Author Topic: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!  (Read 16577 times)

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Offline amspire

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2013, 07:17:58 am »

You forgot to mention you apparently have got quite substantial sponsorship and support from the Cypress.
Jon started this tread here to talk about Crowdfunding so I do not see the University's relationship with Cypress is not really relevant. I can't speak for others, but I wanted to know about more about the PSoC because it sounded very interesting. I don't care if Jon has a relationship with Cypress - so what? Good on him, if he has. If I like the PSoC based on its merits, I will try it out.
 

Offline JoannaK

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2013, 02:39:31 pm »

You forgot to mention you apparently have got quite substantial sponsorship and support from the Cypress.
Jon started this tread here to talk about Crowdfunding so I do not see the University's relationship with Cypress is not really relevant. I can't speak for others, but I wanted to know about more about the PSoC because it sounded very interesting. I don't care if Jon has a relationship with Cypress - so what? Good on him, if he has. If I like the PSoC based on its merits, I will try it out.

It matters in a sense that if the project was (at least partially) Cypress supported marketting, Jon should tell things as they are. It would not be the first time electornics and component makers use Kickstarter and other similar sites to push their own goodies. (Or forums, I'm quite sure Dave would rather see real paid ads)

So at the moment, I'm not sure if this was intented to be marketting or not, but I openly admit been reading some Psoc datasheets and watchin videos from their Youtube channel. Not sure if I'd ever touch those chips (not likely to spend >100€ to some eva kit), but it's good to know what is available.
 

Offline jmoleTopic starter

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2013, 07:33:19 pm »
No I'm not paid by cypress, I just believe in their technology. Been using psoc 3/5 since their preproduction silicon was sampling, because Cypress does a great job of distributing their kits to universities.

My university research lab was funded by Cypress to create a drop in replacement for an 8051 using psoc 5, which became the basic form factor for the freesoc mini.

From there, I thought there would be a good market for psoc-based dev kits in the maker world, cause at that time, the only dev tools were made by Cypress. Since the kickstarter ended, I've noticed a huge uptick in the number of psoc kits coming onto the market.

Alas, I am very much self-employed at this point, and actually competing with Cypress for market share in the dev kit market now that the PSoC Pioneer is out there. The release actually came as a total surprise to me. So now, I'm starting to shift my focus to PSoC education with videos and tutorials and such, because I have a feeling that this will be the next big thing in the hobbyist world once there is some momentum behind it.

The reason I frequent this forum is because its a great source of information about what people are working on in the hobbyist world, and it helps me develop ideas about tutorials and content to serve this community.

So am I a PSoC evangelist? Absolutely, because it made embedded design very easy to learn, while allowing me to go as deep as I wanted.

Am I getting paid by Cypress? I wish. That would make my wife much happier about my employment situation. :-X




 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2013, 07:47:12 pm »
Am I getting paid by Cypress? I wish. That would make my wife much happier about my employment situation. :-X
Did you ask Cypress to hire you? Should be no problem with your history. Just don't write a letter of application, but ask your contacts at Cypress for it.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Electronics, hiking, retro-computing, electronic music etc.: https://www.youtube.com/c/FrankBussProgrammer
 

Offline jmoleTopic starter

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2013, 07:49:56 pm »

Did you ask Cypress to hire you? Should be no problem with your history. Just don't write a letter of application, but ask your contacts at Cypress for it.
It's something I've considered, but I have an entrepreneurial spirit in me that I've gotta feed. Getting a job (with cypress or anyone else) is my plan C if you will.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2013, 08:26:57 pm »
Good luck. I'm a freelancer, too (but more software than hardware) and I like it. But I also worked some years as an employee, and it was an important experience for me, with positive and negative aspects.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Electronics, hiking, retro-computing, electronic music etc.: https://www.youtube.com/c/FrankBussProgrammer
 

Offline JoannaK

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2013, 09:29:57 pm »
No I'm not paid by cypress, I just believe in their technology. Been using psoc 3/5 since their preproduction silicon was sampling, because Cypress does a great job of distributing their kits to universities.

...

