#qi-hardware IRC log for Monday, 2015-05-18

rjeffrieswpwrak any anelok news?15:01
wpwrakrjeffries: mainly behind the scenes work15:10
wpwraki have a new logo in the works, but i still need to get clearance to release it15:11
rjeffriesstill exploring battery options one mightt assume15:11
wpwrakand then there's the eternal topic of trying to find someone who could run the anelok company. lots of time spent on this without tangible results so far :-(15:12
rjeffrieswhy do you not wish to be in charge?15:12
wpwrakthis it becoming the main blocker these days. with most of the rest, i'm pretty much as far as i can go15:13
wpwrakoh, many reasons:15:13
wpwrak1) i don't know enough about running a company to get this right, especially where compliance is concerned15:14
wpwrak2) if i created a company in argentina, that would be useless. if i created it abroad, from here, this would be very difficult and expensive.15:15
rjeffriesnods (had not thought of that angle)15:15
wpwrak3) even a company abroad but owned by me would have me as the owner under the argentine legal system, which i don't trust.15:16
wpwrakso i basically need someone who knows the basics of running a company (and who has access to help if there are holes in that knowledge), is willing to set it up, complete with a bank account, and has time and interest to run it, do the paperwork, and such15:18
wpwraka small complication is that crowdfunding or -investment/-loaning/etc. is a non-standard process, so that person doesn't have to be afraid of this and have some willingness to explore the options15:19
larscI think there are companies in the cayman islands that specialise in such services15:19
wpwrakdetails depend on what local laws apply and such15:19
wpwraklarsc: yes, no problem. for something like 5 kEUR i could get a "fully managed" offshore company :)15:20
rjeffriesI assume crowdfunding is A) possible and B) has a decent chance of success.15:21
rjeffriesIs USA a desirable location for the company, or do you reject it?15:22
wpwrakto the ~5k, add some fees for necessary extras (like getting a bank account), but i guess with about 10k, all would be taken care of. at my current savings rate, i could afford that in about -3 or -4 years. now where did i put that time machine again ... ? ;-)15:22
wpwrakrjeffries: for the first phase, i'd like to try crowd-loan or -investment instead of crowdfunding. three main reasons:15:23
rjeffrieswhat are your compliance concerns? are you talking about e.g. FCC and similar in Europe/ Since anelok is low voltage there are no saftey concerns15:24
wpwraka) reduce the amount of money that needs to be moved early,15:24
wpwrakb) to reduce the number of people we need to convince, and15:24
wpwrakc) to have a more mature product with a shorter time to delivery when doing the crowdfunding -> higher appeal.15:24
rjeffriesexplain to me how crowd-loan etc might work. I am ignorant of that concept15:25
wpwrak(usa) it's a possibility. US have the problem of a large local troll population, but the regulations for doing business seem to be pretty friendly. i wouldn't expect anelok to trigger much government interference.15:26
wpwrakanother disadvantage of US would be from a marketing side, being the home of the NSA :) but then, it would be kinda hard to find a country that doesn't have similar or worse issues ...15:27
rjeffriesactually setting up a business here in US is pretty straight ahead. Agree about negative aspect of NSA, but that is a global issue.15:28
wpwrak(compliance) bookkeeping, tax filings and such, paying the right taxes at the right time. the boring stuff ;) FCC and such are a separate issue, but that's one i know better.15:28
wpwrak(setting up is easy) yes, in many countries it's almost trivial. takes some USD 100-200 out of your pocket for administrative fees, and that's about it.15:29
rjeffriesI find that using a solid honest Certified Public Accountant (CPA) works for small business. Not cheap but very managable cost15:30
rjeffriesgetting the accounting right is the key. taxes must be handled by the book. period.15:30
wpwrak(crowd-loan) the idea is that backers don't place what's effectively a pre-order (i.e., the kickstarter model), but give a loan or make an investment into the project15:31
wpwrakthis has the following benefits over crowdfunding:15:31
rjeffriesside question, pls be patient for a moment: how does anelok help a user when they have a mobile phone? I understand the PC use case better15:31
wpwraki) you only need to find enough money to complete the next steps, not as much as you need until production (or, alternatively, you can lie about how much you really need. which is what most kickstarters seem to do.)15:32
