Moving Units

Hey! How many of these things do you guys think I should make?
Last run was 200. This one will be more badass but I'm not sure if that means more people will want it. It'll have a case option too.


  • You definitely have more momentum this time around. Maybe a cool 500?
  • i reckon it would take a LONG time to sell 500...
  • A general idea of the price would help. 500 does seem like a bit much.
  • I agree with gorgiv - I would aim for a 200 max in the first run. if the demand is there - do another run ... and so on.

    500 is too much imo.
  • I guess the difference in price is the ultimate deciding factor but I agree about 500 being a bit much..
  • edited September 2010
    Well it depends on the price break to you on doing the pcb run. Olivier sold out 50 kits just now and is doing some 200 in three weeks. Maybe order 500 pcbs but only do 200 kits at first , say 50/50/100 in release. Most of us will take one, some two. How many registered/active in your forum, versus inactive, all that business stuff. Olivier's count down worked like stink, but you don't want to be like Johnny Depp in Blow, looking for somewhere to put the money or unshipped yet kits, try the back room, s'full, try the closet etc. If the pcb's are a big cost but big price break item then do it. Or go 300 pcbs parts for 100 kits if its fast to reorder?
  • edited September 2010
    I'd compare notes with Oliver, if you haven't already done so.
    The Shruthi-1 will be his second time around and I know he's planning a couple production runs.
    Edit: his first run is 50 units. Edit edit: you're probably in constant contact with him. Edit 3 (the remix): yeah, those guys have already said all that.

    I have no solid facts on the matter, but I know my WTPA has piqued the interest of all of my music-making friends.
    Once Matrixsynth, CDM, et al. start posting about your wares (as they did last time), the first 200 should go even faster than the OG WTPA.

    Gosh, who would you even ask about this who has actual experience? Maybe that OTO Biscuit guy. (Oh, and please don't sell the WTPA2 for the price of of those Biscuits! Part of the charm of the WTPA was that it was affordable!)

    If there's anything else to say on the matter, I think it would be that there might be an upper-limit of how many you could sell, considering that there aren't all that many DIY'ers out there. (Well, even if there are "a lot", how many more than 200 are there? That being said, I hope you sell a million!)
  • A few notes:

    The last time I mass-mailed people about the Shruti-1 kits available it was all "I was in a different timezone and sleeping", "I was at the dentist's", "My email client is configured to fetch mail every hour" - so I decided to give everybody a notice time so they could get ready. Communicating about time is hard: "the store opens at 4 PM CEST" is not very obvious. So let's put a "The store will open in 18 hours". Except that it's now 17h59... And this is how I ended up with a countdown. If you think about it, that's the only sane user interface to communicate what I had to communicate. The drawback is that people ordered like crazy in the first minutes without checking their order carefully. Will know better next time! I hate pre-order because I don't want to hold people's money on something I can't immediately deliver. Waiting lists are a pain to manage and people moves in and out all the time.

    I think there's an audience for the WTPA and that it is not getting enough attention. I'm on several music forums in France (audiofanzine, soundkonfusion), there are dozens of DIYer here having built arduinomes, Midiboxes, voice of saturns, but none of them have heard of the WTPA. Making sure that all the people that would be genuinely interested in your product are exposed to it in one form or another (via matrixsynth, CDM, or a youtube video gone viral) doesn't qualify to me as soulless marketing. I hate pushing my products to the face of people who wouldn't be certain they would want it (they end up whining a lot and wreck havoc on forums) and to avoid that I have several strategies - *not* trying to sound badass in the product name being my favorite. So it's not like because your product has been on the CDM homepage or featured on a local european music forum that you'll get plenty of "customers of the wrong kind". In other words, don't be scared of trying to spread the word more about the WTPA - if the boards have yellow silkscreen on purple, you will only attract the right people.

    Oh and maybe you should have a mailing list or something to keep people's email address - just look at the number of emails on the list and divide by 3, then add the half of the number of people who wrote more than 100 words - and you wouldn't be asking this question :)

    I personally think there are more than 200 persons interested in it.
  • *don't hate me: a swish website would be nice and draw peeps in.
  • My $0.02:

    * I think the addition of an orderable faceplate/case will make a big difference in enticing people to buy. When I was first starting DIY projects, that was one of the big disincentives around some projects, knowing that even when I had built the guts, I would have to figure out the case.

    * Agree with o0otini around the web site. Even if it wasn't all "swish", if it just had more photos, audio examples, video. That stuff is hard and a pain, but I think it makes a big difference in getting people to buy.

    * Unless you get major price breaks above 200, I'd start there. It will allow you to gauge interest, and then you'll know if/how many more to make.
  • If it helps, I would be happy to make a demonstrative video (and audio clip) for the webpage, running through the features, all legit like.

