[openbeos] Re: Joining the admin team?

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 12:54:21 -0700

Howdy Waldemar,

Waldemar Kornewald wrote:
On 5/11/07, Simon Porter <hailstorm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
My experience with finance etc doesn't go any further than looking after my own finances. I am an IT Engineer by profession, which in other words means
desktop support, systems admin, that kind of thing. One thing I do have
plenty of is time. I can easily spare a couple of evenings a week of my
time.

I guess that currently the work doesn't require a finance expert, so
I'd appreciate your help. First of all, we should probably get the
email notifications for donors setup. After that, I'd love to see a
way to setup a PayPal subscription where you can send a
monthly/quarterly donation (pre-defined or user-chosen amount). I can
give you access to our website, so you can extend the donations page.

You (and the other admins?) may be out of the loop, because this has already been done. Check it out for yourself:

http://haiku-os.org/community/donating_to_haiku

 I have already mentioned a few suggestions on the mailing list but
basically what I would like to work towards is greater transparency with
finances of Haiku Inc and encourage donations. It would also be nice to
offload some of the workload from Michael.

One thing you could help Michael with is setting up a simple system
which allows for selling our t-shirts.

This is already available online too. :)

I just have to wonder why this has not been announced...

It would also be nice to have a web shop (as has been discussed on
this list) via Cafepress/SpreadShirt/... and sell all kinds of
merchandising like shirts, bags, mugs, mouse pads, etc.. We need
people who lead that effort and design the shirts, etc. (hopefully
ones that don't make you look too geeky).

We (you and I) advocated having a CafePress-like shop last year, but unfortunately Michael did not like the idea: his argument was that CafePress charges too much, cutting into potential revenues. Michael prefers to maximize margins on a per item basis by producing the goods individually at lower cost and handling orders and shipping himself. Although it's Michael's choice, I think that's an unwise use of his obviously very limited time. I would prefer to see our project leader spend his time in addressing the big issues, rather than packing and shipping T-shirts.

My position on this (and yours, if my memory does not fail me) is that a shop like CafePress enables a *constant* revenue stream for the project through a wide variety of goods (not just T-shirts) that people can easily buy online with no other burden to Haiku than the initial setup of the shop and the goods. You don't even need an initial investment.

Using a CafePress-like service also gives you the possibility of using certain very low cost goods as vehicles for donations. For example, you could sell "I Support Haiku" or "I Support WalterCon" buttons at different price levels (ie., $20, $50, $100, etc.), so that people get a little something in return for their contribution as a form of extra incentive. Since the cost of the button adds just about $2 to the buyer's price, for the donator this is a very little price to pay for getting some tangible recognition for their contribution, plus it has a "spread the word" effect if he/she were to wear the button at, say, trade shows, school, user groups meetings, etc. It's just a matter of being a little creative.

Additionally, CafePress requires no initial investment; no matter how many goods you sell, you don't have to invest any money upfront. The alternative that Michael advocates is paying a vendor to produce Haiku goods, keeping a stock and selling them. This means that you have to make an initial investment and that carries certain risk (of having to sell a certain number of goods before you can recover your investment). It also limits the number of goods that you can offer to your availability of funds.

So, while Michael is correct in that the margins per item are lower with CafePress, I think he fails to realize that the potential for *overall revenue* would be significantly higher, since Haiku Inc./Michael alone could never possibly handle the variety of products that CafePress enables you to offer. Haiku just doesn't have the resources to produce as many goods individually and to handle orders and shipments manually.

This brings me to my next point...

If anyone has more suggestions please join our efforts!

So, it's not like people do not have ideas or do not make suggestions, but it's rather a problem of receptiveness (or lack thereof) on the part of Haiku Inc.. You come up with all sorts of great ideas, and for one reason or another, they all fall into deaf ears. If not, ask Karl vom Dorff about his Haiku Bounty initiative.

Which brings me yet to my next and final point...

And now that we're at it: We need marketing and finance experts. Also,
sometimes we need legal advice, so a lawyer would be very helpful
(this is not a time-consuming task, just a few questions from time to
time). Anyone who is an expert in one of those areas and wants to help
us, please shout!

Most (if not all) of the areas that have been neglected in the project and that you are asking help for are related to Haiku Inc. So, if Haiku Inc. does not become more receptive, forthcoming and responsive, then no matter how much the admins ask for help or how many people in the community may want to help out, I highly doubt that you can expect the situation to improve.

IMHO, and I have said this before, Haiku Inc. needs to change. Having a BOD with members that make no tangible contributions (as I believe has been the case for at least the last year) just leaves Michael with the entire burden, which is obviously not working, not for him, not for Haiku. Michael needs to focus on getting a BOD with members that have clearly defined roles and that will be actually engaged, and not just be a name on a piece of paper.

To find the right people, Haiku Inc. also needs to articulate what it needs beyond the just "we need experts in <FILL IN THE BLANK>!" on an email message which will go out of sight in no time. You need to give more details on what specific skill sets are needed and what the requirements/goals are for each role are, and you need to do it more prominently, openly and persistently. The Haiku website sounds like the logical place for this.

Cheers,

Koki


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