A plan taking form (2011-10-05)


EvilDragon

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Whaaaat? Another news post? What's happening, so much to report?


Well, yes. :)


I'm actively working on a lot of things in parallel right now to get things moving.


1. Another visit at Global Components


Yesterday I had another loooong meeting (5 hours!) with Global Components.


We were discussing the production of the Pandora, how to proceed, etc.


The people involved in the meeting were the project manager (with whom I am in regular phone contact as well), the CEO, the parts buying agent and the population machine operator.


We were discussing and making a production plan, when to order what parts, what issues could occur with the production and how to prevent them, etc.


The bare PCB production will be started right away and takes about 4 - 6 weeks, which means: We could do a prototype production run in mid-November (15 PCBs).


I will be there for the whole day and will also do a FullHD video - so you can actually see a Pandora board being populated and born :)


After that, the full series of bare PCBs will be produced which takes another 4 weeks approximately.


So end of December / early January would be the production run with the first 1000 boards.


We are planning to produce 1000 boards per month from then on.


This is a plan - but for that to happen, a few things need to be taken care of:

  • The parts lying around at CC that were planned for Batch 2 need to be transported to Germany. That's one of the things I'll work actively on from tomorrow on.
  • The investments need to be done. I'll get the english contract within this week and will send that to the investors.
    Then it's up to them to decide, whether they want to invest or not and how much. There's about 650,000 EUR from potential community investors, but you never know how much you'll get in reality.
    Also, I don't want to annoy and push any investors. This needs time to be thought through, it's quite a bit of money. When enough money has been confirmed until the end of October and at least 100,000 EUR have been transferred until early November, then the plan will work out. Otherwise, the production will be delayed until the money is there.



These are two important things, and I really hope I can get them done in October. But I'm optimistic here.


2. Investors and funding


I'm not only depending on community investors (though with 650,000 EUR, a few could back out and there would still be enough left), I'm also working actively on getting major investors from my area involved.


I've got a few appointments within the next week as well, so it might be there's enough available without ANY community investors. Those kind of investors that said "Oh well, that's not that much money" when I told them how much I need ;)


Of course, community investments have a higher priority for me :) You all know what the Pandora is about.


So far, everyone who has seen the business plan told me it's very well thought through, which is a good sign.


Even my bank would offer me a loan for the full production - so in case something is missing, I could get a loan from then if needed.


Don't hope that'll be needed though.


But I'm working on various backup plans, just to be sure.


3. Parts, parts, parts


As mentioned, I need to move the parts from Texas to Germany. This will be one of my main priorities right now.


I've also setup a timeline on when to order the remaining parts from where.


I've got leadtimes, and I always add about 1 month to that leadtime so the parts will REALLY be here when needed.


The biggest thing is the order mentioned above from Global Components: The parts we need to order early November, the bill where I have to pay 100,000 EUR in advance.


The remaining investment money has time until a bit later. But that's one of the things I need to work on and hope, enough investors will have signed their contract until end of October.


I'll keep you informed :)


4. Website, Publicity and preordering


Preordering hast started, as you already know.


However, I'm keeping that pretty much internal so far, not going for the big publicity yet.


Many potential customers would go away because it's still a while until the Pandora is really in stock, so we would probably lose them.


Also, I want to work on the website.


My goal is to put all the nice projects on the website, as well as link to informations for users, developers, include a photo and video gallery for user uploads, etc.


Tidy it up, explain to new users, what the Pandora is about, tell them the history, the planned future, etc.


The main feature of the Pandora is the openness and the community - and that's what I want to show on the website as well.


Once that has happened, there will be a few more press releases to gain publicity. After the test production run, I plan on actively raising publicity by contacting various news sites, Linux magazines, giving interviews, etc.


That should be just before christmas and the Pandora shouldn't be too far away by that time. Perfect time to get more users interested :)


Maybe I'll also do a coding competition, where you can win one of the prototypes that is produced at Global Components. Signed by me in the battery compartment.


Sounds like a nice idea :)


Well, that's it for today.


I'll keep you informed about the various processes running in parallel right now, and hope to have good news soon.


I'm working as hard as I can on that, but I really think it's worth it.


If you have any questions, feel free to ask them :)
 

quartercast

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Well done ED :) I can't believe you do this and your day job as well!