wpwrakii) since each person's contribution is limited only by how much the person wants to put into it, but not by the cost of the product, there can be considerably more money per backer than with crowdfunding15:34
rjeffriesI like this crowd loan idea, a LOT. Besides I think your odds of success are pretty high. not 100 percent but well into the 90 percent range15:35
wpwrakiii) lower total amount + higher per-person amount = a much smaller number of backers is needed. hence the campaign can be simpler, too, and the product doesn't have to be as polished/mature as it should to be for crowdfunding15:35
rjeffriesunderstood. SOLD.15:35
wpwrakiv) it matches the cost structure of a project that still has significant R&D to do much better than crowdfunding. crowdfunding is perfect if your r&d is done and all you need is to start producing. but the more r&d you have, the less honest the campaign typically becomes :)15:37
wpwrakdrawbacks of crowdloaning/-investment:15:37
wpwrakA) less established concept, so it may be difficult to find backers who trust it15:38
wpwrakB) there are legal limitations to what you can do. e.g., can you promise, say, an interest ? or some sort of participation in gains ?15:38
wpwrakC) likewise, some forms of participation may incur hefty reporting and oversight requirements. e.g., can you just sell shares and make your own rules, or do you face many restrictions ?15:39
rjeffriesin a way, it's a way to raise a small "Angel" funding round, so yeah, legal issues would be a bit tricky15:40
wpwrakthat also varies a lot from country to country. so this needs [access to] some expertise15:40
rjeffriesIn US this is angel financing pure and simple.15:40
wpwrak(CPA) yes, probably the best path. unless the person running the shop has the necessary knowledge. one issue is that the thing has to be able to start with very little money. so anything that requires major upfront spendings before we can get funds from the community is a no-go (unless the future director has such cash sitting around)15:43
wpwrakah, and the form of incorporation should be one that limits liability. again, the can be more or less cumbersome, depending on country15:44
rjeffriesagreed. In US a low-cost approach is called a Limited Liability Corporation or LLC. not expensive to establish, but does incur ongoing costs per year.15:45
wpwrakbut i think many places now have some form of low-overhead Ltd. e.g., in .de it was the case that you needed at least 20 kEUR as company capital to start an Ltd., but then lots of germans started their Ltd. in the UK, because there are no such requirements. in a surprising act of agility, the german government then introduced a pretty lean variant that has no such obstacles15:46
wpwrakyes, LLC sounds about right. what's the ongoing cost ?15:47
wpwrakfor defining the funding concept, one would have to determine a) what is actually possible with reasonable effort, b) what would potential backers accept (we can try the qi-hw community for reactions on that), c) and of course also have an idea of how much money the thing needs. which in turn also depends on operational costs (the R&D side is easier :)15:50
rjeffriesunderstood. will investigate ongoing LLC cost in California. (Need a couple of days max)15:51
wpwrakthere are also other forms than an LLC that may be worth a look, e.g., a cooperative or a "club". those forms would emphasize the participatory nature, especially of the investors, but would limit what the entity can do, and may (or may not) have additional paperwork requirements15:53
wpwrakgenerally speaking, clubs tend to be easy to set up and seem to have good means to limit liability, but they can't make gains. however, that doesn't stop them from doing other things that are worth money. i.e., there are people who work at a non-profit or even charity and live rather comfortable lives :)15:54
rjeffriesinteresting idea15:57
rjeffrieshave reached out to an old friend who has doen angel investing (NOT to ask him for money) rather to get ideas15:57
wpwrakexcellent, thanks !15:58
rjeffriesclub idea may have merit. we have a "not for profit" corportaion in US, pretty difficult to get approval.15:58
wpwrakis the approval difficulty for "not for profit" or for "charity" ? as i understand it, charities are difficult, but non-profit shouldn't be15:59
wpwrakas i understand it, charities have the benefit that donations are tax-deductible while a non-charity does not enjoy such benefits. so that makes charities interesting if you tax system has bumps, e.g., if your tax function is f(), and you have conditions where X - f(X) < (X+Y) - f(X+Y) with X some reference income/wealth/etc. and Y > 0 an increment16:02
wpwrakif you have that case, it makes sense, financially, to "burn" those Y in a tax-deductible way16:02
wpwrakso that may be one of the reasons why people are interested getting charity approval, even if it's painful. but i don't see anelok going in this direction.16:03
