In a matter of just 24 hours, Casey Hopkins pulled in over $165,350 with a little help from some 1,784 Kickstarter backers who invested in The Elevation Dock, an iPhone charging station he machined from a solid piece of aircraft-grade aluminum. With 57 days still to go, Hopkins has pushed past 408% of his original funding goal. That's impressive.
What exactly has Portland-based Elevation Lab done with an iPhone dock that caused such an overnight feeding frenzy from what has now amounted to some 3,200 backers forking over $59 to $79 each on a product prototype? I'm convinced it's partly the result of a compelling story founder Casey Hopkins tells in his short product video that identifies a frustrating problem common to many iPhone owners who utilize a dock.
He also lifted the veil on his back-end process, comparing both his minimal design and gorgeous finish to the way Apple manufactures their unibody MacBook Pros. Bingo! Casey then honed in on the ease of docking and undocking with or without a case. That feature relies on a support pad that can be flipped around inside his Elevation Dock to accommodate a variety of case sizes.
The art of storytelling is what makes this product appear so desirable. Getting an endorsement out of the gate from Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, didn't hurt either. But $60 is still a hefty price to pay for an item that for the most part is totally unnecessary. That's why Hopkins ensured that potential customers see the value of his slick precision dock integrated into a users daily life.
"It's perfect for your stereo, especially with the line level audio output and the acoustics make it perfect for FaceTime calls." Hopkins said in his video demo.
"And it works phenomenal as a bedroom charger, much better than having to fumble around for the chord."
Bazing! The money shot in his video shows an iPhone docked on a nightstand using an alarm clock app with no fumbling required, just as Casey promised and "undocking is a breeze". That's it! I'm sold!
But wait a minute. Even when I apply Apple's 30-pin connector by hand the connection never feels like "a breeze" to me. There's always a tad bit of maneuvering required to get that thing inserted just right. Is it possible that Elevation Lab has managed to take the tug out of undocking an iPhone? Or the need for having accurate aim when docking? There's really no way to be certain since the video fails to show the inside or rear of the dock. The minor miracle of a low-friction iPhone connection is yet to be seen when this wonder dock starts shipping in Spring of next year.
One thing I do know for certain is that The Elevation Dock is a design of unparalleled beauty and simplicity that has resonated with a gang of iPhone owners who will not hesitate to invest in a premium accessory if it delivers on its promise. At least 106 backers so far have opted in for the $250 MultiPak option which includes 3 docks with one of those being a limited edition release. It's practically a work of art.
"I can't tell you how many people said this was a bad idea, it didn't make sense, who would want that, yada yada," Hopkins posted in a Kickstarter update. "To that I just say: trust your gut, make things you would want for yourself, and put yourself out there."
Casey Hopkins claims that his epic dock is "by far the fastest growth of any KickStarter project to date." I dare not disagree. There's something to be said for that kind of demand around a third party iPhone accessory that's still 4 months away from shipping and being aggressively funded right in the middle of an economic recession. Go figure!
But rather than jumping in as an early adopter on The Elevation Dock, I'm going to hold out and wait for a hands-on experience with this little iPhone juggernaut up close and personal before buying into the frenzy. Somebody has to.