Author Topic: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:  (Read 692 times)

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Offline Beamin

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Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« on: June 02, 2019, 08:17:53 pm »
I'm looking to start selling kits and both tangible and non tangible ancillary products on the internet/ by mail. Here is my proposal:

My idea is to make kits that come with:
-Parts -Bread Boards - Instructions – Custom packaging. Similar to the arduino kits they sell except it will be high quality and well written not some Chinese bullshit. When marketing this product emphasis will be put on quality and completeness. A product to be sold on value not price, although it will be competitively priced especially compared to kits by Velman.  What I need help with is the technical aspects such as designing the experiments, because as you guys know I am still a bit of a beginner to electronics, well compared to the people here. But I learn fast. I have several years experience owning a brick and mortar business and familiar with creating an online presence in today ever changing space that needs to compete with overseas suppliers . I am based out of the East cast of the US. More on this later, here is the idea:

The product: To start I want to create a series of kits you buy that are progressive in nature: The Bread Board Computer. I have many ideas, and products, but we will explore this one in this post. Each kit will be it’s own learning lesson, fun and simple to build. There will be 15-20 kits and all together they form a “bread board computer”. This format is a progressive and recurring sales model where after building the first one they will want to complete the whole thing. Since the whole thing would be more expensive, the option to buy in steps will be the focus of the marketing of it. Target consumer are males age 16 and up with an interest in building, and engineering. Think of the people that use this forum and since this forum is based off youtube, consumers that watch  “EEVblog”, “BigClive”, “FranLab”,”Jullian Illet” etc. Also I have some idea on how to target the people that watch those videos. But this product would be very similar to the bread board computer built in the  the "Ben Eater" youtube videos. I actually plan on following those videos very closely making adjustments as the goal of this is to market the product, not just teach people about circuits for free.. Each bread board could be its own kit and will show you the steps. The progressive nature of this creates  the possibility to sell a lot of units to each consumer. The total cost will be 15 to 20X the cost of a single unit. The whole computer would be on the order of 15-20 kits. You can buy the kit whole, although marketing emphasis is the progressive sale, or possibly a new kit each week, or month, subscription program secured with a credit card. The key to profitability in today's online space has shifted from buying something in a lump sum payment, to low recurring subscriptions, the potential profits there are much greater then a single sale Each sale becomes 20 plus monthly revenue streams. Each one would come with some 74 series logic chips,bread board, and a set of wires and either printed, online, or video instructions. These could be bought in bulk and packaged up in custome quality boxes/packaging, but that’s a fine detail that will be worked out and goes beyond the scope of this post. If necessary I could make tutorial videos as long as I have the material to work with. I have experience with public speaking, and have a personality, as well as a sense of humor; things that can be rare in this field. I have been “The face of...” a few businesses and organizations and have many, many, years of sales experience. I can do basically anything once I learn it. Sort of a jack of all trades but when I focus on something I can perfect and improve the process (People, Product, and Process!). I have done that for several businesses. The videos  could be an ancillary of the business: access to a patreon account where you get to see the “how to” videos. One month of free access, then $1.00 a month to get the full library.

The People: Myself and another individual who is technically proficient, motivated and passionate about electronics and who is looking to expand their income and perhaps have a side business or hobby, but is unsure of the business, sales, marketing process, or just running a business. There is a reason why so many people fail when they open their own business, you have to be proficient and consistent at so many little details from accounting, and sourcing, to streamlining, running the company lean, with an emphasis on growth and meeting monthly budget/sales goals. Also creativity is a must for when the business stagnates, or knowing how to expand when it is already doing well.

The process: This is almost beyond the scope of a trial idea pitch, but represents one of the three legs that hold up the table of a successful growth oriented business venture, so must be mentioned. This is something I have learned over the years and is highly specific to the product, and how the product is marketed and sold. This is often skipped, or poorly understood, by most business owners; it’s a kind of “hidden” behind the sceene of the day to day operations. As you may or may not know I am based on the east coast, semiretired (Ok I’m kind of disabled: legally blind- but still can use the computer, and physically disabled in that it’s hard for me to stand or walk long distances. This bars me from most traditional W2 jobs) but I have access to transportation, post office etc. ) and have a lot of time on my hands and don’t need but definitely could use more income. I used to sell a lot of things on ebay: almost a second income, but unfortunately with china diluting and under cutting everything with “$1.00 shipped” items, it is hard to do that if you don’t know what you are doing,, but will definitely still be a sales channel for this product. This is where selling on value not price comes in. Rather then order something from china and wait a month, get a defective/sub par product, and have no customer service or way of returning it, all of that head ache will be absent with this product and emphasized in the marketing. Easy to understand English and instructions. I am college educated and writing is one of my skills when I put the effort into it. Before you say it… Posting on the forum isn’t a great way to judge my abilities, but rest assured the skills are there.

So that's basically a very long, but in reality a small part of my idea. Since this is a competitive idea of value there are certain aspects I don’t want to just start broadcasting and have my ideas stolen or create competitors inadvertently. I am willing to put 40+ hours seven days a week into this project. I am the type of person that if I had a million dollars I know for sure in three or four years I would have two million. I do have start up capital for this as well, but that trust has to be demonstrated and will come with time. So who wants to make some money and have fun while you do it?   
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Online nctnico

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Re: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 11:29:41 pm »
Two questions:
1) Are you going to pay the technical help? Or is this just another one of the million people trying to let someone work for free on an idea they may or may not sell?

