Author Topic: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?  (Read 50308 times)

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Offline Herothereu

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What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« on: Wed, 07 October 2015, 10:57:58 »
Good or Bad for getting custom Keysets?


Quote
RIP Group Buys, hello more products!
As many of you know, the Interest Check and Group Buy process made for some lengthy wait times. So now, weíre cutting back your wait time and going straight from Interest Checks into production. Now you'll get the keysets you want, in far less time. Keep in mind, we produce limited amounts of Interest Checks, so if you see something you want, be sure to get it before it's gone!

Make money off your Interest Checks
You guys have submitted some awesome keyset designs. As our way of saying ďthanks,Ē weíre now offering users who submit Interest Check designs that go into production a 5% royalty on keyset sales. Think you have what it takes? Submit your design here!

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 07 October 2015, 16:39:52 »
Pros:
- When it goes up for sale it's ready to ship.
- Clear and concise legalities; Signature Plastics can make more at any time for any reason.  Perfect for those that missed out and don't want to pay inflated aftermarket prices.
- 5% to the designer.

Cons:
- They had some link issues with the legal PDF and at least one other spot I noticed as of yesterday.
- Saw another complain that multiple items within a set weren't quite functioning properly when adding them to the cart.
- The process isn't very well documented.  They'll make the "popular" sets but don't go on to define at what quantity of votes an IC will be triggered for production.

Offline njbair

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 07 October 2015, 21:42:50 »
Pros:
- When it goes up for sale it's ready to ship.
- Clear and concise legalities; Signature Plastics can make more at any time for any reason.  Perfect for those that missed out and don't want to pay inflated aftermarket prices.
- 5% to the designer.

Cons:
- They had some link issues with the legal PDF and at least one other spot I noticed as of yesterday.
- Saw another complain that multiple items within a set weren't quite functioning properly when adding them to the cart.
- The process isn't very well documented.  They'll make the "popular" sets but don't go on to define at what quantity of votes an IC will be triggered for production.
The IC quantity is tricky because it depends on a lot of things, including the size/cost is the set, number of child kits, and how long the IC phase has been going on. I can see why they don't want to put a number on it.

Overall, I think this new setup is a win for SP organizationally. They will lose much less time back and forth over email with customers, since they'll handle all the pricing in-house. And I see nothing wrong with the 5% commission thing, since SP can take advantage of a person's community involvement for design and promotion, which frees them up from having to do it. Overall this will save them a lot of money in staff salaries, benefits, etc., and 5% is not a bad commission for the designer/promoter.

For the community, nothing will ever take the place of a traditional, forum-run buy, IMO. They are a lot of fun to participate in, and although I'm finding out it's a lot of work to run one, it's worth it for the experience of getting to know the buyers better, and working through different opinions to find a good compromise. It's where I think this community really shines.

I know traditional GB's have a spotty reputation, but keycap buys are generally low-risk.

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Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 19:42:09 »
In principle there is nothing to prevent the traditional community methods from being used to define a new set and generate a lot of up-front interest. Once all the details have been pounded out, it can go to PMK for "sale", with the presumption being that all the pre-production community participation will have generated sufficient attention and interest to easily push the PMK IC into production, probably almost immediately.

I plan to do something along those lines for this:


Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 08 October 2015, 20:06:03 »
As noted in the DT thread, I'm hoping we get the Dasher set in as well.  I love both but if I had to chose, Dasher wins out.  Both are fantastic, though.

As to the IC process, I think it's going to be odd.  What quantity are they going to decide on?  I'm guessing in the 200-250 neighborhood.  That could end up a larger problem in creating a massive rush to buy a set before it sells out.  I'd rather they let an IC run a bit longer to gauge better what quantity to make or at least decide on a first run and have a potential second run planned if demand is there.  They would honestly need some kind of reservation system.

Just imagine a set like Carbon or Danger Zone on PMK instead.  Either would easily trigger and then what.  250 sets made?  If you were seconds late to PMK you'd have missed the sale unless the reservation system gets put in place. 

I think MassDrop may continue to be better for some time while PMK works out all the kinks in the new system and gets something together that can better handle a potential huge hit.  Right now the process seems focused on the smaller runs yet we've seen some huge runs come in lately (2700 or so for Carbon and near 1500 for Danger Zone, I believe). 
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 October 2015, 20:12:39 by Niomosy »

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 09 October 2015, 02:11:53 »
As a designer, I will not sign the current "Keyset Designs - License and Royalty Payments" agreement. It gives too much away to SP:

"Under the license, Signature Plastics has the right to:
a.   decide whether or not to produce and sell keysets from the submitted design;
b.   make modifications to the keyset configurations;
c.   determine the quantity of keysets to produce and sell;
d.   schedule when the keysets will be produced and sold;
e.  establish the selling price of the keysets produced from the design;
f.  use the design for marketing and promotional campaigns."

So they decide if and when to produce the design, what price to run it at, how many sets to make, can modify the design as they see fit and use your work for marketing and promotion of their company...

I'll repeat what I posted in the Troubled Minds IC:

Quote
I don't really like the new PMK system, for a number of reasons:

1. No "limited edition" Group Buys. When you sign the form to use PMK for your set you give them the rights to produce it whenever they choose, so the sets have less rarity value and less perceived actual value. This will probably end up resulting in a lot less sales than they hope / expect.
2. No time limits / deadlines / production schedules, etc. No group feeling / community involvement.
3. They set the prices, it's not based on MOQ, so there's no incentive to get more people to order and no hype or sense of achievement when kits meets MOQ. There's no way for us to tell if a set is a "success" or not.

It just smacks of business for profit with no real community involvement to me and tries to get designers hooked in with a 5% profit. Essentially they pay us a royalty for us to design and market their product for them.

I prefer Massdrop for GB's and will probably continue to do so and not buy sets from PMK unless it's a really GREAT one that I just have to have.

And:

Quote
[Signature Plastics' business is] Making keycaps by commission. They make profit from any set they sell. We are their client when we order a bunch of caps made to our design. It doesn't mean it's fair for them to make and sell other people's designs at their own discretion and price, when all the design work and promotion have been done by the designer. That's like a factory that's commissioned by Volkswagen to make 100 Golfs making more at their own discretion and selling them themselves at whatever price they choose. [Not to mention being able to change the design, but still call it a Golf.] Ethical, or not?

Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 09 October 2015, 13:06:01 »
I'm not much into creating conditions of rarity just to make keycaps collectible. I buy keycaps that appeal to me aesthetically and functionally, not keycaps that are "limited edition" or rare. I'm a typist, not a collector. This product category is niche enough already that finding what I like and want is needlessly challenging. Contriving rarity by limiting production is an odious practice, whether we're talking diamonds or keycaps, and I won't knowingly participate in the practice myself.

Offline VinnyCordeiro

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 09 October 2015, 13:32:27 »
I'm not much into creating conditions of rarity just to make keycaps collectible. I buy keycaps that appeal to me aesthetically and functionally, not keycaps that are "limited edition" or rare. I'm a typist, not a collector. This product category is niche enough already that finding what I like and want is needlessly challenging. Contriving rarity by limiting production is an odious practice, whether we're talking diamonds or keycaps, and I won't knowingly participate in the practice myself.

+1

Offline tararais

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #8 on: Sun, 11 October 2015, 01:45:43 »
I'm not much into creating conditions of rarity just to make keycaps collectible. I buy keycaps that appeal to me aesthetically and functionally, not keycaps that are "limited edition" or rare. I'm a typist, not a collector. This product category is niche enough already that finding what I like and want is needlessly challenging. Contriving rarity by limiting production is an odious practice, whether we're talking diamonds or keycaps, and I won't knowingly participate in the practice myself.
 
 
Agreed. To be honest, I couldn't give a single **** if a design was produced forever, because otherwise it's denying so many people the opportunity to have what they want purely so some people can jerk off about their 'rare' item. Why does something have to be rare to be good? If it can't stand by its own merit, it probably isn't worth making.

Offline njbair

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 11 October 2015, 06:24:29 »
I'm not much into creating conditions of rarity just to make keycaps collectible. I buy keycaps that appeal to me aesthetically and functionally, not keycaps that are "limited edition" or rare. I'm a typist, not a collector. This product category is niche enough already that finding what I like and want is needlessly challenging. Contriving rarity by limiting production is an odious practice, whether we're talking diamonds or keycaps, and I won't knowingly participate in the practice myself.
 
 
Agreed. To be honest, I couldn't give a single **** if a design was produced forever, because otherwise it's denying so many people the opportunity to have what they want purely so some people can jerk off about their 'rare' item. Why does something have to be rare to be good? If it can't stand by its own merit, it probably isn't worth making.
Wow man. It's a shame for everybody who's ever collected anything ever, that they didn't talk to you first. You could have saved them all a lot of money.

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Offline vvp

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 11 October 2015, 12:27:56 »
I'm not much into creating conditions of rarity just to make keycaps collectible. I buy keycaps that appeal to me aesthetically and functionally, not keycaps that are "limited edition" or rare. I'm a typist, not a collector. This product category is niche enough already that finding what I like and want is needlessly challenging. Contriving rarity by limiting production is an odious practice, whether we're talking diamonds or keycaps, and I won't knowingly participate in the practice myself.
+1 Increasing price by artificially limiting production does not appeal to me either.

On the other side I see Oobly's point to have more control over his design. But if one thinks the design is so great that the SP's conditions would undervalue it then there is an option not to use the SP's group buy.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 11 October 2015, 12:53:53 »
I think it's fair to say there are a number of highly experienced keycap designers who feel they can manage the entire GB process better than SP, and perhaps rightly so. SP is trying to shrink the design-to-delivery interval so that keycaps end up on people's keyboards in a fraction of the time of a conventional GB. I get what they're trying to do, but their process isn't for everyone. The trade-off of control for simplicity and speed isn't an attractive one for talented veterans like Oobly, Matt3o, et. al. But I'm sure there is a class of casual designer who likes the idea of SP taking over all those details for them.

I don't see the new PMK process as a bad thing since we still have MassDrop, [Ctrl]Alt, and 7bit as more traditional alternatives. So long as SP continues to take keycap business from those other sources, and doesn't give their PMK-hosted designs undue production preference, it's all good.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 00:10:15 »
I'm not much into creating conditions of rarity just to make keycaps collectible. I buy keycaps that appeal to me aesthetically and functionally, not keycaps that are "limited edition" or rare. I'm a typist, not a collector. This product category is niche enough already that finding what I like and want is needlessly challenging. Contriving rarity by limiting production is an odious practice, whether we're talking diamonds or keycaps, and I won't knowingly participate in the practice myself.
+1 Increasing price by artificially limiting production does not appeal to me either.

On the other side I see Oobly's point to have more control over his design. But if one thinks the design is so great that the SP's conditions would undervalue it then there is an option not to use the SP's group buy.

I think it needs to first be established what designer rights and protection under law are.  I've got questions on that and have a running thread in the keycap forum to discuss these legalities.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 03:20:52 »
I think I misrepresented my thoughts a bit in my previous post. The main point is not about limiting production, but about designers not having any control over their designs. If a designer signs the PMK agreement, they have no say in how, when, or even if their design is made. SP can alter their design however they see fit and then produce and sell it under the original name in whatever quantities and prices they choose. This may actually result in SP "creating conditions of rarity" to increase the value and thus the asking price of certain sets. They get to choose the number they make, when they get made and what price to ask for them. The point is, the designer no longer has any say. And SP does not have a good track record of listening to the community and doing what's best for it, but rather doing what's best for THEM.

When a designer runs a GB themselves or uses Massdrop, they commission SP to create a certain sized order of sets to a certain design. The number of sets made is determined by the number of orders. I have not yet seen a group buy where the designer limited the production to a certain number. Some sets are rerun if there's enough interest.

IMO, the new PMK will result in only the most popular designs getting run. So if your "perfect" set gets, say, 150 votes at the IC stage, but at the same time there's an SA Dolch set at the IC stage which gets 600 votes, guess what will happen to the one you want. However, if it were run as a GB on Massdrop, as long as it meets the minimum MOQ it will get made. The only thing affected by the number of orders after that point is a lower price. So SP can churn out popular colorways and the only way to ensure that your design gets made is to use an external way to run the GB.

As a designer, I will not agree to those terms, since I don't think it's best for the community. I still see it as SP luring designers with the promise of 5% commission to create nice sets for them to sell as their own product, since once the agreement is signed, the design essentially belongs to SP in terms of control and usage. It's their product from that point on.

