Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flextegrity Sales

Still Life

Given the limited stash of V.3, our initial thought was to host these diplomatic /MVP events without any promise of getting to haul some away. Wandereres already does a lot of events of this nature, with visiting dignitaries, cognoscenti and technorati, so this workshop model represents an extension of pre-existing practices.

The price of admission might include some Flextegrity though. With enough draw to these workshops, we could justify more production on the back end. A waiting list of queued participants would be sufficient to suggest triggering a shipment. We also discussed the possibility of moving production on-shore. Ejection molding costs might be higher in Washington and/or Oregon, but transportation costs would be lower.

The initial workshops would often involve training new workshop leaders in turn prepared to train additional workshop leaders: the usual exponential fanning-out one expects from a startup, with the possibility to taper off after an initial growth spurt, in order to stay relatively manageable ("uncontrolled growth" or "big for the sake of big" are not Quaker business values, so I tend to steer clear of those when sketching a business plan).

The currently envisioned workshops are about applied materials more generally. Glenn has inventory of leather, antler, shell... stone, many of the raw materials for tool making. Gaining proficiency in some art or craft is not a threat to one's resume, if seeking knowledge worker training in software tools, television production, chip design or other high technology skills. Neolithic and Martian Math go together, per Oregon Curriculum Network heuristics.

More recently however, the studio has gone back to a $3/ball figure, including springs. A kit featuring 12-around-1 would go for about $39, rounding to $40, then adding $10 for shipping and handling, perhaps already assembled. $50 for a cool cuboctahedron made of 13 icosahedra, held in stasis by springs: you'd be the only kid on your block to have one, at least for awhile yet.

We have a rather short list of customers for whom this offer might be available. In these initial stages, they would rank as co-investors, in on the ground floor of an art and/or engineering school supply business. Developing these kits in earnest would only happen if we went back to the factory and asked for a new shipment. Given the currently soft market for anything so avant-garde and futuristic, we're not inclined to build inventory at too high a rate. Patrick has been sharing some simulations.

These are classic problems such as Harvard Business School types need to face every day. In place of widgets, we have Flextegrity. Other future products might include packaged tours of duty, work / study opportunities around Oregon. Not every good or service is salable by mail order.