    This shit rocks hard, and if it helps you sell more shit, which in turn will help you design more shit, I'm all for it.
  • Is there a wait list? I suppose I'll be checking the site daily for a while 8-D
  • edited September 2010
    There have been 2,000+ views of the wtpa? video I put up on youtube a year ago. Some of them are interested.
    I think the countdown was good as a pre-promo cause it also gave people time to make up their mind about comitting.
    When its ready we can all spread the word.
  • re dan's faceplate comment, having a case available or even a ponoko template for a case would be a plus.
  • All good comments. Thanks. Here's what I think--

    On Things To Do Different This Time:
    I did have a mailing list; it's woefully out of date. The "swish" site is about 80% complete.
    There are a million videos (though there are very few thorough ones) and pics and whatnot and mostly I blame myself for not collating them too well.

    I agree that the case will make a big difference. I was up late last night getting pricing and dims for the connector daughterboard (which will replace the hardware kit -- so you can't wire anything wrong, at least without trying REALLY hard to wire it wrong) and all hat should be ready to go at the same time the kit is released.

    Further, a big problem with the initial WTPA release was that everything got finished piecemeal. CDM and Hackaday posted about it before the kit was available (bad) and there were no manuals for like the first month (also bad) and there was no forum for a while after that (ditto) and I realized I didn't have the right supplies for international shipping until after many orders were in (badder than bad). Hopefully all that will be better this time.

    Initially I picked 200 units because it worked out the best pricing wise, which had a lot to do with the fact that I buy pots by the 1000. It sounds like a good number to me too for an initial run. Not too small, and once those boards are gone it gives me the opportunity to fix anything stupid that makes it into the hardware. If I got 1000 boards, any problems on them would likely be around forever.

    Release Schedule:
    I am shooting for a realistic release date of about November 20. This allows ordering for the holidays and for me to put this project to bed before 2011. It's barely enough time to get pots from China, but should be realistic for everything else.

    I also started writing a proper release schedule (feature freeze, first proto, first case, kits made, website done, mass email, sleepless nights, manuals finished, nervous breakdown, etc etc) which I hope to post in the next couple days.

    Best Guess on Pricing As Of This Minute:
    Pricing will be a lot less than the Biscuit ($600) although if I do end up getting it together to sell a finished model (not a kit) it will not be a WHOLE lot less than that.

    Kits will be more than the OG WTPA, to factor in some component changes and also paying for getting somebody else to handle shipping -- we all agree I suck at that.

    I'm guessing $90 +/- $5 right now for the simple WTPA kit. There will be no SRAM option (it is through hole in WTPA2 -- thanks again @graham).
    The flash memory boards will be sold as a tested unit (they're deeply SMT -- easy for me to build with a stencil and reflow, but hard for DIY) and will probably be $25 or so.
    Not sure on the case cost yet, depends on some quotes that are out. I'd like this to be cheap but I'd rather have it be badass.
    As I see it now, the connector daughterboard will be roughly $30. This is more than I'd like, but doesn't use the shittiest jacks available -- all the jacks will have a panel nut or mounting screws so they don't flex. There will be 2*(1/4") Audio jacks, 2*MIDI, one 2.1 * 5.5mm DC barrel connector, one switching 1/4" jack for the CV in to the clock, and one toggle switch for the Bank B clock mode (independent / slave to VCO). That's a lot of mechanical parts, plus screws, standoffs, and pinheaders. But again, the design tenet here is that when something can be more badass for a few dollars more, spend the few dollars.

    There will only be a few bare boards (if any) this time because it's annoying to ship them. Maybe a couple dozen. If I sell them, I'll sell MCUs too. If firmware updates are a pain in the ass still, I'll sell MCUs.

    So then as of right now it looks like less than $200 for a WTPA2 kit plus a case, hardware board, and permanent memory. Or $90 (ish) for just the WTPA2. That's about as good as I can do and still keep crappy domestic beer in the fridge.

    How's this all sound?

  • Sounds like a party
  • Down with everything but the limited bare PCB availability. I am at the point where my queue has grown quite large and getting bare boards when available is a much more attractive than a kit of parts of which I already have 70% of. Plus, more often than not, I dont use the kit parts due to case requirements and so forth.
  • That all sounds good.

    It's more than the 1st, but still crazy cheap (for what it is). All the diff price points will be good, as those that want the case/daughter crap can spend the bread and get it all, or for those that will rehouse/reappropriate the plain kit will due.
  • I'm on board.

    I love the idea of offering a complete "deluxe" (chromed-out?) version as well. This is where you'll be able to make some serious bank, especially if you're able to market it better by throwing a couple videos, demos, etc. up on your swanky new website.
  • $200? I'd pay $250 to keep you in better beer. Hell, $250 and I'll make you some Absinthe.

    That is very cheap for what it is. And with a badass case, I agree you will sell more.
    I'll drink whatever kool-aid you make, fella.
  • 200 for an everything kit sounds goooooood! *thumbsup*
  • count me in!
  • sounds good to me. I'm in
  • there like swimwear!

    For $200- show the world where the party is really at! =)
  • todd, what kind of buttons are using in the kit btw? just asking because i love these arcade buttons (even the smaller ones) *hint*
  • If I wasn't more broke than usual, it would be awesome to get on board...
  • That's great Todd! I 'll be in for a kit+hw+permanent memory
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