I'll put my thoughts about copyright and set designs in the other thread.
Buying more keycaps,
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Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 03:47:06 »
Well, it's great for SP and great for people who aren't deep into these communities. If all keysets were on PMK anyone could buy one any time by just popping on to the site every couple months to check out what's new.
I'm no designer, so I won't go further than to say that I understand their concerns.

But the whole exclusivity and "only those who wait for months and take part in the process should get to take part" aspect does go away, and that has some very clear positive effects, and some not so clear negative effects.

Also, I suspect prices will go up per set.

Offline Dernubenfrieken

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 06:22:16 »
IMO, the new PMK will result in only the most popular designs getting run. So if your "perfect" set gets, say, 150 votes at the IC stage, but at the same time there's an SA Dolch set at the IC stage which gets 600 votes, guess what will happen to the one you want. However, if it were run as a GB on Massdrop, as long as it meets the minimum MOQ it will get made. The only thing affected by the number of orders after that point is a lower price. So SP can churn out popular colorways and the only way to ensure that your design gets made is to use an external way to run the GB.

This is what I'm somewhat scared of. If you look at the massdrop polls, a lot of the people continually vote for the same things, that already exist or are readily available from other manufacturers/stores. I could see the same sets being reprinted over and over again, fed by people that don't know how to use the classifieds or ebay.
    

Offline BrewCaps

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 13:37:45 »
Quote
So long as SP continues to take keycap business from those other sources, and doesn't give their PMK-hosted designs undue production preference, it's all good.

Hope not!

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 13:38:06 »
I think I misrepresented my thoughts a bit in my previous post. The main point is not about limiting production, but about designers not having any control over their designs. If a designer signs the PMK agreement, they have no say in how, when, or even if their design is made. SP can alter their design however they see fit and then produce and sell it under the original name in whatever quantities and prices they choose. This may actually result in SP "creating conditions of rarity" to increase the value and thus the asking price of certain sets. They get to choose the number they make, when they get made and what price to ask for them. The point is, the designer no longer has any say. And SP does not have a good track record of listening to the community and doing what's best for it, but rather doing what's best for THEM.

When a designer runs a GB themselves or uses Massdrop, they commission SP to create a certain sized order of sets to a certain design. The number of sets made is determined by the number of orders. I have not yet seen a group buy where the designer limited the production to a certain number. Some sets are rerun if there's enough interest.

IMO, the new PMK will result in only the most popular designs getting run. So if your "perfect" set gets, say, 150 votes at the IC stage, but at the same time there's an SA Dolch set at the IC stage which gets 600 votes, guess what will happen to the one you want. However, if it were run as a GB on Massdrop, as long as it meets the minimum MOQ it will get made. The only thing affected by the number of orders after that point is a lower price. So SP can churn out popular colorways and the only way to ensure that your design gets made is to use an external way to run the GB.

As a designer, I will not agree to those terms, since I don't think it's best for the community. I still see it as SP luring designers with the promise of 5% commission to create nice sets for them to sell as their own product, since once the agreement is signed, the design essentially belongs to SP in terms of control and usage. It's their product from that point on.

I'll put my thoughts about copyright and set designs in the other thread.

Oobly, some of your PMK fears mirror mine.  The PMK site seems to have a poor understanding of quantity.  They're running production ahead of confirming sales.  On one hand, it's great in that they will eventually be able to stock a number of sets for ready purchase but that isn't without its problems.  Their current plan doesn't seem to take massively popular sets into consideration or, at least, not in any way they've identified on the site outside of reruns.  If they're running at the 200-250 range per set, they'd need to do a large number of reruns of sets like Carbon and Danger Zone just to meet what ended up being the initial need.  They need to get a better handle on how they become a supply-side company with these sets.

I'm not sure other sets will get squashed out as they do seem to have a point where a set will trigger production based on IC votes.  That said, I wouldn't want to be the small set with a ~250 set run going up against something as highly popular as Carbon either.  SP really needs to clarify things with the PMK site. 

MassDrop definitely handles quantity concerns better.  While it's a slightly slower process it's also a more accurate process.  They get the financial commitment of people and submit a large order based on that.  It's definitely a better way to go for many sets on their first run.  Right now, PMK seems like a 2nd run site where you'd turn to them after your initial MassDrop run and let them take care of things from that point on.  It allows you to move on to other things while still netting you a 5% commission while you turn to other endeavors.

Offline Dernubenfrieken

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 13:55:00 »
Quote
MassDrop definitely handles quantity concerns better.  While it's a slightly slower process it's also a more accurate process.  They get the financial commitment of people and submit a large order based on that.  It's definitely a better way to go for many sets on their first run.  Right now, PMK seems like a 2nd run site where you'd turn to them after your initial MassDrop run and let them take care of things from that point on.  It allows you to move on to other things while still netting you a 5% commission while you turn to other endeavors.

That's exactly what I was thinking. It would also be great if the PMK drops were something like a "stripped down" version, with the initial run having more novelties or custom keys, and the PMK drops just being fairly standard alpha/modifier sets. Gives an incentive to get the first run set and make it special, while giving people the opportunity to get the style/color way they desire.
    

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 15:11:30 »
Quote
MassDrop definitely handles quantity concerns better.  While it's a slightly slower process it's also a more accurate process.  They get the financial commitment of people and submit a large order based on that.  It's definitely a better way to go for many sets on their first run.  Right now, PMK seems like a 2nd run site where you'd turn to them after your initial MassDrop run and let them take care of things from that point on.  It allows you to move on to other things while still netting you a 5% commission while you turn to other endeavors.

That's exactly what I was thinking. It would also be great if the PMK drops were something like a "stripped down" version, with the initial run having more novelties or custom keys, and the PMK drops just being fairly standard alpha/modifier sets. Gives an incentive to get the first run set and make it special, while giving people the opportunity to get the style/color way they desire.

This is actually not a bad idea, but the problem is that SP may still decide not to run them. It'd be hard to get a good number in the IC stage if the set has just been run. Actually, on that note there isn't a "golden number" that will get the set run, it's completely at their discretion to choose what to run and what not to, so it could just work.
Buying more keycaps,
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Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 16:43:12 »
It would be interesting to eventually talk to some of the designers who choose to use PMK's new system and find out why they have no objections. I can't help but think there's another perspective out there besides the one held by veteran designers who want maximum control over every step of the process.

