[Gta04-owner] Invitation to indicate interest in next batch of GTA04A5 boards

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Thu Apr 4 11:53:23 CEST 2013

Am 04.04.2013 um 10:08 schrieb Sven Dyroff:

> > Also since a project is libre i thing that means a device that gives you more 
> > freedom to do more things and learn more things and that initially and by 
> > core-principles you appeal firstly to libre-community to DIY-people to 
> > education-oriented people and tech-expiernced user.  So they should get the 
> > message that they can have fun with that device (as soon as they price drops!) 
> > :-) 
> > 
> > As far as the price : 
> > I think the crowd-funding approach should have a try.(less ambitious and 
> > interesting projects collect 100K and more). 
> +1 

I have though a long time about a role kickstarter could play, and here are some of my insights:

* kickstarter is sometimes seen to be "the solution" of financing problems of open source projects
* kickstarter is just a shop frontend - you offer an existing or planned product and people buy something; even for the risk to get nothing
* a product must appeal to the broad public or it will fail
* kickstarter does not do the marketing (convincing people that they need your product) for you - you still have to direct them to kickstarter and tell a consistent story there
* kickstarter is US centric
* what is the difference to our own shop where people can buy or make donations if they prefer to support the project?
* the product must be something compeltely new and challenging for the team so that people invest *into the team*
* the kickstarter entry must have a clear and precise story why the visitors want to have the product and why they should support the project [1]
* we were not even able to convince free and open enthusiasts during FOSDEM - there were approx. 3 or 5 new subscriptions to this list and no orders - so how should we be better to convince the broad public by placing it on kickstarter?
* the only difference to listing a product on kickstarter vs. amazon is that for listing on amazon it must have an EAN and must be in stock while on kickstarter it is possible to sell ideas (or dreams)

> Taking into consideration all previous discussions, it's likely that this should be a good approach. 

It can be a good approach for a very good story. But if the story isn't exceptionally good, we won't get significant responses.

So if someone wants to volunteer to prepare a kickstarter entry, let's try.

> a) Non-Openmoko-experienced people usually want a complete phone that is ready for take away. They want to switch it on and have a first successful phone call *before* they start experiencing the freedom of being able to modify everything. 

This is no problem to offer and has been done. E.g. Pulster did add a SD card wit QtMoko preinstalled. Then you just put in your SIM and battery, switch on and it works.

IMHO the real stumbling blocks are devices like this:


It fulfills all the requirements: switch on and make phone calls + being able to modify (almost) everything. At a (subsidized) low price.

So what is our argument to convince the Non-Openmoko-experienced people to get an OpenPhoenux device instead of that one? Maybe that we give the users control of what Google is allegedly doing and nobody knows? This is IMHO a weak argument for the masses. At least nowadays.

> b) Ordinary people take one look at the GTA04, see the "cheap" plastic case with its hand-drilled hole for the camera instead of a professional glittering chrome-plated one and at once decide that this whole device must be cheap. Nearly no more chance to convince them that this valuation is completely wrong. 
> c) GD has proven that they can make a good free phone, even that they can make it very well. So no reason for false modesty! Don't try to collect 10K. Try to collect 100K. Produce as many GTA04A5 with that money as possible, so that the price for the *complete* phone can be let's say 280EUR. 

The question is whom we want to make happy.

If we want to offer a device for everybody in the world, it must come down to 99 EUR. And for doing this 100K is not enough. We need to collect 100M. And then it can't be an open device any more because it does not need to be one and openness costs money.

Generally we see a change in the GTA04 target group. Up to now it was clearly intended for the Openmoko owners as a motherboard upgrade. But for whom is it in the future? I think we can't make something for the masses. It must be something still for the specialist so that it warrants its higher price and less elaborated outer design.

> d) One thing GD needs yet to learn is how to design a homepage that is able to sell all these GTA04A5 to the public. Sorry when telling this so freely, but under friends it's necessary to tell it: The current homepage is a mess. 

I think this is a slight misunderstanding of the role of GDC. It is not the intention to sell the device by some fancy "homepage" to the masses and handle all the service and return requests because people don't understand how to insert the battery.

We feel to be a citizen of the OpenPhoenux community and help to make it reach its goals by providing hardware (which definitively needs an incorporated company to run the operations). Adding / making free and open software and marketing and everything around it is task of the community.

So we need to attract people to support the community and understand what our goals are. Then, GDC helps to give them the devices we need.

Specific proposals for improvement of the homepage?

-- hns

[1] compare e.g.:
a) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1351910088/3doodler-the-worlds-first-3d-printing-pen
b) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1091976372/open-source-5-axis-cnc-router-and-plasma-machine-p
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