Look after yourself too ED
 

EvilDragon

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Luck is never bad.


Sure, I'll do whatever I can, and I don't see any problems with the production nor the sales.


Once in stock, it will surely sell well enough.


BUT first we need to raise the funds.


Just because investors told me they will offer their money doesn't mean they all will do this for real.


I'll make three crosses when the contracts are signed. :)
 

mcobit

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Good luck with all of that!


I know from the bottom of my heart, that this will be successful in the long run and I think you will get the money.


Of course a backupplan is never a bad thing ;) .


If there is anything I could help with in the website department to take some pressure off you, just talk to me in irc.


I have quite some experience in joomla.


All the best!


P.S: That GC company sounds really promising and with a direct contact it is much easier to express, what you really need from them instead of emails over the great sea :)
 

Binky

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So.. theres:

  • Community investors
  • Big, external investors
  • Bank loans
  • Prepaid preorders if really really necessary


Triple redundancy?!


How much more watertight can this get?


We can only assume that (evil)dragons don't need sleep, enabling them to work through the night...


...or are just the most __ diligent species on the planet!


:) :lol: :D


Here's hoping the plan doesn't hit an iceberg.
 

Scntrblob

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Sounds fantastic :)


Also I hope that that coding compo happens, would be nice to see.
 

theshining

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Things really are moving quite fast now, and ED / OP, really seem to have sold the business plan on investors and the banks so a big well done all round, the only thing I don't really get is why you need to get the parts from CC in Texas unless you've paid for these parts upfront why do you think CC are going to help you take their business away from them, unless your monetarily involved with these parts just walk away from this company they don't deserve any more of your time!, I just think your going to be banging your head against a very big wall.
 

Mr_Loon

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Many thanks for the update ED, informative and uplifting stuff.


Regarding the website I'm pretty sure that a lot of people in the community, myself included, would be happy to help with graphics, layout tips and wording etc.


To make a great website for the Pandora it has to be decided in general terms what the Pandora is, and who it is for. No easy task as it has such a broad range of uses. For example if it is decided that the Pandora is a hand held retro gaming computer then the look and feel of the site should be considerably different to a site for a mini pc that can replace a netbook in terms of functionality.


Personally I see the Pandora as something of a Swiss army knife, where the penknife blade is the gaming functionality, the bottle opener is the media playback, and the thing for getting stones out of horses hooves is the ability to copy from one SD card to another. Perhaps a bit of graphic design around that sort of idea could work.


One other consideration should be that the site is a pleasant browsing experience when viewed on a Pandora.


Keep them updates coming :)
 

mikesheley

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Yeah I guess I am a little worried about CC trying to block removal of those parts in Texas--what needs to be coordinated to move them out of there?
 

Darkknight512

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Wow, a meeting with 4 people and the CEO included? Sound like they care quite a bit, I think you said they might also be interested in investing as well, Any news on that?


Hopefuly getting your stuff back from CC goes well.


I hope to see thousands of Pandora's in your future :D
 
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Trip

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Very nice list of what's currently going on ED. Thanks for taking the time out to let us know, even though your schedule must be insanely busy at the moment.


I have no doubts that the Pandora project is heading in the right direction now and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes well for you guys :)


p.s Nice to see the FreeBSD folks taking an interest too. Wonder how much faster or how much more stable a Pandora running BSD could be? I'm sure we'll find out sooner or later.
 
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Orion4874

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Awsome ED, this is sounding better and better. Here's hoping for a smooth ride into production!


I also was wondering about getting the parts from CC. Being that this company is less than trustworthy I wouldn't put it past them to drag their feet with this as well. Maybe the community member that went there before could maybe oversee this? How much in the way of parts are we talking about? Could one guy handle it?
 

fredg999

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If I could be of any help for the website, I could handle a French translation, in case francophones like me happen to discover the Pandora. Another language wouldn't hurt, I guess. :)
 

Amon_Re

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Sounds like things are really moving ahead, you've gained a lot of momentum apparently.

Maybe I'll also do a coding competition, where you can win one of the prototypes that is produced at Global Components. Signed by me in the battery compartment.
Sounds like a nice idea :)

This reminded me of the old days... back when the Amiga 1000 was released and on the inside of the casing in the plastic mold there were signatures from the team that created it... Those were the days
 
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