rjeffriesI need to look into non-profit more. There has to be some social benefit if I understand correctly, so yes, they are considered charities and do not pay tax, which is a big deal.16:03
rjeffriesI think it would be a dead end for what you need to do, so we agree16:04
wpwrakaccording to wikipedia, there seem to be many grades of NPOs in the US: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonprofit_organization#United_States16:06
rjeffrieswillread that16:07
wpwrakright above it, there's the UK model, which may be simpler (or maybe just lacks details), which is basically how i picture all that stuff16:08
wpwraki.e., an NPO simply doesn't make profits, i.e., it can't pay shareholders or such, while a charity is more complicated16:09
rjeffriesactually I now remember a Santa Barbara (80 miles away) organization with a makerspace did get non-profit corporation set up16:09
wpwrakyup, that makes sense16:09
rjeffriesand like you said, NPOs are famous for having decent compenation for staff. nothing wrong with that IMO16:09
wpwrakfor an NPO, the question would then be what it could do for backers. e.g., could it pay interest on private loans ? somewhere there must a limit before it becomes just a for-profit, but i don't know where that limit is16:11
rjeffriesI doubt it is the way to get started quickly, but may be wrong16:12
rjeffriespeople who loan money will want to make some return16:12
wpwrakthat would seem plausible. also as a compensation the opportunity cost and for the risk they're taking16:14
wpwrakof course, if such return would be relatively small in value, it could be in terms of "gifts" from the production line, in addition to paying back a loan16:14
wpwrakagain, any such plan would need checking if it crosses some legal boundaries16:15
rjeffriesthat's a clever thought. may be in a gray area legally however.16:17
rjeffriesdon't want to encourage chaing ghosts but  is there any chance anelok can also serve as a tool for two factor authentication? Ubikey seems to own that space from the little I know16:19
wpwrakyubikey, yes they seem to be doing quite well16:20
rjeffriesthey do noy do exactly what anelok does, correct16:21
wpwrakand, well, at the end of the day, anelok is a little general-purpose computer. so if you want to turn it into a tetris game console, compute digits of pi, or such, that's all your choice :)16:21
wpwrakthe only constraints are memory and cpu power. so if your two-factor system uses algorithms with high overhead, that could be a problem16:22
rjeffriesthat may be a hidden (not so hidden) strength of your platform. If it caught on and was leveraged for a few other use cases...16:22
wpwraki want the anelok system to be "open". have a way for developers to put their own modules into the firmware. and have a process for elevating 3rd part modules also to "official" status16:23
wpwrakand of course, if you get a developer version, you can do as you please. e.g., make it run just that tetris :)16:24
wpwraksomeone suggested "pong" using the radio interface :)16:24
wpwrakthe open architecture also means that anyone you trust could provide a customized bundle, without needing any approval from anelok-company16:26
wpwrakall they need are non-locked boards (locked = only signed firmware is accepted)16:27
wpwrakand as an intermediate step, customers could also add new firmware signatures. lots of possibilities.16:28
wpwrak(of course, none of this is implemented yet. right now, it'll happily load whatever firmware is offered via USB, without a second thought :)16:29
rjeffriesanyway let's not go down a rathoel about a "what if"16:50
rjeffriesneed to go. nice chatting. will let you know what I learn16:52
wpwrakgreat, thanks !16:54
wpwrakwhat's a bit galling about such things is that there are people who manage all this sort of stuff with disdainful ease, yet it feels like mission impossible for lowly engineers like me ...16:55
wpwrakrjeffries: there are a lot of these now, yes. they're all very location-specific and you need to be able to take a 3 month break for this. besides, this one is about sw only, not hw.19:55
wpwrakthe concept is called "incubator". you basically take a team with ideas and put it in the incubator, which provides the infrastructure. not a bad idea per se, but you basically need to find one at the location of the team (tricky with anelok: for now, the "team" is basically just me - growing a developer community will be one of the next challenges the project has to face), plus it has to be compatible with what you're trying to do19:58
nicksydney_wpwrak: http://mcuoneclipse.com/2015/05/17/tinyk20-open-source-arm-debuguniversal-board-first-prototypes/23:27
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