I'm sad to announce that I'm shutting down the DIY MiniITX laptop project. At least, for now. The reason is simple: the chance of recouping the investment needed are slim, and I need to focus on tasks that are more likely to generate an in income and keep the lights on.
It's always good to learn from experiences, both good and bad. So, let's go through some numbers...
- The only way I could justify the time & effort for the laptop project, was to turn it into a small commercial project. I would design a laptop kit to sell to other enthusiasts
- I estimated that I'd need to sell at least 100 kits to recoup the time & money invested without making it hideously expensive
- While I have over 100 on the laptop mailing list, only a fraction of those on the mailing list will actually buy when the time comes
- An IndieGoGo talk I attended, said that to run a successful crowdfunding campaign: **
- You need to reach >30% funded within 48 hours
- The mailing list is critical, and the typical mailing list "conversion rate" is 5% (i.e., only 5% will invest in the crowdfunding campaign)
- Given the numbers above, I would need at least 600 people on the mailing list
- The DIY laptop mailing list isn't even half way to 600
- Even worse, most on the mailing list want an Amiga laptop, and the A1222 still isn't available. The other MiniITX option (the Sam460ex) is also not available, and there's no sign of this changing any time soon***
Conclusion: The chance of success is slim to none.
In hindsight, I should have shut it down a long time ago. It was clear that the mailing list wasn't growing, but I really wanted to keep going. I hoped that if I kept going a little longer, then the situation would change. The ongoing lack of suitable MiniITX AmigaOS motherboards helped push me to face reality: commercially, this isn't going to work, and I cannot afford to waste time on it. I must focus on that which will pay the bills.
It's a harsh but valuable lesson: validate your business idea fast, and shut down nonviable projects ASAP. Otherwise you'll waste a lot of time and energy on something that people don't want and will never use (because you had to shut it down later).
My apologies to those who were genuinely interested. I'm saying "on hold" rather than "cancelled," because I'd still like to finish it sometime. However, that won't happen any time soon.
** These numbers are based on IndieGoGo's extensive data of successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns
*** DISCLAIMER: While some might consider me an insider, I have no special knowledge as to the availability of any new AmigaOS 4.x hardware.