If the PMK system is such that I upload kit definitions along with renders and whatever other promotional material I can come up with, and then just let their pre-order system (which they are free to call an "interest check" system if they want) determine what goes into production, I think I'd be okay with that. As long as sets are perpetually available according to (pre-order) demand, I don't have any problem with SP being in control of production schedules. Why would I want to micromanage that myself anyway?

Ultimately SP gets to decide what and when to manufacture anyway, no matter where a group buy is organized and run. If their in-house system reduces time-to-market and maintains availability in perpetuity, then I see it as a potential win for the community. I would rather see one of my sets rotate through production every few months, according to demand, than force potential buyers to wait once a year or two for some massive GB to re-organize itself and launch subsequent rounds of production.

The main reason I favor MassDrop at this point is because it is well known and has a strong community following. I kind of feel they have a better reputation than SP, and I'd want to leverage that good will.

But that's just my take on it.

Offline BrewCaps

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 20:01:32 »
Does Massdrop pay a royalty to designers?  Does Signature Plastics pay the designer if it goes through Massdrop?

Offline Data

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 12 October 2015, 20:03:50 »
Does Massdrop pay a royalty to designers?  Does Signature Plastics pay the designer if it goes through Massdrop?

Yes.

No.

Offline Elrick

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 03:28:46 »
The main reason I favor MassDrop at this point is because it is well known and has a strong community following. I kind of feel they have a better reputation than SP, and I'd want to leverage that good will.

But that's just my take on it.

Because SP failed to upgrade their site beforehand, MassDrop had stepped in and took all the orders, hence they have already built up all that extra Goodwill that SP has now lost.

Unfortunately that is how a service industry functions, if YOU drop the ball, someone else will step in and run with it to the goal line.  Maybe in the end PMK should just stick with manufacturing only, just my viewpoint here.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 04:21:11 »
The main reason I favor MassDrop at this point is because it is well known and has a strong community following. I kind of feel they have a better reputation than SP, and I'd want to leverage that good will.

But that's just my take on it.

Because SP failed to upgrade their site beforehand, MassDrop had stepped in and took all the orders, hence they have already built up all that extra Goodwill that SP has now lost.

Unfortunately that is how a service industry functions, if YOU drop the ball, someone else will step in and run with it to the goal line.  Maybe in the end PMK should just stick with manufacturing only, just my viewpoint here.

Great post, Elrick. I wholeheartedly agree.

It would be interesting to eventually talk to some of the designers who choose to use PMK's new system and find out why they have no objections. I can't help but think there's another perspective out there besides the one held by veteran designers who want maximum control over every step of the process.

If the PMK system is such that I upload kit definitions along with renders and whatever other promotional material I can come up with, and then just let their pre-order system (which they are free to call an "interest check" system if they want) determine what goes into production, I think I'd be okay with that. As long as sets are perpetually available according to (pre-order) demand, I don't have any problem with SP being in control of production schedules. Why would I want to micromanage that myself anyway?

Ultimately SP gets to decide what and when to manufacture anyway, no matter where a group buy is organized and run. If their in-house system reduces time-to-market and maintains availability in perpetuity, then I see it as a potential win for the community. I would rather see one of my sets rotate through production every few months, according to demand, than force potential buyers to wait once a year or two for some massive GB to re-organize itself and launch subsequent rounds of production.

The main reason I favor MassDrop at this point is because it is well known and has a strong community following. I kind of feel they have a better reputation than SP, and I'd want to leverage that good will.

But that's just my take on it.

Firstly, no. SP does not get to decide what to run and when. If you place an order as a customer (as a Massdrop GB works), you're commissioning them to make sets for you. They give you a quote and a production slot. They have to stick to this. After agreeing to your order, they can't turn around and deny production without legal consequences. It's a business agreement, not a hobby-level request, such as a submission to PMK.

I do think you make a good point about the simplicity of submitting designs, there are probably some designers happy with this approach.

if your "design" is just a colourway and you don't want more work than submitting it to PMK, then that's probably the way to go. If you're building a full design with an inspiration concept and novelty caps, etc, however, then I highly recommend you don't.

For a design like this to be successful it will still need an external "traditional" IC stage to be run outside of the PMK site.

Let me explain. The only way the new PMK system could reduce turnaround time for a GB is if you remove community involvement in the set design. You make a design, submit it to PMK and they tweak and adjust it to make it producable (without community feedback). Then it goes up as an "Interest Check". If they think it has enough interest to get made, it gets made. There is no true Interest Check, like you have in "traditional" GB's.

Their process skips some of the most important aspects of set design, the so-called "Interest Check" stage on their site is actually the Group Buy stage for sets. Designs need to be complete before they get there. PMK sets will have the same delays from first public exposure through IC and production to shipping as traditional methods, but the actual IC and design tweaking is done off-site and before submitting the design.

The work involved in doing a proper "traditional" set design with custom novelty legends, etc, is not trivial. There is a lot of back-and-forth between the designer and SP and the community to confirm feasibility of designs, availability and cost of specific options, which designs people prefer, etc. This makes most set designs have more intrinsic "value" than a simple colourway posted to PMK (the adjustments are made by the designer with community involvement, so they remain true to the design concept and desires of the community). This is just one of the components that make a set design that people care about. Doing a "traditional" IC with community feedback, then a group buy builds a sense of community and increases the "value" of the set further. It also allows individuals to have an influence on the design, novelties and kits. Participation in the GB, waiting and seeing the stages from IC through to shipping, is part of increasing this perceived "value".

If the perceived "value" of the set is not high enough, people will not be willing to pay the kind of prices you have to charge for the sets in order to get them manufactured.

So IMO it's not just about nice colourways, reducing the work of designers and availability of the sets.

I also think that if people have participated in the IC for a particular set, been involved with novelty designs and choosing kit layouts and SP decide not to make the set, it's demoralising / disrespecting the effort, care and interest of those people.

The new PMK process has the potential to make set designs seem "cheap" by removing community involvement in the design, but cost more. Not to mention the fact that what they sell may not even be true to the original design concept any more (assuming there was one).

