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Topic: How to sell your own ideas (Read 3 times) previous topic - next topic

Udo Klein

Mar 26, 2011, 09:45 am Last Edit: Mar 26, 2011, 10:11 am by Udo Klein Reason: 1
The kit idea is not really attractive to me. For several reasons:

- It limits the market.
- It most probably will cause more support requests
- It limits the choice of components, especially the more interesting stuff is small pitch SMD
- It does not ease any administrative overhead, especially the e-waste stuff. I am located in Germany so it does not really matter in what form I sell electronics. I immediately get the "benefits" of e-waste regulations which are ***very*** biased in favor of large companies. Once could come to the conclusion that the German government has an initiative running to restrict innovation to large companies. --> I might be able to sell "naked" boards but no kits unless I want to risk getting kicked by a lawyer. --> I better restrict myself to exporting stuff --> Even more overhead

So I am searching for a partner.
I already got offers by PM. I will not disclose them unless I have agreement to do so. I appreciate more offers :)

Check out my experiments http://blog.blinkenlight.net


Yeah I think I agree Udo. I've been looking at the products from Adafruit et al and for the most part they are pretty simple boards with PTH components. I think a complex SMD board is not suitable.

I already got offers by PM.

As a result of your thread the other day I assume. I'll have to do something similar I suspect, I have tried a couple of Australian companies with a view to having my boards manufactured, with no luck so far. I'm guessing China will be the place to go.

BTW, what the heck is e-waste?


Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

Udo Klein

E-waste regulations require that any legal entity selling electronics must ensure that these electronics gets disposed properly. If I understand it right the implementation is that collection and returning is centralized. So you must register per product (not per company). This costs money front up. Then the fun starts. Since it is to expensive to separate your stuff from others you get waste returns by weight. Since it is to expensive to deal with small stuff the smallest amount of waste that returns to you is one container that you have to dispose / get rid of. If you sell less than one container per year, then you take part in the "lottery". Basically this lottery works as follows: if a container is full they will look at the difference of sold vs. disposed. So if you are unlucky you may sell some boards and get such a container. As I understand it this has already killed some small business because they where not prepared to dispose a container of e-waste after selling maybe 100 boards or so.

In order to avoid this you have several options:
1) Ignore it and get kicked with some legal challenges --> not really a good idea
2) Find a partner who deals with this stuff
3) Take part in some disposal pooling (cost money of course).

So you may have to invest several 100 Euros per year just to avoid any of the e-waste trouble. Or you go for the risk. I have absolutely no clue how high the risk of ignoring it really is. You also have to deal with quite some red tape.

Hence my comment that this is biased in favor of large companies. If you sell >10 000 copies of the same thing the e-waste stuff is a reasonable system for you. However they forgot about the smaller companies or prototype runs. If the process would be: "if you stay below 100kg/year then just register your company, tell the sold weight per year and pay this amout per kg (or nothing at all)", then I would not say biased. But the way it is you have a significant entrance barrier for small enterprises.

So anyone in China can slap together 100 boards sell them through Ebay from China and ship them to Germany. Nobody would notice. And even if: the sale happenened in China, so German law does not apply. Products might (unlikely) by confiscated by border controls. But this places risk on the customers who will not face any significant charge. It follows that you have a very hard time to compete with Chinese. Again this is harder for small companies.


Check out my experiments http://blog.blinkenlight.net


Why not "test the waters" with an E-bay store?  It's a minimal investment and might give you an idea of the demand for your product.
I2C GPS Shield

Checkout my Open Source GPS Tracker on Kickstarter


True but doesn't help with manufacturing or Udo's e-waste problem.

In my case at least I don't want (can't) to make 100 boards and really I don't want to deal with the fulfillment side of things.

One thing I can see that would be good about eBay is that you can advertise say 3 items, if they sell you can make more but you never said there would be a large supply from the start. Using normal process you have to "gear up" in case you get 100s of orders and then you're stuck if you don't. The other way around is just as bad because you piss off prospective customers because you can't fulfill orders.

Now if you could get a manufacturer to to 10 that would also respond quickly with another 100 if needed that would be ideal.
Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

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