So am I a PSoC evangelist? Absolutely, because it made embedded design very easy to learn, while allowing me to go as deep as I wanted.

Am I getting paid by Cypress? I wish. That would make my wife much happier about my employment situation. :-X

Ok.. I'm sorry to been a meanie. But, it indeed looked quite a coincidence that they are just now brining their own low-cost Psoc4 (about 25Euros at Farnell/element14) card out and it kinda looks like dumbed down version of your Psoc5 kit.

I have to think these about myself. If I wanted to take random ARM-core I'd go to Freescale fredom-boards (10-15 Euros), but otoh I'd like to have some logic (like Lattice xo2 breakout under 25€). With Psoc4 it'll be somewhat like a mix of those.

But.. I know this is Off topic at this thread..  ;D 
 

Offline ddavidebor

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Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2013, 10:29:22 pm »
This board is so damn cool that is impossible to not speak of it.

David - Professional Engineer - Medical Devices and Tablet Computers at Smartbox AT
Side businesses: Altium Industry Expert writer, http://fermium.ltd.uk (Scientific Equiment), http://chinesecleavers.co.uk (Cutlery),
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2013, 10:35:45 pm »
... I have an entrepreneurial spirit in me that I've gotta feed. Getting a job (with cypress or anyone else) is my plan C if you will.

Don't get a corporate tattoo on your forehead quite yet (if you can avoid it). I bought one of your boards because I thought the product was cool, but also because I'd rather spend my dev board $$ on a "little guy" who's making a go of it than a public company that's pushing one of their product lines.

I've watched the videos on your site, and you're a great presenter--you should do more of that. Get your face out there. Sell some boards that plug into freeSoC. Show people how to solve some real-world problems with the platform.

Where's *your* t-shirt design?
 

Offline jmoleTopic starter

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2013, 11:49:25 pm »
Where did you manufacture? Did factory do any tests/inspection you specified or did you just wing it? Were chips flashed in the factory? What was the failure rate?

I did my PCB manufacturing and assembly here in the US at a company called Twisted Traces, out of Illinois. I developed a test/programming procedure that was run on each board, so they came programmed and tested out of the factory. The test was pretty straightforward, and covered: programming the boards, testing continuity pairwise between all pins (so there's no shorts), verification of the 32kHz crystal, and both LEDs, as well as the reset button, and power selection switch. I don't know what the initial test failure rates were, but I got all the boards I ordered, so I'm assuming they all tested well after rework.
 

Offline jmoleTopic starter

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2013, 12:01:02 am »
Don't get a corporate tattoo on your forehead quite yet (if you can avoid it). I bought one of your boards because I thought the product was cool, but also because I'd rather spend my dev board $$ on a "little guy" who's making a go of it than a public company that's pushing one of their product lines.
Yep, yep, that's why I manufacture in America instead of outsourcing. I want to build the highest quality tools for making things.


I've watched the videos on your site, and you're a great presenter--you should do more of that. Get your face out there. Sell some boards that plug into freeSoC. Show people how to solve some real-world problems with the platform.

Where's *your* t-shirt design?

Thanks, I'm hoping the videos will help get a community going around PSoC Development. I mean, there are some other forums out there for PSoC, but there is a lack of good tutorials. Definitely need to change that.

I think the expansion board market is interesting, and I've been kicking around some ideas in that area, especially considering how difficult it can be to create cheap prototypes when you want to use devices that only come in fancy SMD packages, like MEMS stuff, high quality audio DACs/ADCs, etc. But, the kicker is that you need a big market for the target dev kit, which is why Arduino shields are so popular, and why all the "hobbyist-focused" dev kits are using Arduino compatible footprints.

As for a T-Shirt design, we'll have to wait and see...  O0

 

Offline krenzo

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2013, 01:16:31 am »
Did you have to do any FCC certification?  I want to eventually do a Kickstarter, but the thought of having to go through certifications and for different countries sounds very daunting and expensive.
 

