>ok, so we take our tiny budget and devote a significant portion of >it to pay for industrial designers, graphic artists, NRE on custom >molded plastics, extrusions, fancy sales literature, etc. DON'T do that. this Great Divide here is a perfect example. there's a single stencil on it, three color, dark pink, dark purple and white. the lettering is oversized in pink on the purple and the controls are white. really simple. >Sadly, we now don't have enough money after that to pay for another >software engineer and software QA person that we desperately need. You have a dramatically exaggerated idea what the cost of design is, particularly once amortized out over a lot of cases. I'm sure you could get a designer to do a really nice front panel design in perhaps 50 hours of work at $100 an hour. That's a really good designer and a lot of time and that's only $5000. That might get you one MONTH of a decent software engineer and no QA person at all. The EDP had to have SOME sort of front panel design made up and something was printed on it. That had to cost you something. To go from this printing to something nice would have been $2 per unit. To go to something really really nice would be $5 per unit. No, less. >yet another fiscal reality check: these are small companies doing >this. Tiny companies really. Or maybe tiny divisions of small >companies. Usually just 3 or 4 underpaid people tops, without >sufficient budget. There is not a lot of capital available. There is >not a large market available. There will not be a large return for >your investment. You have to manage these issues to make money. In >fact, you will be lucky not to lose money. You make choices. but it's an inferior choice to drop graphic design entirely, particularly since you can get something really quite nice really quite cheaply. Consider how many "sales features" the EDP has. in other words, you are in a music store and a knowledgeable salesman is trying to sell you on the item. how many features do you discuss? ten? ten is a lot. my Kurzweil sampler/synthesizer with a full signal processing board in it has about 12 *major* features -- there is a ton of detail within some of those sales features. let's say a dozen. that's a lot. If two programmers and two engineers worked on the unit for two years and cost $60,000 each a year (including FICA, benefits and all -- this is below market rates) then the whole thing cost 2*2*2*$60,000 or $480,000 which means that each of these dozen features cost $40,000 to make. This is a dramatic underestimate in fact. A major feature like "multiple loops" could take man years alone, hundreds of thousands of dollars. RESULT: each sales feature costs at least $40,000 and probably a heck of a lot more. But, and I hate to say this, *** design is at least as important to sales as almost any given individual sales feature *** By that reasoning, you should be willing to spend at least $40K extra on design! Surely an extra $10K or less should be completely acceptable? Now. You EDP folks, if you'd just "accept the note" and admit that a few grand in design would add hundreds of units to your sales, you have a major opportunity on your hands! Why not take the opportunity NOW that you are coming out with a new revision of the machine to call it "EDP 2"?! You can put a new coat of paint on the face, call it version II, and everyone will look at it again, even people who knew about it before. It'd boost flagging sales, it'd encourage people who already had one to get another, it'd boost people who are turned on to looping by the Repeater to look at a very different alternative. black and silver and white, that simple sort of thing, real typesetting, and it'll be done in a flash. /t http://whatGoes.com ................ extreme NY calendar. http://ax.to/fortune ......... a new fortune every minute. http://clikTrik.com .................. Many, many photos.