If you have to do a full external IC before submitting and there's no difference in time to production, the ONLY benefit of the new PMK system is that the sets MAY get rerun at some point (and this benefit is moot, as I'll explain). By choosing to run the actual GB through Massdrop instead, you can retain all rights, get the same tier-based discounts and retain the perceived value of the sets and design. Then it's up to the designer if they choose to let SP run their design at their discretion afterwards, like with the 1976 set. Best of all worlds.

Does Massdrop pay a royalty to designers?  Does Signature Plastics pay the designer if it goes through Massdrop?

Yes.

No.


Great question and great reply. This is very useful and relevant info.
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Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #25 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 13:40:28 »
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I feel SP should just avoid getting into the GB business themselves. I would prefer they concentrate on just manufacturing. To that end, I would like to see improved documentation from them with regard to manufacturing guidelines, tolerances, etc. Anything to help designers and SP "get it right the first time", as it were.

As long as sites like MassDrop make it easy to re-run sets then I don't see a down side to using them as a facilitator. It's just that I'd like to see something along the lines of a real "Keycap Store" where you just order what you like and the keycaps arrive at your door. Of course, the fact that designers can step in and deny their sets to an interested public is another matter, but I guess that's the price we pay for treating custom keycaps like priceless artifacts.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #26 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 13:57:52 »
I do think the PMK system does reduce time.  A normal GB run through MassDrop or here would have several phases; IC, purchase window, wait for production slot.  They're eliminating the purchase window and are trying to dwindle the IC window.  Remember that with most group buys, once it goes into the Taking Orders phase, it can sit there a while, particularly if it's not being run by MassDrop.  PMK does not take orders ahead of time so that piece is simply removed.

The time to production could be further reduced if the IC was simply hosted on PMK.  I think most would rather receive feedback, particularly for first time creators.  For veterans that already have everything set, this could reduce the forum IC thread to more of a marketing need.
« Last Edit: Tue, 13 October 2015, 14:04:28 by Niomosy »

Offline Dernubenfrieken

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #27 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 14:19:55 »
As long as sites like MassDrop make it easy to re-run sets then I don't see a down side to using them as a facilitator. It's just that I'd like to see something along the lines of a real "Keycap Store" where you just order what you like and the keycaps arrive at your door. Of course, the fact that designers can step in and deny their sets to an interested public is another matter, but I guess that's the price we pay for treating custom keycaps like priceless artifacts.

As much as PMK hasn't done well setting up group buys, Massdrop has done just as poorly for judging demand. The polls are a wasteland of gaming keyboards that are freely available, keysets that wont be reproduced and regularly available blank sets. The most successful GB's haven't even gone through their voting system, they just simply get posted. I think they can both coexist as different parts of the life cycle for sets.
    

Offline BrewCaps

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 14:20:21 »
Does Massdrop pay a royalty to designers?  Does Signature Plastics pay the designer if it goes through Massdrop?

Yes.

No.

Hmmm... Not sure why anyone would prefer Massdrop.

Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 14:42:55 »
Because it works.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #30 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 15:15:04 »
... I would like to see improved documentation from them with regard to manufacturing guidelines, tolerances, etc. Anything to help designers and SP "get it right the first time", as it were.

... Of course, the fact that designers can step in and deny their sets to an interested public is another matter, but I guess that's the price we pay for treating custom keycaps like priceless artifacts.

We're working on it ;D Or at least I am. A legend design specification document is in the first draft stage and once approved it will be posted here on GH and hopefully make it to the DT wiki. Unfortunately SP has been reticent about sharing specific details of their legend cutting methods which means some areas will remain a little vague and still require interaction between the designer and SP, but it will certainly make it more clear for designers. This should help regardless of who they run the set through.

About designers denying their sets to the public, well... it depends what you consider a set design to be. If you consider it a work of art, then you shouldn't have a problem with limited runs, just like an artist makes a limited number of prints of their work. If you consider it just a colourway, then sure, why limit it. I sit somewhere in the middle, and while I do think some sets should get a rerun due to demand (PuLSE SA for example) I think most are managed pretty well. Ivan's Dark PBT sets were rerun (at a lower cost even), Granite had more than one, etc. On the other hand, it really should be the designer's choice. After all, they put in all the work to create it, to take it from a concept to a complete design, including listening to the community and adjusting / balancing the design changes with the original concept. It's their baby. Anyway, even if a set only has one run, they don't "artificially" limit the supply. The orders on GB's are open. You can order as many as you like and as many people who want them can order them.

I do think the PMK system does reduce time.  A normal GB run through MassDrop or here would have several phases; IC, purchase window, wait for production slot.  They're eliminating the purchase window and are trying to dwindle the IC window.  Remember that with most group buys, once it goes into the Taking Orders phase, it can sit there a while, particularly if it's not being run by MassDrop.  PMK does not take orders ahead of time so that piece is simply removed.

The time to production could be further reduced if the IC was simply hosted on PMK.  I think most would rather receive feedback, particularly for first time creators.  For veterans that already have everything set, this could reduce the forum IC thread to more of a marketing need.

Well... yes and no. The PMK "IC" is akin to the collecting orders / purchase window stage of a traditional GB and SP haven't shared how long this process is, from a design being submitted to being processed and approved, going to the public voting / "IC" stage to decision making and finally going to production. They're not "dwindling" the IC window, they're eliminating it. There is no feedback-based IC on PMK. Most "veteran"-run sets stilll have an interactive IC and use it to adjust and tweak the set. Community involvement is very important in set design, IMHO, and the PMK "way" at the very best minimises this and at the worst eradicates it completely.

I think if Massdrop could implement a "fallback" feature (as in"If this kit doesn't reach MOQ, I'd like to add this kit to my order: ") for ISO kits it would really be hard to beat as a GB platform. The voting / poll system doesn't really work for keyset designs because too many um... people with different taste to most members of GH and DT vote. I do think it's best of it's sidestepped for most keycap set designs, as long as it can be proven there's a good enough number of interested buyers. They do have some sort of thread checking system in place for this IIRC.
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Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #31 on: Tue, 13 October 2015, 17:31:46 »
I consider keycap sets to be like nicely designed furniture, not fine art. They are, first and foremost, utilitarian bits of keyboard functionality. Their aesthetic qualities make them appealing and desireable, yes, but they are not what I consider the basis of their value. But that's because I come at this entirely as someone who wants to use keycaps, not merely collect them. A keycap set that I wouldn't want to type on is of zero value to me, no matter how rare or sought after by the collector community.

