You know, sometimes things can get so bad that shame prevents communication.
Think about it. The WigWag folks haven't been taking exotic vacations for the past two years, they've been working as best they can, unfortunately with more delays than clear successes, all the time burning through their money (both from KS backers and internal and external investors).
Some common sayings may be apt:
"The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off to save on the electric bill."
I can well imagine that the WW folks are now spending money only where they expect it will generate a tangible short-term response. I very much doubt the equity owners are taking any salary, and are betting everything (possibly even their homes) on WigWag being at least a minor market success.
"The beatings will continue until morale improves."
There is no pressure worse than self-imposed pressure. Like the self-employed person who knows they work for an asshole. How do you think you would feel after two years with no product shipping, AND with 1500 KS backers nipping at your heels?
The thing is, shame isn't an excuse, not in the "real" business world.
The lack of communication we're experiencing is part of the general set of delays associated with a lack of top-level experience doing the things WigWag is trying to do. These are management failures, not any kind of engineering failure (though engineering is bound to fail without functional management).
Engineers who also are managers tend to fail twice as often, and twice as bad. This is what WigWag appears to be doing. Good management knows when to "shoot the engineers and ship", and knows when "the perfect is the enemy of the good". (Which is why I've been an engineer first, last and always, and have learned to seek, value and support effective management.)
No leader at WigWag has stepped up to take charge of communications, and this is probably true internally as well as externally, since external communications are usually a strict subset of internal communications.
Key roles are being dropped on the floor, as if not sustaining them will somehow magically make the project reach completion sooner and better. In reality, it means more things aren't getting done.
It would seem nobody at WigWag realized early enough that their main resource restriction wasn't money or engineering talent, or even management talent: It's time. Time to market, to be specific.
Wink shipped a pretty rough product at the start. But they got it out the door and on the retail shelf, made some strategic partnerships (including Home Depot and GE), have generated real revenue (though perhaps not a profit, yet), and have been steadily improving/evolving it based on actual user experiences.
It really should have been WigWag instead of Wink. We know Wink is little more than a toy. But Wink clearly realized that capturing the early consumer "mind space" and strategic partnership opportunities mattered far more than shipping a "perfect" product.
WigWag has been engineer-driven, while Wink has clearly been business-driven. Both have been "product-driven", just from two entirely different perspectives. With different results.
Wink's primary weakness (for my needs) is their lack of support for non-trivial IFTTT rules. I'd be willing to bet that within 90 days of WigWag shipping, Wink will totally clone their IFTTT infrastructure, and will list WigWag rules (and hardware) as being "Wink-compatible".
This is what WigWag's lack of effective business-oriented management is yielding. I'm certain every person within WigWag knows it far better than we do.
And that's why they can't bring themselves to talk about it. Too little, too late, but still committed to go to the very end.
They may ship, but the retail market is already well in its way toward becoming a commodity market. Fewer strategic retail partnerships are available (even Staples in getting into IoT and home automation/security). Everyone is pushing complexity "into the cloud" to make it easier to ship simpler components to the consumer.
Let's look at things from another angle: What are WigWag's "Crown Jewels" at this point, if they have any at all? Here's my list:
Commitment to simplified creation and use of complex IFTTT rules. All the higher-level "emergent" behavior we desire from our network of IoT components will come from IFTTT, at least during this generation of IoT. (In the near future, systems will derive rules from our observed behavior and verbal requests.)
Use of 6LowPAN and a commitment to support Thread. The IoT market is realizing that common standards must be used on the lowest IoT layers, both for hardware and basic communication. 6LowPAN is certainly going to be the hardware winner here (alongside low-power WiFi, such as the Digistump Oak/Acorn), combined with Thread (or something very like it) as the lowest-level connectivity protocol.
DeviceJS as the top-level hardware API/protocol (assuming it works as promised). The IoT application-level connectivity layer is still in its "Wild West" stage, and DeviceJS is a rational way to proceed, especially given the need to readily expose tons of functionality to the higher-level IFTTT layer.
What are NOT WitWag's jewels is everything else:
A. The WigWag Sensor. A 32-bit Arduino-clone and a stack of cheap shields can do more for less cost. There's probably already a nice-enough case for something like this on Thingiverse. Plus, the appearance of programmable IoT communication and I/O modules for under $10 means that just about anything can easily be made IoT aware, with little need for integrated hardware (unless it saves money). Integration made most sense two years ago, when radios were expensive: Not any more.
B. The WigWag Relay. The Wink Hub is a good substitute, especially for $50. Now that the Wink Hub has been hacked at the hardware level, I look forward to the WigWag software stack being ported to it. (Which, come to think of it, would be a GREAT way for WigWag to assimilate some of the Wink user base, and leverage the "real" Crown Jewels.)
C. The rest of the WigWag hardware. It's already a commodity market, and WigWag is asking for premium prices.
Clearly, WigWag's software is more important than their hardware. Running it on a Raspberry Pi2 and adding dongles makes more sense than running it anywhere else. But it's the hardware that's holding things up: Software can be updated for free.
So, given all the above, what would you want to talk about, if you were WigWag?
What I'd do is ship the Relay software TODAY, running on a Pi2 with support for a few cheap Arduino-level peripherals (and the WigWag Dev Board), and also on the Wink Hub (!!!). And possibly port the Contiki-based Sensor to the Oak/Acorn with a few peripherals.
WigWag MUST capture its own "mind share" sooner (NOW!) rather than later (as if it isn't already later enough already), and they cannot do it with their own hardware (due to problems with features/cost/schedule).
This would permit the WigWag IFTTT system to get out into the "real world" and kick some serious butt.
But if they do this, what would the revenue model be?
If we assume KS backers will be the main evangelists (and beta testers), I'd recommend selling "node licenses" for $5 each to the rest of the world to run the software, and $1 "endpoint licenses" to install third-party components (lamps, etc.) into the WigWag universe. (It could all be tracked by MAC addresses, sent in hashed form, so a data breach at WigWag won't let anyone access customer hardware.)
Then, when the WigWag hardware finally ships, it can include the node license and "infinite" endpoint licenses. That would add "perceived value" to what is arguably over-priced hardware. But only if the value of "the WigWag System" has already been proven with hundreds or thousands of users.
Hell, if I were Wink, I'd probably jump at the chance to buy $5 licenses to run the WigWag System!
That may be WigWag's "real" market: Make a powerful end-to-end software system, then sell node-locked licenses cheap enough to discourage cloning. Their own hardware can then exist as a premium offering, not intended for the mass market.