Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

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exxos
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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by exxos » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:41 am

If I charged for my time for all my Atari work, I would be worth millions by now.

But this is same old story that a lot of people do not realise costs of developing a product. Like with any product I sell, development costs are the main cost of project, not the actual "parts cost" in the final product. Not many people understand this unfortunately.

Take for example my V2.X series of booster, development costs of PCBs alone was over £800. Of course these days we have access to cheaper manufacturers, so these prices will ultimately go down because of this. But you can look at the booster and it probably only costs £10 to produce.. and that may well be correct.. With the price being £45 people can easily see & assume I make £35 profit each one. Which is, and isn't, correct. Do I make £35 profit, yes. Do I make a profit on the entire project, no. If anything I would make a loss. Even a easy calculation of £800 / 35 = ~23 so I would have to sell 23 boosters just to break even on the development of the PCB alone. Factor in all the other costs as well...

Similar with the power supplies as you mention.. How many prototypes did I create.. How much money I spent on research on switch mode controllers.. Manufacturers demo boards are not particularly cheap.. Assembly and testing even one power supply can take many hours.. I send these away to be assembled, so this is more costs assembly and postage etc It would make you cry how much money I have spent last year on all this alone.. Let me tell you it is well into five figures. Also take into account I have had batches of things fail in the past, so this literally doubles the price of that project.

This is why I get concerned when sales slowdown in my store.. I was spending around £2,000 a month last year just on ordering parts for various projects. So if sales stop in my store, where would that money come from ? So even a slight slowdown in sales results in any project I'm working on grinding to a halt. My web store has a huge turnover rate, and even a huge profits rate, but end of the year profit, I make very little.. And mostly end up making a loss.

This is what annoys me when people say items are expensive in my web store, actually pretty much every item in my store and the quantities I sell, I only get back the breakeven price for every single product, so out of everything in my web store, I can pretty much tell you I make zero profit at the end of the year, In actual fact, some items do not sell at all, and I reduce the price by 50% or whatever, just to clear out that stock. So whatever money I spent on that whole project, I will lose half of it easily. Somethings sell, some things do not, overall I never really turn a profit from any of this work. Factor in the amount of hours I spend working on all this for absolutely free as well...
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by rubber_jonnie » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm

This is quite an interesting conversation, and your comments about the PSU remind me of the FB argument about the Falcon RTC replacement.

I'm sure you recall the whole "Somebody else is selling them for €11, yours are way more expensive, you're ripping us off" conversation, and how people don't appreciate that dev time costs money, and so does developing the physical stuff.

I can only assume that company doesn't make much on each one, since the chip is €11 in the first place. However they clearly have some sort of economy of scale that works for them and allows for that.

What seems crazy to me is that rather than saying "this is great, we have a choice", it boils down to trolling and bitching and moaning about it, and a complete lack of understanding about how these things get funded.

Personally I'd perhaps shy away from donations, as this does kind of open you up to folks saying "you're just taking peoples money". We know different, but the above just shows me how bad people can get around this sort of thing.

Merchandise is an option, but I expect that an awful lot of mugs or tee shirts would need to be sold before you made a usable amount of cash for dev work. I mean say you sold mugs at £3, and the profit per mug was 50p, you'd need to sell 1600 mugs to cover the £800 booster PCB dev costs. Whilst I pulled those figures out of thin air, even if you made £2 profit per mug, you still need to sell 400, which I don't think is a viable fundraising option.

The other area you could try is Kickstarter or something similar, where people contribute, but get product at the end. If you don't meet the target, the project isn't worth pursuing, and nobody loses any money. It's safer than going via a donations option as peoples money is protected.

The other option I can think of is placing ads on your site and monetizing that way. The main problem I have with that is I don't like obtrusive ads on sites, and I like the forum without them. I suppose you could try it on the shop though?

I guess the other thing that springs to mind is a YouTube channel, and have ads on that for monetizing, but that is a harder job if you don't have the followers.
Just my two pennorth.
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ape Warp mod, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg) + Gotek, 1040STFM + Vortex ATOnce + Gotek, 1040STF long button floppy, 4160 STE with Gotek and ROM switcher, 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher and CosmosEx, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by exxos » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:38 pm

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
This is quite an interesting conversation, and your comments about the PSU remind me of the FB argument about the Falcon RTC replacement.

