Sunday, March 12, 2017

Your Uncles Alders

“My Uncles Alders” is certainly an interesting story to hear about. There were certainly a lot of good lessons to be had within it as well.

It shows just how quickly one could find themselves in a business opportunity, where it couldn’t have been the closest thing that you had in mind from the start. I personally wouldn’t have known what I would have done if I was put into his shoes. I might have just made enough for my friends and left it at that. Though, the prospect of being able to make that amount of money just from my own sweat equity would be certainly tempting. I imagine at that point if I was offered the chance to make this a small business and go forward developing that product, I most certainly would have at least tried. At worst, it would have ended up failing, and would have lost only some of my time. But, if it were to end up becoming a success, it could have ended up a decision that would potentially change my life for the better. It was also interesting to see that not everyone in the class saw it this way. Some felt that it might not be worth the work of developing the product, which I couldn’t see personally. Though, I do like to work with my hands, depending on the project. So being able to make something with my own hands, and being able to maybe make some good money from it, and potentially make a small to sizable business from it seems very worth if nothing else the attempt. Which, I suppose is one of the primary reasons why this class peeks my interest so much. I, if nothing else, would like to say that I tried. Because it is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. Documentary

Startup.Com was an eye-opening documentary to say the least. It was easy to follow thankfully, especially after seeing at the end of it just how much happened during that era. It was funny in retrospect, I thought this was in part a reenactment of the events that took place during the company’s activities, but to my surprise it was not. This fact by itself was impressive to me, since a lot happened in such a short amount of time. They were certainly characters though, Kaleil and Tom. From the onset, you could tell exactly how their personalities and actions would play out. Keleil was very outgoing, go-get-em type attitude towards trying to constantly get the company into a stronger state. This is seen especially well when after meeting with the president, he has the drive to give him a business card. I don’t think I could ever see myself doing that over most any situation. Tome however was much more subdued, and at times seemed disconnected from what was best for the company. I was shocked when I heard him say that it was “fine” if the company were to go under. That is most certainly not the type of person you want to oversee a business, particularly one that is struggling.  I think it was also interesting to think about the fact that the person who made it out of this whole event the best was the third partner, who quit very early on.

At the end of the day, it’s surprising to think about just how low you can start out at and how high you can build yourself off from nothing, just for it all to fall and be back to where you started. to Dot.Bomb

This was certainly an entertaining “visit” to say the least. I really appreciated the dinosaur presentation, as I felt it added a bit of dramatic flair to the entire presentation. It also nailed two primary facets that were prudent to his discussion and story.

The first being the fact that competition during that era was rough, wild, and often just as violent as anything back in pre-historic times. It was surprising to see just how quickly everything and anything could rise to power so to speak, regardless if it was a good idea or not. Thinking that a company could become popular just because it had a website is a little mind blowing considering just how common they are in current times. Granted, it was a new facet that was never explored, or explored in such a way that was profitable, until that era.  Some, if not most companies were just after a quick buck, regardless of their qualifications to do so. This ultimately lead to there being many buyouts, sells, and trading of company ownership and companies in general.

The second reason it was an apt description was due to the mass extinction event that occurred at the end of the era. Many companies were lost, and couldn’t recover in any sense. I find it funny just how quick and how fast it all happened, and how there were even some sites dedicated to telling others what company was going to go under next. Though, in a way I am glad that it happened, as it did help to lead us to in a way respect the power of the information trading and sharing age that we are in today.

Mission and Vision Statement

Mission Statement:

“Dungeons and Models goal is to give our customers the freedom and choice to not compromise with their vision of how they want to play”.
With my mission statement, I wanted to give our customers the feeling of freedom when designing models with our products. Since full customization is my primary focus with the product, I feel that its important to give that same emphasis to all the consumers, current and future. I do feel that this could be worded and explained in a better fashion however. I feel that it is a bit wordy, and might exclude those who don’t play table top games. Overall direction might also be a concern as it doesn’t say what my product is out to accomplish. However, I’m not sure what exactly I would do to improve this statement, as I often have trouble explaining what is on my mind a good amount of the time.

Vision Statement:

“Our goal as a company is to further expand the creativity to all players that feel limited by their current models, and work to create the best table top gaming environment imaginable”

I again feel that this might be on the wordy side of what a vision statement should be. However, I wanted to show just how dedicated our company will be to creating a fun environment to all that use our product. It is hard though for this not to come off as a cheap sales pitch, just to sell someone on the company, but I guess that, at least in some small measure, is the goal of these statements. 