As a potential designer, I think like an end user, not some sort of artiste. I wouldn't waste my time designing a set I wouldn't want to use every day. And I wouldn't want any design of mine to be difficult to obtain by anyone who wanted it, regardless of the time and effort spent on it.

It is only because high-end keycaps can't be manufactured on a moment's notice and at high-volume price points that we use a group buy approach at all. That makes purchasing keycaps challenging because as a buyer you have to strike during a narrow purchase window, turning what would otherwise be a conventional shopping exercise into a sport akin to rare bird watching. I simply can't abide the thought of standing guardian over this cumbersome process and imposing yet another level of oversight, deigning to allow my precious designs to be purchased only when I deem it appropriate. Others will no doubt want that kind of control, but I do not. I only want to control what my keycaps look like, and beyond that I only want to see that they are obtainable by anyone who wants them, whenever they want them.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 14 October 2015, 02:31:23 »
There is another reason we do it the GB way. Even at "volume" prices for say 250 sets, they're still expensive for "utilitarian bits of keyboard functionality". Someone casually browsing and finding your "design" on PMK may love the colours you've used, but many would balk at paying the price for an "off-the-shelf" product. Again, it's about perceived value as much as anything. I don't see them offering sets at a lower price point than what you get from a popular set GB. So the balance will be off. The perceived value low, the price high.

About availability, it is a benefit to casual consumers that they can get sets they like when they see them and get "instant gratification", but that's the only benefit I can see to the PMK system. If they make enough to cover more than the intial sales rush from those who've been following the design. For the better designs they most likely won't, since they're not too good at judging this (from past history). So even if you've participated in the interest check / design stage and voted in the PMK "IC" and the set gets made, you may not be able to buy it. And you have no way of knowing if or when SP will ever make it again. At least with a "traditional" GB, all the original orders WILL get their sets and you can ask the designer if the set will run again and when.

You can't assume that all sets that get made will be available in perpetuity. That's just naÔve.

I just wanted to add that, although I'm posting a lot of "negative" comments, my main motivation is to make people aware of the possible problems, more to prevent disappointment than to be overly critical. I do think they could turn the PMK system into a very useful and valuable site, but it would require a few changes:

1. Add a clause in the designer license that design / legend changes require the designer's approval.
2. Turn the "IC" into a GB order page with "commit at this level" functionality for kits and a fallback option for those that don't make MOQ.
3. Make extra sets (the number proportional to the GB orders) which then go up on the site for purchase at the same price as the GB.
4. Add a "bring back this set" voting page for sold out sets, with no time limit, but with older votes being reduced in value (so a two month old vote will be equal to half a new vote, say, to match likelihood of someone who voted so long ago actually purchasing). When enough votes accumulate (say 150 or so), they make a new batch of that set.

That way, the sets will have the largest availability, lowest price, highest perceived value (at the time they're made) and designers don't get their designs mangled. It also allows designers to choose whether to have a proper IC (run on one of the forums) or just submit their designs directly.

That's a system that I could really support. This is basically what we've been requesting from them and saying we need, but the release of the current system tells me that they don't listen to the community and don't really care, even if it means they'll do less business and have a lower reputation with the keyboard enthusiasts.
« Last Edit: Wed, 14 October 2015, 03:06:48 by Oobly »
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 14 October 2015, 07:36:52 »
To me group buys serve the following purpose, they allow the community to get things that we couldn't get otherwise (often customized as much as possible the specific way we want it), at the best possible price.

The way I interpret SP's new system is it simply serves the purpose of SP getting designers to design sets (for a potential royalty payout), after which SP will then sell said sets as it best benefits SP.

With that said I view SP's new system as great for SP  and possibly good for designers but simply a gimmick for the community.

P.S.: Since SP has a subforum here why isn't this thread located there?

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #34 on: Wed, 14 October 2015, 13:50:32 »
Very few people would "causally browse" the PMK store. 99.99% of the world doesn't know about the PMK store, would never stumble upon it by accident, nor would they understand the point of the products offered there. Furthermore, I simply don't agree with the notion that keycaps are somehow less "valuable" just because they can be purchased through a conventional online store interface. The PMK store is a place for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts to order keycaps that they've heard about through the usual channels, but would otherwise miss out on if they didn't learn about them in time to get in on a traditional IC/GB.

I am a good example of such a customer. I discovered mechanical keyboards and custom keycaps only three months ago. Guess what, all the keycap sets I learned about and fell in love with were long gone. Except for one (DSA Dolch), which was only available on the PMK store due to a rare case of a traditional GB gone bad. The number of votes for another round of Granite on MassDrop exceeded 2,000 by the time I even learned what MassDrop was and created an account. Guess what, we're still waiting for another round of Granite (with a Q1/2016 date currently rumored). The current system is only good for folks who like to sit around and watch for sets to go into production and happen to be ready to pre-order at just the right time.

As for what's good for SP vs. what's good for the designer, I just don't understand this adversarial attitude people have. I plan to design a few sets in the future and I am not overly concerned with being exploited by anyone, much less SP. To my mind, the real reward of creating custom keycaps sets is seeing them on people's keyboards. Seeing them get out into the world and being enjoyed by as many people as possible. I'm not in it for the financial reward nor any sort of community celebrity, and I don't really understand anyone who is.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 14 October 2015, 17:34:38 »
I get that you want sets to have higher availability. What I'm saying is that the new PMK system not only doesn't guarantee this, but may actually result in lower availability.

Feel free to run your designs with them, I'm just trying to warn of possible pitfalls and prevent disappointment and frustration when things don't quite go as you think they should.

I've made my suggestions as to how to make PMK into a site that would actually do all that the community wants and needs. Let's wait and see how the system pans out...
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Offline Data

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 14 October 2015, 19:31:34 »
Does Massdrop pay a royalty to designers?  Does Signature Plastics pay the designer if it goes through Massdrop?

Yes.

No.

Hmmm... Not sure why anyone would prefer Massdrop.

