I believe in Schuyler Towne.
I believe in him enough that I spontaneously decided he needed a classy intro at his DEFCON 19 appearance last year.
And I believe in him enough that last week I announced I was heading up a board of folks to close out his failed kickstarter.
If you don’t know Schuyler, he is one of the most engaging and interesting people I’ve met. He’s well spoken, he’s talented in the world of locks, lockpicking and historical knowledge about both, and he’s done some amazing things.
In 2010, he announced a kickstarter to fund the making of some picks. He asked for $6,000. He got $87,000. This should have heralded a wild success. But, as some people know and now you do too, it did not.
Schuyler quit his job to finish the project full-time, and spiraled into a terrible mess, one which has ended with him checked for periods of time in a mental hospital, taking meds, and ultimately losing his apartment as of the end of this month, August 2012.
Some percentage of the kickstarter rewards have been bought, the photos of which are here. He capitulated and has let this multi-member board take over the process, and after the inventory that has gone on, the next step is to ship what Schuyler does have out to his backers.
These are T-shirts, practice locks, cases for the to-be-made picks, as well as other similar items. They’ve been bought, they’re made, they’re sitting in his home with him catatonic over the fact he can’t send out complete packages.
We’re ice-breaking this, and sending out everything he does have, to get them out of his house and into the hands of people who paid into the kickstarter.
Another set of people within the board are working to get those picks made. They’re dropping money to help that happen, so that ultimately this project can be closed out.
To do this, I am going to travel to Boston and personally mail out all the rewards in his possession to the people who are owed them. To do this, I am going to spend a few thousand dollars.
This is not money I would prefer to spend, but as I said, I believe in Schuyler. He is seeking employment and hopes to pay me back down the line. He loses his home at the end of the month and is moving in with his parents, seeking help and insurance to pay for his medications. He is in bad shape. I hope he comes out of it well. Until then, I want this weight, this miserable weight, off his shoulders so he can heal.
It’s significant cash. It’s money I really can’t just pop out of thin air.
Therefore, for a short time to come, I am going to gear ALL proceeds from the sales of my documentaries into paying for Schuyler’s postage. If you want to contribute money towards this endeavor, then please consider buying one of my films.
I made two great documentaries on computer history, and if you buy them, you get some real nice stuff, as that page shows. So you’re not just doing a donation, you’re getting something – it’s me who’s choosing to dump this money into postage.
Because, again, I want this kid back on his feet. It was slightly different circumstances, but I started a business in 1995, an ISP, that went south quick and ended with me owing thousands in debt. I got a job, paid everyone off, but until then I was wrecked. I know the feeling.
If you’re inspired to do a straight donation, I’m up for that as well – write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every penny goes to this postage bill. If you’ve enjoyed his videos or his presentations, then this would really help things.
That’s all. Thank you.
This funding drive continues to August 25th, 2012.