this book should really hit home with you – there is a chapter decicated to manufacturing and even a discussion of the tradeoffs regarding outsourcing production to China.

There is some great, practical advice on promoting your product, including reaching out to bloggers as well as some light analysis on the different advertising platforms. Again, the book doesn’t go into great detail, but it’s an excellent starting point. On a side note, writing a book about your experience with creating a product and starting a company is probably one of the best possible forms of promotion – having a behind-the-scenes look at the product makes the readers feel connected.

Overall the book is an excellent read and is sure to serve as a boost of energy for those interested in launching their own product or startup. Happy coding.