Jukebox is shipping. Carbon and Danger Zone both placed huge orders and are moving to production. All 3 were slated to run on PMK until they essentially shut their doors for 4 months. If those 3 sets complete shipping without any major issues then I think the results speak for themselves. We'll find out in February or March.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #37 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 03:01:21 »
As an example of what I mean, 1976 base kit has been out of stock for many months... despite strong interest.

Actually, we can't tell if the new system is being successful or not, since there are no publicly visible sales numbers. I would assume they would inform a designer of these figures, though, since they're supposed to pay that 5% royalty, but there is actually no externally auditable accountability for this.

The largest order I EVER saw on the old PMK was PuLSE SA, at 207 sets. Compare that to Carbon's over 600 and Danger Zone around 500. If your goal is to get your caps on people's boards, then Massdrop is the way to go.
Buying more keycaps,
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Offline vvp

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #38 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 07:34:14 »
Does PMK require exclusive rights to a design? Because if not one can still run both Massdrop and PMK and whatever else. Therefore if PMK does not require exclusivity then I do not see how it could lead to smaller availability.

Offline VinnyCordeiro

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 07:39:47 »
Does PMK require exclusive rights to a design? Because if not one can still run both Massdrop and PMK and whatever else. Therefore if PMK does not require exclusivity then I do not see how it could lead to smaller availability.

What I do understand, from another post, is that the color scheme can be replicated (as it isn't copyrightable) but you can't use novelty keycap legends without the designer's authorization. Using the 1976 keyset as an example, you could replicate the keycaps colors, but couldn't use the '1976' legends.

Offline absyrd

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 07:59:42 »
You mean a combination of colors from an established array of choices isn't IP?  :))
My wife I a also push her button . But now she have her button push by a different men. So I buy a keyboard a mechanicale, she a reliable like a Fiat.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #41 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 08:33:38 »
Does PMK require exclusive rights to a design? Because if not one can still run both Massdrop and PMK and whatever else. Therefore if PMK does not require exclusivity then I do not see how it could lead to smaller availability.

No, they don't require exclusive rights, and yes, you can run your set on both. But.. think about the process.

1. You make an IC thread and go through the design phase.
2. ??? Do you get it polled on Massdrop OR submit it for consideration for a PMK IC?

If you run it through Massdrop first, you're probably not going to get enough votes for it to go to production on PMK, since the set has just run and the people who want it have ordered it from there.
If you run it through PMK first, you're not going to get many orders as people know it's available through PMK.
If you run it through both at the same time, you're splitting your target market and neither will reach their potential.

The only way is to run it on Massdrop, then wait for interest to increase and run it AGAIN on PMK. And that's okay, that way you will be increasing availability. If they decide to actually run it. And if they make enough to cover the orders. And if they don't run out of base sets and keep the kits up for sale without making more base sets. It may still better to simply do another run through Massdrop as then you get a perfect match between supply and demand and you get the lowest price.

My point was comparing running your set as a GB through Massdrop vs running it through PMK as it's essentially the same process.

Here's the rub: Signature Plastics is not going to produce the set as a trickle, order by order, as people buy them on PMK. They'll make them in batches just like in a GB. They have a history of getting estimates wrong (usually severely underestimating how many sets will sell). There's no way for the public to request more of a certain set from them, so it's up to the designer to start another IC (if this can even be done again for the same set) to get another batch run again... It's messy, doesn't fit supply to demand and the pricing is probably not going to be as good as the alternatives. If by some miracle they do "overproduce" the set, then it may be available at a decent price and for some time after the initial rush. The reason I don't think this will happen is based on business (if you create more supply than demand, you're being inefficient and creating costs with no guarantee of recoupment, it's very risky from a business perspective) and past history... They're simply not good at judging demand for particular sets, even with an IC stage for votes.

The only way I can see it actually working as they have it now is if they take the interest check numbers and add about 30% to get production numbers. That may just work out.

I truly wish they'd just listen to the community instead of coming up with these odd, cockamamy systems that simply don't do the job well.

SP, if you're following this, please see my suggestions a couple of posts up and implement those changes to the PMK system. The community will love you for it.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #42 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 08:37:57 »
As a side note, how many of you have submitted designs to the new system and how many are purchasing sets from it already?

urm... seems their interest check submission login is broken... so nobody will be able to submit one until they fix that.
« Last Edit: Thu, 15 October 2015, 08:55:42 by Oobly »
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
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Offline Data

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #43 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 18:52:25 »
As a side note, how many of you have submitted designs to the new system and how many are purchasing sets from it already?

urm... seems their interest check submission login is broken... so nobody will be able to submit one until they fix that.
The whole thing has been kind of a cluster ****. They took way longer than they implied to creators and the results don't reflect that extra time in development. The site is still full of bugs and missing content. The original idea was great but the execution has been poor. And there are still many unanswered questions.

I think we dodged a bullet with Danger Zone.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #44 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 20:38:52 »
I don't see much benefit to SP waiting for a designer to submit another IC for another production run of a set previously run on PMK. To match supply to demand, their "IC" system has to essentially be a pre-order system. In other words, interest is measured by the number of buyers who commit to purchases, just like on a MassDrop group buy. Once enough pre-orders come in (call them votes or joins or whatever), SP puts another production run into their schedule and people get keycaps.

The only reason I see such a process as being faster than a MassDrop re-run of a set is that MassDrop must get the original designer involved, which can only serve to slow things down. On the other hand, a live pre-order system that automatically kicks sets back into production once a threshold is passed, without the (unnecessary) participation or intervention of the designer, would get subsequent production runs out to the public faster.

Of course, this may not be how the new PMK store ends up working out, but it could if they chose to run it that way. Sure, SP has to shore up a lot of weak spots in their ability to function as a conventional storefront, but if they are earnest in their desire to be one, they'll make it happen. If not, then it will just wither on the vine.

Also, I'm not saying that SP should in any way be involved in the design of sets. The whole process of working up all the kit details can and should still happen with community involvement. Only when the kit definitions are completed would they be submitted to SP for "sale". The designer would get the word out in all the usual ways and people would just flock to PMK and place their pre-orders. I'm not clear how this would be a losing proposition.

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #45 on: Thu, 15 October 2015, 20:44:38 »

I think, at this point, we're repeating the same thing over and over.  The short of it is that the site, for several reasons, needs more work done.  Clarification on policy and bugs ironed out better being heavily noted.


