Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

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Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:41 pm

This forum is six months old. A lot has been done, but rusEfi is still pretty much immature. Things are taking a lot of time - and part of the problem is that a lot of part acquiring has to be done and a lot of fine soldering would need to be done. Without the hardware there is not much firmware development and it looks tough about getting more software developers involved. Typical "the chicken or the egg" dilemma is holding us up.

I wonder how much would it simplify things if we would offer a pre-assembled functional board? Getting a completely assembled board looks pretty doable, but it would only be worth the effort if enough of these boards would be manufactured.

This sounds like kickstarter to me.

Now the question would be - what would we need to offer on kickstarter exactly?
Just a fully assembled Frankenstein (no stm32, no power supply)?
A fully assembled Frankenstein with an addition of power supply?
A full board, with power supply and stm32 chip?

How much money would sound right for a fully assembled board, let's say the Fully assembled Frankenstein?

Just to be clear - this would be a project for a development platform. Part of the reason for it would be attracting interest of people who can contribute to the firmware. With me alone doing 75% of the coding it would take some time till we get a perfect firmware.

With kickstarted you can also set different contribution levels. Maybe one of the levels would include a donation towards hiring some software development help?

If such a kickstarter project would be created, who would be ready to post about it on his local forum?

What would be a reason NOT to do it kickstarter way?
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by hasse.69 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:05 pm

YES.
I mean yes.
Is your thoughts , that it should be everything on one board.
Hence the free samples of STM32F4 ie , Franki0ne board.
I´m in.
:mrgreen:
//Hasse.

Ps i think it´s sad that so much is going on in the russian speaking part.
Don´t say google translate i´ve tried it and it´s gibberish.Ds
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:09 pm

www.rosettastone.com/

Just kidding :)
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by kb1gtt » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:20 am

Kickstarter offers a couple features of interest. Probably the most interesting is the advertisement and outreach. The entire thing where they collect pledges then if you pass you get $ up front instead of later, can also be handy if you don't have enough working capital. I seem to recall hardware based kickstarter projects are typically on the order of $10k to $50k. I think we are much lower than that. Out of curiosity, If we did round 2 of the Frankenstein board and if we got say 10 boards from one of these china proto places, how much would that cost? I think we are under $1k, and each board would be under $100. Do we think we can find 10 people that would want the board, and do we think they will pay $100-ish for the board? If so, then how much working capital do we need?

I would put in for a board that costs around $100 and includes the stuff in Frankenstein. I would add the blue power supply as an solder it in yourself option, and I would make some more offerings for how you can connect to the board. Basically, offer it with screw terminals or a harness connector if you prefer. The thru hole soldering is something that can be done easily, either for a small fee by one of use, or by a DIYer. Sounds like hasse.69 is also a thumbs up for such a board, and I'm sure russian is good. So can we get 7 more people interested?

I say we should add options for domestically installed e-bay power supply, domestically installed discovery and domestically installed connector(s). We should add a couple more circuits, like the A4988 Pololu stepper motor driver and a couple dedicated input circuits like MAP, as well the CAN module. That should be relatively small work, and you have validating most of the critical circuits, or have validated on individual boards.
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by sturovo » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:13 pm

I am very interested in getting populated boards. Count me in for 3.
Without the hardware there is not much firmware development and it looks tough about getting more software developers involved.

If you book them they will come!

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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by kb1gtt » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:13 am

Welcome to the friendlier side of internet crazy :)

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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:33 pm

That's a useful video, thank you Jared!

So I am still hesitating between two different scenarios:
option #1: fully assembled Frankenstein as a kickstarter project. Pros: these would be cheaper, $99 fully assembled, less effort to make this happen. Cons: this would further away from a real ECU because this is still just a discovery shield.

option #2: project Golem: that's a board with an stm32 chip on it and probably with power supply. Probably still without a case or a connector. Pros: closer to a real ECU. Cons: this is a much larger effort and I am not sure if I am ready to sign up for something this big right now, I need a break from hardware development. Such a board would be more expensive, closer to $150.
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by blundar » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:14 am

IMHO, I would wait.

Kickstarter IMHO is most useful for advertising. It's useful for taking something that is ALMOST a product and reaching a much broader audience with it than would be possible otherwise without a HUGE advertising budget. Coupled with a social media campaign and maybe some targeted google ads... Pretty powerful.

rusefi is at the "tinker toy" stage. (no insult intended.) You can do useful things with it, but it's still more of a platform for further development and for people to mess with rather than as a product to purchase for solving a problem (engine management). When things are further along and you have something that is closer to a marketable product (i.e. on par with MegaSquirt in terms of firmware stability (ha), userspace software and DOCUMENTATION) then I would turn to kickstarter at that point as a way of funding paid development / quitting the dayjob to develop rusefi by selling lots of units that more closely resemble a product and are appealing to a much broader audience. The number of people who want a DIY standalone to run a car outnumber the number of people who want to develop a standalone 10:1 easily.

This is just my humble opinion.

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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:20 am

Technically nothing stops me from having two separate kickstarter campaigns - a smaller one marking the board as just a development platform now, and another one marking a more-or-less an ECU.

It could be beneficial to get the boards to more developers. Technically if that would be a small run I can simply solder all them by myself, the way I am currently soldering one for Canada and one for Slovakia.
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by kb1gtt » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:20 am

If we are dealing with getting like 10 boards developed, why would we need to pay kickstarter and such that 13% or what ever it end up being? I think we can simply do it. Unless your goal is to try kickstarter and get a feel for the process. However if we go for say 10 boards at say $100 each, that's $1k, and $130 or so for kickstarter. Is it worth paying kickstarter to learn the process? Perhaps the last item to note, is that kickstarter doesn't have a maximum. If it blows up, you have to provide even if it's only a dev board.
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:56 pm

Is not it more like 8%?

People who are already here would buy the assembled board from https://www.tindie.com/products/russian ... cu-shield/ - two of them just did. I guess kickstarter would earn $80 for the publicity - if they bring in 10 real users, it's totally worth it.

If this thing somehow blows up and I get 300 orders... Then the Chinese would be happy to assemble 300 boards.
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by kb1gtt » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:49 pm

I believe kickstarter is 8%, then the credit card transaction company charges something like 3%, but that varies based on where you are. It may be free here in the states.

Ah, I see new people would buy via kickstarter, existing via the normal mechanism.
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:00 am

http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter- ... ject-page/
You add your final reward level and submit the project to Kickstarter.
Then you wait.
And wait.
And wait.
Not that Kickstarter is particularly slow–2-5 days isn’t a long time to wait for approval. But by that point when you’re mentally prepared to launch, those 2-5 days can feel like eternity.
This guy has a point here :)
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:42 pm

Here we go:
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by puff » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:52 pm

congrats! however, could be better (production level -video/sound). It seems kickstarter used to somewhat more global projects - final product in the end, not just improved functionality?

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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by puff » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:57 pm

btw, what does it mean?
This project will only be funded if at least $5,000 is pledged by Sun, Apr 27 2014 11:41 PM MSK.
?

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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by Rocketman » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:13 am

I would have no problem soldering together 10x boards, soldering is therapeutic to me :D
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by AndreyB » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:23 pm

I've got a complaint that the audio in this video is too quiet. I would appreciate if someone can make the vid louder? The mp4 file is at http://rusefi.com/temp/ks_firmware.mp4
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Re: Crowdfunding? Thoughts?

Post by kb1gtt » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:39 pm

Have you found Audacity? Also for merging and such nandub is handy for spitting and merging files. If you have Linux, openshot is also good.
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