I'm sure you recall the whole "Somebody else is selling them for €11, yours are way more expensive, you're ripping us off" conversation, and how people don't appreciate that dev time costs money, and so does developing the physical stuff.
Indeed. The first batch I brought chips from China to get the project off the ground as cheaply as possible. Those chips worked, so I purchased something like 100 of them, then paid a company to make them up for me.. Which I later found every single chip was duff. Of course it was a bit more complicated than that, that is generally one of my points. This is also one reason the 4MB MMU RAM upgrades ended as a pretty high price point.

Secondly as I pointed out to that guy aswell, I actually had to buy a Falcon in the first place in order to even test these RTC modules. More costs and expense. Is basically the same point I make over and over again, you cannot judge a projects value based on face value alone. People who basically do that are just ignorant idiots in my view.

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
I can only assume that company doesn't make much on each one, since the chip is €11 in the first place. However they clearly have some sort of economy of scale that works for them and allows for that.
At the time I couldn't even by the genuine chip that amount. I learned my lesson about buying cheap chips. Some people may get lucky as I did originally, but that luck soon runs out.

Also these items which are cheap, are often assembled cheap because of poorer countries who will assemble items for a fraction of the price it would cost here in the UK.

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
What seems crazy to me is that rather than saying "this is great, we have a choice", it boils down to trolling and bitching and moaning about it, and a complete lack of understanding about how these things get funded.
Indeed. As I also mentioned, we are all looking for the best bargain. If someone wants to buy a similar product that I sell from someone else at half the price, I have no issues with that. My point was if you buy a product from that person who ever it may be, you are supporting that person with their efforts and possibly future work. It is not difficult to understand.

All the work I do sucks up a phenomenal amount of money. The products I sell also go towards funding other projects. If I only made 50p profit on each item, how many products would I have to sell in order to warrant a £200 PCB run or something.. It is just not a viable economic business plan.

Sure, if I was only building one thing all the time, I could probably get the costs down extremely low. But nothing in my store generally sells a lot. I generally sell maybe one particular kit each month and that is how slow things sell. Of course when you multiply that by 150 items, its a totally new game..

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
Personally I'd perhaps shy away from donations, as this does kind of open you up to folks saying "you're just taking peoples money". We know different, but the above just shows me how bad people can get around this sort of thing.
As mentioned earlier I would rather people buy something from my store. But the whole concept of donations came around as some people may want to send some money who may not even own a Atari, the may just want to buy me a burger and beer or something for my efforts.. This is why I started this thread talking about selling mugs etc
rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
Merchandise is an option, but I expect that an awful lot of mugs or tee shirts would need to be sold before you made a usable amount of cash for dev work. I mean say you sold mugs at £3, and the profit per mug was 50p, you'd need to sell 1600 mugs to cover the £800 booster PCB dev costs. Whilst I pulled those figures out of thin air, even if you made £2 profit per mug, you still need to sell 400, which I don't think is a viable fundraising option.
That is basically the problem of investing in stock, and actually being able to sell stock. I I would not have enough space to buy any large items like mugs anymore. I basically work on the premise that no more than 25 items will ever sell of any one particular thing. If a item sells only one per month, and that is basically two years just to sell those 25 items.
rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
The other area you could try is Kickstarter or something similar, where people contribute, but get product at the end. If you don't meet the target, the project isn't worth pursuing, and nobody loses any money. It's safer than going via a donations option as peoples money is protected.
Yeah.. That's a whole other different topic, which has been discussed in great detail the case remake project.. But generally people will probably never invest in projects.. I pretty much end up funding the development bill out of my own pocket each time.

Of course things like the motherboard, is basically the same thing.. If there is enough people on board to warrant getting the PCBs made, and they are willing to pay upfront, then that project goes ahead, otherwise it does not get done, so the only thing I would really wasted my time in the design of that project.

Which pretty much everything else I fund myself, and hope that eventually those items will selling my store so I can recoup the money back. Of course some projects hardly ever sell and I end up losing money overall and that project.

So in order to prevent myself going bankrupt, I have to spread those losses over the cost of other items in my store, it is the only way I can keep afloat doing all this work. That is again one thing that guy on Facebook was against and didnt not understand as well. But really what choice do I have ?

