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Re: Looper development and production costs?

At 09:46 AM 10/17/2001, Tom Ritchford wrote:
>>it always comes from somebody who's never actually done such a project.
>Well, I have done such projects.  Check my resume.  

I checked but didn't see much that looked like full consumer electronics 
product development for specialty markets other than a 6 month stint in 
mid 80's working on a guitar synth and a couple years doing an OS for a 
pocket computer, but even then you were just dealing with the programming 
as far as your resume indicates. Looks like you mostly do high level 
programming for internet applications and financial services companies. I 
don't see how that would give you any experience to know the details of 
a faceplate on a piece of rack gear really goes from concept to shipping. 
Maybe I missed something, but it seems to me like that kinda makes my 
point. It always seems easy from the point of view of people who have 
done it. (BTW, you have spelling and grammar errors on your resume.)

now, if Harvey were disagreeing with me, I could respect that because I 
know he's been through this stuff a lot more than me.

>>>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 
>>to find good embedded real-time software engineers or good dsp engineers 
>>or good hardware engineers who work that cheap. Maybe you can get 
>>somebody who writes windows apps or java script for that price, but the 
>>salary paid for specialized skills and experience you need for 
>>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.
>Yes, of course, I write computer code myself.
>I deliberately chose low-ball numbers to be unfair to my own argument...
>so that I'd get a number you couldn't possibly dispute as being too high.
>If I used realistic numbers, you'd get something like 1 feature == 
>and then my argument would go:  "by that measure, you should be
>willing to spend $100,000 on design".
>I imagine that result would have been even less attractive to you.

I guess I don't get your argument. You don't have that much money to play 
with in this business, that is the point. If you need 4 engineers for 2 
years at $120k/yr salary and benefits, that's close to $1M right there 
without even paying office rent or the costs to ramp up production. That's 
a big R&D bill for a tiny business in a tiny market. You don't have 
resources, so you have to make choices. No outcome will be ideal, you just 
have to do your best with what you've got available. If you cut one 
engineer in order to pay for professionally done visual design, you might 
never finish the product at all and find yourself really far in debt. If 
you keep the engineers and get one of their girlfriends to do the graphics 
for nothing and take whatever result you can get, well, at least you got 
the product done.

And the last thing your gonna do, is divert those people from the current 
project in order to redo the graphics on the last one just because 
who isn't going to buy it anyway didn't care for the logo.


Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com