Offline snoopy

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2013, 01:30:20 am »
Hello jmole

As soon as I saw a proper IDE with single stepping and breakpoints you got my attention. Not to mention drag and drop of extra analog and digital hardware and I think Cypress is on a real winner. ;) With the advances in micros and tool sets I'm starting to think that engineers are starting to become an obsolete species :(

I'm not sure if this has been asked but what about IP property protection in the Psoc ? Is there some kind of security bit for both the code and hardware blocks ?

Also do you know if Cypress is thinking of doing something with a Cortex M4 for DSP apps etc ?

Anyway well done with your project. I'd only wish kickstarter was around 20 years ago. Getting funding for tech projects in Australia is like getting blood out of a stone  :(

regards
david
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 01:32:22 am by snoopy »
 

Offline envisionelec

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Re: Thinking of starting your own Crowdfunded project? Ask me anything!
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2013, 12:11:01 am »
If you were doing a new electronic design project, what work would you attempt to complete before starting the fund-raising?

In terms of planning the reward structure and project costs:
  • Prototype (obviously)
  • Cost Estimates -- Pick some random quantity of boards you'd like to sell. Let's say 100. So get a complete BOM estimate, production estimate, assembly estimate, etc, for 110% of the quantities you're building.
  • Packaging -- This means, go to uline.com, pick out your packaging materials, add to cart, and write down the total with shipping
  • Shipping -- Are you going to ship this stuff yourself? For 100 orders, it's feasible. Above that, you're gonna be screwed unless you have some help.  I had ~600, so I used a fulfillment service called Shipwire.
  • Shipping Costs -- For domestic, you can figure about $5, for a small product like mine. International, about $30.
  • Total per unit costs -- Now add up all the totals above, divide by your number of units, and figure out what it will cost you.
  • Markup -- Figure out what kind of markup you want on the product. This should be around 2.5X, at a minimum, or you will probably end up losing money. It's funny how fast unexpected costs can creep up.


Also, you're gonna need a bunch of copy for the Kickstarter page, a good video, yada yada. Don't underestimate these things. You've gotta pitch your product well. Emulate the most funded projects. Look at their videos and how they sell the idea, and do that for yours.

Also do you think you can get the money if you are totally honest and conservative in your estimated delivery. In your case, if you had quoted, say, 4 months until the first deliveries, do you think you would have got the backers? Is quoting delivery based on the most optimistic assessment of the project a required part of the game in order to raise decent money?

This, I can't say for certain.

In my case, I don't think I had any real complaints that the ship date was so delayed. It was clear that I was iterating on the design, and making progress and that kept the confidence of my buyers.

I've backed a few other projects, and in a few, this has not been the case.

CruxSkunk, a laptop-type case for an iPad, has been seriously overdue (project finished about when mine started), and there are tons of people complaining about it. I couldn't care either way, because I can see that he's making progress and I will get it eventually.

Memoto, a lifelogging camera, had an estimated delivery date of March 2013, which has come and gone, but the creators have been very good about keeping us up to date, and I'm certain they will deliver a great project.

That said, I think time overruns are part of the game. It's pretty much expected by anyone who's not a first time kickstarter backer.

Now, will someone back a project if the delivery date is "realistic" (assuming that you can actually hit the mark)? I think so. Take a look at all the video game projects. Millions of dollars for a release date 1-2 years down the line. The key is to be honest. I honestly thought I would be able to deliver the product in a month. We had just finished a first run of 100, and I was ready to pull the trigger on the next 1000. Then the design change requests came.... Then I realized I could make a better board by listening to my backers. And they supported me through it. So be honest. If you have a great project, the good people of the internet will help you make it work.

The information in this thread applies to any kind of funding. Honesty is absolutely key in an online design relationship. I have done two major projects ($20k +) without even meeting the project backers. My most recent project got totally derailed by an engineer who ran into money problems and just stopped coding my project (I am not a software engineer). I had to do a full 180, borrow more money and promise new dates. I thought for sure that I'd run into trouble - but nope. My past history of honesty and ability to deliver results more than made up for the stumble. I am forever grateful to those that willingly extend financing to my projects. It sure beats the bank and I have a lot more fun doing it!!
 


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