The business model I have basically works, but of course I have literally put every penny I own into this work, my bank account is constantly bouncing on zero and anyway to fund everything is for people to buy stuff from my web store. If the whole community buying items in my store, and brought the same items elsewhere cheaper, I can pretty much guarantee my web store would be shut down in under a year. Again something that guy on Facebook failed to comprehend.

In that sure, everyone gets a deal and is happy, but in doing that they are not funding one of the most active people in the community. If no one buys anything, I have no money for projects, and that will be the end of my support the community. So the community has to support me, in order for me to support the community.

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
The other option I can think of is placing ads on your site and monetizing that way. The main problem I have with that is I don't like obtrusive ads on sites, and I like the forum without them. I suppose you could try it on the shop though?
I have considered it, but I really hate adverts and all that sort of thing realistically, there is just not a large enough community to make adverts pay I think. I think it would just end up annoying everyone.

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:42 pm
I guess the other thing that springs to mind is a YouTube channel, and have ads on that for monetizing, but that is a harder job if you don't have the followers.
Just my two pennorth.
It has been mentioned before, but I just do not have the time to do the videos. The problem is as well I just get so many interruptions each day I just simply would not be able to even make a 10 minute video without having to do several edits to it. It would just basically end up creating a phenomenal amount of work for basically no reason.

Work -wise, I am failing to even keep up with items in my store at the moment. Again I have talked about this in great lengths before, but I'm having to spend literally thousands and bulk buying items and getting things assembled for me in order to stop them from going out of stock every few months.

As I said before, I will put together something like 10 kits, and they will sell very slowly, meanwhile I will do another 10 kits something else, and another 10 kits of something else, and by all the time I have gone through all those, the first set of kits I produced has gone out of stock again so it's a never-ending circle which I just cannot escape from. The only solution is to invest more money in more stock which is a huge gamble on my part but its the only way I can break this cycle.

If you look at my web store right now, you can see some items are starting to increase in quantity.. But overall there is not really that much stock in general.. So you will probably be amazed to learn that what is listed in my web shop alone is worth £25,000! Even just doubling stock and every single item will basically mean the stock worth would be £50,000. And of course, where does all this money come from to buy the things in the first place? I have a massive amount of stock and components here which also cost a lot of money.... I'm not even going to speculate on what this all cost.

People just have no idea of the costs involved.. Some people's understanding is only face value costs of items. So if they want to lecture me on my business practices or costs of my items, they can bring to the table minimum of £100,000 and then we can talk. What I always try and do is hit the breakeven price, of what my store generates in revenue, and what I spend or invest in other projects.. I never charged my time for this work and I basically do not make a actual profit on anything at all. This is a very complex business model and is not easy to explain. As said before, it would be more "profitable" not to run my webstore.

If people here vanished overnight, and sales stopped in my store , I can pretty much guarantee the next year I will be gone. The bottom line is, if people want to support my efforts, they simply buy items from my store, or as a lot of people here do, they contribute a lot of their time into development and testing of projects.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by rubber_jonnie » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:58 pm

Nor do I expect that the store pays you a wage!

I'm always willing to give time to projects, variable though it is, and hopefully I'll keep spending in the store. Reminds me, I need another SR98 recap kit!
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ape Warp mod, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg) + Gotek, 1040STFM + Vortex ATOnce + Gotek, 1040STF long button floppy, 4160 STE with Gotek and ROM switcher, 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher and CosmosEx, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by exxos » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:04 pm

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:58 pm
Nor do I expect that the store pays you a wage!
Don't get a penny for my time :( My day job pays my bills, but I only work part time now (basically mornings) So I hardly have a income anymore. I guess I make about half a minimum wage there which I have to live on. The rest of the day is spent totally on Atari work.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by rubber_jonnie » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:16 pm

exxos wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:04 pm

Don't get a penny for my time :( My day job pays my bills, but I only work part time now (basically mornings) So I hardly have a income anymore. I guess I make about half a minimum wage there which I have to live on. The rest of the day is spent totally on Atari work.
Not quite sure how you manage it, I couldn't manage only working a half day, not enough cash for that.
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ape Warp mod, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg) + Gotek, 1040STFM + Vortex ATOnce + Gotek, 1040STF long button floppy, 4160 STE with Gotek and ROM switcher, 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher and CosmosEx, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by zack4mac » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:34 pm

I agree with RJ about about the you tube channel, I only found this site because of GadgetUK, It certainly was not any old palls from other forums. But if that is not possible you could ask people such as LGR to review items for you? Guys in America they are desperate for good quality reasonably priced forgive me "Retro" items, apparently it is cheaper to buy from the UK and pay postage than buy local.

