Kickstarter and Logistics


#1

As an engineer recently started working in acquisitions I was frequently surprised at how much logistics and scaling effected the cost of our systems.

Rob has spoken before about how its costing him around 150 a month to make soylent for his personal use. He also mentions frequently that once he starts getting it on a larger scale (presumably for more people) the cost will go down quite a bit. I’m not quite so sure that the cost will be that much lower because once he needs to start making soylent for many people the overhead costs will explode.

Just off the top of my head I can think of:

Paying people to:
Deal with distributors (I doubt he’s going to just order in bulk enough to make enough for everyone at 1 go)

Mix Everything (Knowledgeable people will need to do this as some of the components can be toxic at high levels)

Test it (as above, nobody is perfect, there needs to be some random testing to make sure you don’t accidentally send out some lethal concoction)

Package it (1 package per meal, people are notoriously bad at measuring food, they will likely end up giving themselves too much or too little without individual packaging either due to carelessness, negligence, being rushed, etc)

Ship/Distribute it (With even a modest kickstarter you would almost need someone full-time to box everything up for shipping, label it, etc)

Secondary costs for:
Packaging
Shipping

Even if the raw materials end up costing 10x less, I could easily see soylent still staying at 150 a month or even increasing due to all the required logistics.

I imagine there are people on this forum who are familiar with scaling up projects, what do you guys think about the logistics tail, did i miss anything? Do you think I’m being too pessimistic about the costs?

TL;DR: I don’t think the price of soylent will come down.


#2

You’re suggesting he’d start a complete company just to manufacture this. Wouldn’t it be far simpler to buy this service from an existing manufacturer?


#3

It would be better to start a company that buy all the ingredients from different manufacturers and then you sell all the ingredients to consumers in fractions-of-daily-recommended-intake sizes pellets/pills. Just my 2 cents.


#4

You’re suggesting he’d start a complete company just to manufacture this. Wouldn’t it be far simpler to buy this service from an existing manufacturer?

Yes, that’s one of the big points of doing a kickstarter, to start his own company to create and distribute soylent

It would be better to start a company that buy all the ingredients from different manufacturers and then you sell all the ingredients to consumers in fractions-of-daily-recommended-intake sizes pellets/pills. Just my 2 cents.

I think that leaves someone too much room for error. You’d have to mix what? 20+ pills per meal, what if you get interrupted halfway through for some reason and forget what all you’ve put into the mix so far? Anything beyond a generic packet for your gender and maybe 1 supplemental pill to “specialize” it i think is going too far.


#5

Sigh… My point was that the company wouldn’t have to do the production, they could subcontract it. Hell, even Apple doesn’t manufacture a single item themselves, they buy it all from subcontractors.