2) What makes you think people want to pay for quality? Just read this forum: most hobbyists will buy the cheaper inferior parts even if it is only 5 cents cheaper. A lower price makes all logic reasoning go straight out the window.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2019, 03:30:26 am »
Two questions:
1) Are you going to pay the technical help? Or is this just another one of the million people trying to let someone work for free on an idea they may or may not sell?

2) What makes you think people want to pay for quality? Just read this forum: most hobbyists will buy the cheaper inferior parts even if it is only 5 cents cheaper. A lower price makes all logic reasoning go straight out the window.


I would actually being doing most of the work and dealing with all the bullshit. I know this will sell if I can get it done, there are several channels I want to sell through. There is a lot more to my business plan then is laid out here, that would make this post too long with details you won't need to know just yet. Technically I would be dealing with the "hard part" and also doing the grunt work like assembly and mailing/building. When I do things I go all out and don't do things half assed. As far as the money goes I'm honest and like equal partners that way we both have something to gain.


As far as #2 goes that's why I emphasized that we would be selling on value not price. Its much different then "lazy retail" where you just make a colorful box with a low price tag. I have found if things aren't selling making them cheaper rarely helps, learned that he hard way. Once again that's in the technical details. Also this isn't targeted at the usual mindless Walmart consumer drone unit. There are a lot of people especially in America that are sick of no longer having the option to spend a little more to get the better quality product. We lost that in the 90's, over in Europe you guys still make things. You can spend all day trying to buy one item made in this country.
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Offline ebastler

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Re: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2019, 02:54:41 pm »
The product: To start I want to create a series of kits you buy that are progressive in nature: The Bread Board Computer. [...]

Each kit will be it’s own learning lesson, fun and simple to build. There will be 15-20 kits and all together they form a “bread board computer”. This format is a progressive and recurring sales model where after building the first one they will want to complete the whole thing.

Since the whole thing would be more expensive, the option to buy in steps will be the focus of the marketing of it.

If you establish the right channels to get the word out (and the kits), that would be a neat concept -- technically and marketing-wise. But I wonder whether you could really structure a computer kit in a way to encourage such incremental purchases:

What would kit #1, #2 and #3 comprise to make them interesting, and make them do something interesting once built??  Without a display and some program and data input capability, how would the user see that whatever they built is alive? So wouldn't the very first step already need to be a pretty complete computer, to make it rewarding in any way?

I think you would need to provide at least the functionality of an old Altair or similar system right in the first step: CPU, clock, memory, LEDs and toggle switches, large PCB with bus for future expansion. That would make kit #1 pretty complex and expensive. And on the other hand I am not sure how "fun" and exciting such a computer would be for today's 16-year-old kids.

Hence -- while I like the idea, I am not sure you have a valid concept there. Curious to learn more (or see the kits once they are on the market  ;)).
 

Offline NorthGuy

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Re: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2019, 08:12:30 pm »
But Ben Eater already sells his computers!

I'm not sure many people buy them. Do you think there's any market for them? Or is your plan to actively create the market, so that people who didn't want to buy Ben's computer, will get interested in yours?
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 10:00:48 pm »
I'd definitely look at this first:
https://eater.net/8bit/kits

And figure out how your angle is better (or at least different). Ben was also the guest on last week's AmpHour (#444) so I'd have a listen to that. (Unless, you had a listen to it and that's what gave you the idea, in which case, you've already heard it. :D )

There's nothing wrong with competing in an area where someone already has a product. If anything, it's minimal validation that at least a few other people think it's a good idea.

If you start by asking yourself "how big might this get if it's successful?" and "how small can I start to learn if this is maybe viable?", I think the answer to the first one is not encouraging, so at least find a way to make the the answer to the second one "quite small, so you get proof [or kill it] early."
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: Looking for technical help/ Idea for a new venture:
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2019, 03:39:05 am »
I'd definitely look at this first:
https://eater.net/8bit/kits

And figure out how your angle is better (or at least different). Ben was also the guest on last week's AmpHour (#444) so I'd have a listen to that. (Unless, you had a listen to it and that's what gave you the idea, in which case, you've already heard it. :D )

There's nothing wrong with competing in an area where someone already has a product. If anything, it's minimal validation that at least a few other people think it's a good idea.

If you start by asking yourself "how big might this get if it's successful?" and "how small can I start to learn if this is maybe viable?", I think the answer to the first one is not encouraging, so at least find a way to make the the answer to the second one "quite small, so you get proof [or kill it] early."


Honestly I didn't realize he was that popular or was already doing it. I always had that idea of home built computer kit, and when I searched and found his videos, I thought it was a great concept and I wanted to build it. But I didn't want the frustration of spending long amounts of time on digikey pricing out old logic chips, and that some one else must be thinking the same thing. As with most ideas it seems like someone has already tried it, but if you are not the first be the first to make it better or more accessible. When building my electronics lab I found the hardest part was accumulating all the random parts without access to an electronics store. The price of all the parts wasn't much but in the early stages I found every time I wanted to build something I was missing one part and by the time mail order came I was on to a new idea. Sure you can get the parts for almost nothing from china but that takes a month and the chance of error or defect is high, plus its bad for the country you live in. I think if I search long enough I will find something novel.


I'll make an 8bit super computer where you can cluster 1000's of kits each built by hand. That would keep you busy for a while.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 03:51:24 am by Beamin »
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