Although I understand people have cupboards full of mugs. I want the 2019 Exxos mug and it could be an optional choice, alternatives being a pin badge, mouse mat, for £4.99 The Exxos engineering mug with the year on it? can be sent direct from vista print without need for storage when you join the Exxos saving club for £10 a year this entitles you to buy quality engineered products at cost, although at the bare minimum a small amount should be added for administration.

Remember you are not forcing anyone, It is optional and if not they pay the cost plus a third, so your psu's are £90 but most will join and if they are willing to pay £60 then £70 is still a £20 saving and then the prices remain the same.

This is not fair I hear, I myself thought £60 was expensive because I am not wealthy poor me :( plus I also want to buy a Ultrasatan and other retro stuff! So I go away and think, I know I would love a brand new ATARI psu and subconsciously for 50p but it's not going to happen, so I ponder on it for 12 months and comeback expecting it to be now £75 and you are kidding me it is still £60 the price is not increasing with inflation, so I quickly realize I am becoming a unreasonable miserable old sod and it is a bargain! in fact its theft and I'm a tight git, I moan about the price of bread and polo mints, everybody moans about price of everything from steak to their bin collections, but if they don't want a stinky mess in their yards they will pay it!

If I don't want Magic smoke in my living room and gunk on my motherboard, I pay it!

My rule of thumb maximum price is between a third to half price second hand, well ebay psu's are around £35-£45 supposedly reconditioned!

I'm sure people will be pi^%ed off with what I'm saying, they want a second Ultrasatan but if Exxos does nothing we will lose this forum.

Sorry for not typing you full name RJ but my GF has a key logger installed that informs her by text if I type a naughty word! :oops:
Atari 2600, XEGS, STF/FM/E MSTE/TT CBM 16/64 VC20 PET A500, 600, 1200, BBC B, ZX81, ZX +3 Harlequin ZXuno plus too much junk to fit in one skip! :roll: my username should be Mr Hoarder.

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Re: Donations and contributions, ideas and thoughts

Post by exxos » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:02 pm

One thing about the power supplies, depends which version you are referring to.. But overall, you are correct, the price has not increased even though there's a brand-new design now. Of course I spent a great deal of time to come up with a better power supply solution, without it being more expensive than the original design. Of course this is all very difficult to accomplish.

The price point of manufacturer is very similar for the old and new versions, and of course it cost a lot of money to develop this new design. So the price should be higher based on the development cost alone.. So why isn't it ? Well, for example, the PCB price is now a lot cheaper than it was originally so that is basically where the costs are recovered from. I did not really want to increase the price of them as I think the price is pretty high already.

There is also the failure rate aswell. The older design was actually a nightmare to assemble and then when it goes on to fault finding, you can pretty much say goodbye to your afternoon in trying to figure out what the problem is. So the new design I took this into account the failure rate is a lot lower now also helps reduce costs.

If I did sell a lot more power supplies, I may be able to get the price down little more but the price point they are currently is actually pretty difficult to maintain. The fluctuation in parts costs and availability is always a issue was well. But the bottom line is, I always try and keep the prices the same but it is not always possible.

As for mugs, I may look into this when I have more time..I have some ideas..

As for America people, postage is always very expensive for heavy items like power supplies. I said this before in the past that really there should be distributors in the USA to buy stock and resell it themselves, so people don't have to keep paying shipping costs from UK to USA all the time.. But Of course who is going to invest thousands in stock ?

But the problem is, generally bulk buying items goes in hand with discounts, but at the "low" profit margins I have, it is not possible me to give discounts to the resellers. But even so, this is another complicated subject by itself.

As for reviewing items, someone has to have a popular channel, then it may be worth doing. But the problem is, if they did a bad review, this could potentially put off a lot of people from buying my items, and then what ? I actually have this conversation pretty regularly actually, outside of Atari world.. That something could have 8000 good reviews, and one bad review, and a bad review is the one that everyone reads.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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