How will I protect my intellectual property?

To be able to defend my intellectual property, I would need to take one primary notion into view, and that’s what are the kind of protections that a company is given when creating a company. Taking the main four ways (those being Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Copyright, and patents), I would say that it would make the most sense for me to use a Copyright. This is primarily due to the fact that I am creating a piece of software that I am not wanting others to have the ability to unless I give consent to do so, which would be by the Copyright. There can be an argument made for me to apply for a patent potentially, since I am creating something. However, I do not see a patent being too relevant to my product, since it doesn’t intrinsically create something that no one has done before, as most inventions do. I do not see a Trade secret being particularly helpful for my company in anyway, unless I develop a new type of Toner for my 3D printers that is particularly new and inventive, or something to that nature. A Trademark would be helpful in the sense that I could use said trademark to protect my identity as a company, which could help in the long run if I ever do come across another company with the same name or slogan. This is actually fairly common for any one company to come across, as trademarked names and slogans do come by much more often than any one person could expect. 

John Dimmer Visit

John Dimmer gave me two very strong impressions on his personality. First that he was confident, and second that he was experienced. He was easily able to explain the wealth of different companies that he has been in contact with and in charge of over the years, and that explained volumes as to why I felt the impressions that I did when I first saw him. Though it there was a lot of information that he wanted to cover, I do appreciate the fact that he brought in the slides that he did, as I could take quite a few notes that could be applied to my business. His central topic for his visit was on the focus of how to manage finances for our new and emerging company. For this, he gave us two primary “ingredients” to take with us on our entrepreneurial journey, those being “The Big Idea” and “Funding”.

He also made mention that there are two primary goals that any entrepreneur should have when a company is having an exit event, which are to maximize the price paid for the business, and the other is to maximize the percentage of retained ownership. Aside from this, his primary focus was to show us as students how to get and work with funding that I as a company would be receiving, and it was here that I first started to see mentions of Equity, and its different meanings depending on the type of equity. Before this visit, I didn’t exactly know what equity equated to, but now I can see that it is the overall ownership of the company, at least in a sense. This visit was very insightful, and gave me quite a few ideas about how I might go about funding my company.  

How Much Will I charge and why?

Firstly, I’ll explain what my company is about to give a good idea as to where I am going with the company itself. My company is going to create and manage a piece of software that gives users the ability to create customized high quality 3D miniatures for their table-top gaming experience’s.
Since my company will mostly revolve around creating and distributing a product, I will be focusing mostly on that products pricing, and how and why it will be that price. I’m thinking that the price of my product will be around $60 dollars. But I’ll give a somewhat brief explanation as to why I think this price is suitable for my product. There are a couple of different factors that lead to my decision as to why I feel that it should be the price as I listed above, first being due to the Development costs.
The cost of development for this product I’m projecting will be within the $100,000 - $150,000-dollar range. This is because I will have a team of software developers, myself included, creating this software from scratch. This process of creation will take a projected 6 months to properly create and test the software to be in satisfactory condition. Each developer will be paid a salary of $80,000 a year, so over a 6-month period they would be paid $40,000, and by having a team of four developers, that means that the cost of just creating the software will be $120,000. This isn’t including the cost of the hardware that the developers will be creating this software on, as well as procuring enough 3D printers to be able to service any requests made to us to print these new models.

Secondly is due to what my competition is charging for their product and services. Though I do not have much competition for my product at this point in time, there are a few Custom 3D modeling pieces of software that do exist that are made for the same purpose as my own product. This product is a Web based application that allows the user to create a somewhat customized 3D model of a character that you can then request a print of. The application itself is free to use, however to get a model printed for you costs a minimum of 15 dollars. There are options as to the material that can be used to print the model, with prices ranging from 15 dollars as mentioned before, to 100 dollars. So, my application would need to be priced as such that I would still gain a profit, but also not so high that it becomes more desirable to use this one product and service over my own.

And Lastly is due to the general pricing of other products that my audience consumes. The audience that I would be giving this product to purchase do have an amount that is usually spent on material for their games. This is usually in the form of new rulebooks, maps, or even campaign settings that can be used within their games. These items usually range within the 20 to 50-dollar range, though it is not unheard of for a product to be more expensive.

There will be other charges, such as the cost of shipping these 3D miniatures to people’s houses, perhaps a small fee if the consumer wanted the figure painted. It was also a good idea to give my consumer as to the material that they want the figure to be printed in if they wanted to order the figure itself, so I will be likely giving that option to my consumer as well.