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Re: Looper development and production costs?

Kim, I've got to hand it to you for having the patience to answer these
questions. People don't know what it's about until spent a month re-writing
code that was supposed to take only a week tops while being sidetracked
because someone decided to use anodized screws to make a ground connection
or a silscreen was mis-registered or a PCB run was over-etched or an
assembler mis-read an assembly drawing or your shop compressor blew a
head-gasket or the paint mfg discontinued your paint and the replacement
isn't compatible with your already primed parts or your 2nd-source mfg of
an IC discontinued production and the main source now has a 2K pc. minimum
or there are no memory chips or tantalum caps because the cell phone
industry has swallowed them all... et al... and to think you could be paid
3 times as much to write an embedded guidance system for a cruise missile
and take long sushi/sake lunches and paid vacations. But the music biz is
so glamorous...

>>>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.
>well, I do this for a living, but maybe I'm full of crap.
>>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.
>it's funny how I go through this so often in my professional life.
>"It's simple!"
>"it only costs $x!"
>"it will only take a few days of work!"
>it always comes from somebody who's never actually done such a project. 
>Then somebody experienced in the field who actually has to do the work 
>says, "no it will take more than that, it is not so simple."  That person 
>gets shouted down because nobody wants to hear that doom and gloom story 
>reality. Fantasy project management is so much more fun!  Of course, 
>somehow you never get to say "I told you so" later when the project is a 
>complete fucking disaster. but that's how it goes, my life is a dilbert 
>>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.
>>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.
>uh, what decade are you talking about? You have to go to the third world 
>find good embedded real-time software engineers or good dsp engineers or 
>good hardware engineers who work that cheap. Maybe you can get somebody 
>writes windows apps or java script for that price, but the salary paid 
>specialized skills and experience you need for developing something like 
>the EDP are at least double that. Where I live it's even higher. for good 
>contractors, you're talking $150 - $300/hour.
>>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.
>no, not really. I did it myself because I believed design was important, 
>much as you and Mark have been saying, and other people didn't. Mostly I 
>did it in my spare time, but I didn't get paid much anyway in those days 
>it probably wouldn't have made a difference. I used the copies of 
>illustrator and quark and the large font library I had "borrowed" from 
>printing company I worked at during college. I used the typesetting and 
>page layout skills I had acquired during that job as best I could. I 
>we spent about $25 to get films done at a service bureau for the silk 
>screen. There ya go, do it on the cheap or don't do it at all. Hate to 
>burst you guy's bubbles, but that's the way things get done in the little 
>niches of the music industry.
>G-Wiz was a small new division then. There wasn't a big budget, there 
>weren't many people working there, and the echoplex was the bottom 
>project of the pile. the FAR synth, ZIPI, Infinity controller - those 
>the glamor projects that got what there was of the attention, the 
>the resources. The ugly duckling looper project seemed like a long shot. 
>This was before the jamman even, so nobody really was sure what to think 
>the idea. I liked it though, so I worked on it. Or I was assigned to it 
>because I was the lowest guy there. The Echoplex amazed us all by being 
>of the few things that actually made it to a real product, and continues 
>live long after g-wiz died. That is true because of determination and 
>getting things done by any means you can find.
>>>yet another fiscal reality check:  these are small companies doing 
>>>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 
>>>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.
>in my opinion, we did get something nice for cheap. Just some people are 
>real picky is all. It could have been worse, we could have used Matthias' 
>design. ;-)
>>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.
>in fact, that has been my plan for a long time. I love deceptive 
>and sales tricks. Probably all we need to add is a pointy read bubble 
>"New and Improved!" in the middle. Or maybe the Digital Pro Plus XL?
>>black and silver and white, that simple sort of thing,
>>real typesetting, and it'll be done in a flash.
>Not pink and purple? haha... I'm still waiting for an explanation of 
>parts of my typesetting are not real. did I get the kerning wrong 
>Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
>kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com