I'm honestly wondering when we'll see our first legitimate IC posted there.  The two that were up for a time don't seem to be around right now.  I can possibly see someone eventually submitting an IC as MassDrop doesn't seem to want to run too many at any given time but I think a lot of people will just patiently wait for their turn elsewhere.


Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #46 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 02:28:22 »
@zslane: I agree with you. Except for designer involvement slowing down production. All it needs is a single email and a response. Even allowing for different time zones and delayed response, a day or so will not make any significant difference at the preparation stage for a second run. Let's see how they actually implement it and how it runs. One problem as I've mentioned is there is no visibility of "orders" and "sales", so you can't easily see if they're supplying enough to meet the demand except through enough people talking about it on the forums.

There is one real way I can see PMK sets being produced faster... If they bump existing orders to run the sets. If this happens, though, their reputation with the community will NOT be improved.

I really do think they should stick to what they're good at, which is having lots of interesting and varied options and flexibility for custom designs, and making good quality keycaps. There's no other manufacturer that has anywhere near as many colour, material, profile, finish, and custom design options. The only things they're missing at the moment are dyesub PBT SA, gloss finish for SA mods and SA Row 4 Shifts (but this will soon be ready). I mean, who else can make a 1x SA polycarbonate cap with glow-in-the dark legend and pad printed front legend in a different colour in three different finish options (gloss, semi-matte, matte)?

To this end I wish they'd supply more technical details of their processes so we don't need to submit legend designs many times for review and updates before they're accepted. I've put together a specification document for designers to help with this (which is currently at SP for review), but some things just have to be vaguely worded, with "contact SP if you want to do XX".

@Niomosy: Nobody can post one until they fix the submission login system. I tried to login to get to the page so I can see the latest version of the license file, but it's quite severely broken and needs work before anyone can use it. As a software developer (who works with web technologies) I have to say that their site should definitely not have been "unveiled" in the state it was in. They've fixed a lot of stuff since the first "release", but they've still got a ways to go before it's actually usable. You don't make a site live until it's ready... you just don't. This is incredibly unprofessional.
Buying more keycaps,
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Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #47 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 04:24:58 »
Posted in the SP vendor subforum thread which already exists for PMK site upgrades: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=55673.msg1897388#msg1897388
Buying more keycaps,
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Offline Dernubenfrieken

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #48 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 06:18:58 »
There is one real way I can see PMK sets being produced faster... If they bump existing orders to run the sets. If this happens, though, their reputation with the community will NOT be improved.

That's what I was confused about. It seems like SP is going to be presumably backed up... forever. In addition to the existing huge orders, there are IC's like troubled minds and lego Space that will be going through soonish, Elementos being redone, and then shelved sets like nantucket selectric just waiting until things slow down... when the hell are they going to produce the sets people vote for? Its like they put the chicken before the egg.
    

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #49 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 12:45:16 »
@Niomosy: Nobody can post one until they fix the submission login system. I tried to login to get to the page so I can see the latest version of the license file, but it's quite severely broken and needs work before anyone can use it. As a software developer (who works with web technologies) I have to say that their site should definitely not have been "unveiled" in the state it was in. They've fixed a lot of stuff since the first "release", but they've still got a ways to go before it's actually usable. You don't make a site live until it's ready... you just don't. This is incredibly unprofessional.

As a former web developer and current sysadmin guy, I agree with you.  Their site has lots of problems, not the least of which are the use of incorrect domains in some of their links.  There's a lot of work to be done there.  This does not appear to have gone through a thorough QA session.  As for the submission system not working, I actually had not tested that so I can't comment on that status.  If it's not working, I can't really say I'm surprised.

Honestly, I hope SP works out the problems with the system as I easily prefer a ready supply to having to create a special demand for a one time run.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #50 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 16:45:57 »
I'm not really concerned that non-automated re-launches might take an extra day or two to go through an e-mail exchange with a designer. I'm concerned that a designer might block a re-launch completely. Or keep negotiations in permanent statis over financial compensation. Or simply choose not to respond at all (or be unable to respond due to health/personal/family crises or whatever).

At least with a pre-arranged agreement (contract?), a webstore like PMK could, in theory, simply auto-launch subsequent runs when pre-orders reach a threshold, all without having to re-establish contact with the designer, or sign a new agreement, or anything that would potentially put new production runs on hold.

I mean, I realize that such an arrangement doesn't allow a designer to feel like they "own" the set all by themselves. They would have to cede some degree of control over production to someone else, making them feel a bit like freelance designers being hired out by SP rather than as self-directed artists in complete ownership of their "art", but I'm not sure the auteur theory really benefits anyone (least of all consumers) but the auteur here.

Keep in mind that I am envisioning a scenario in which SP only manages production and order fulfillment. None of this works, in my view, if they take editorial license with what a set looks like or is composed of (subject to hard manufacturing constraints, of course).

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #51 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 17:19:09 »
Looks like they finally fixed the submit login. So now you can submit your design there.

---- the submit button says "Submit Product" - hehehe....

The license link is still broken, but you can shorten it to "pimpmykeyboard.com/product_images/Keyset-Designs--License-Royalty-Payments.pdf" and it works.

Well like I said feel free to use the site. I won't unless they make the changes I mentioned. I'm not stopping anyone, just pointing out some of the real and possible problems. I trust set designers to do what's best for the community more than I trust a company with a history of NOT doing that to start doing it all of a sudden.

I agree with Niomosy, we're going in circles. Wait and see is what I say, then we can revisit this discussion.
Buying more keycaps,
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Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #52 on: Fri, 16 October 2015, 17:37:22 »
Hopefully SP will listen to your proposed changes and improvements will be made. A good-faith exchange of ideas between SP and designers stands to benefit everyone. But while you trust designers to be the guardians of "what's best for the community," I remain skeptical. When I heard that MiTo made it clear that Pulse would never be re-run, my faith in designers fell precipitously.

Offline tararais

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #53 on: Sat, 17 October 2015, 13:15:53 »
It seems strange, does SP just have less consumer awareness than MD? It's the only explanation I can think of for them having lower amounts of buyers and longer delivery time.

Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #54 on: Sat, 17 October 2015, 13:31:24 »
Of course! They're not consumer-facing in the least. The most consumer-like people they usually communicate with is people organizing GBs.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #55 on: Sat, 17 October 2015, 15:57:35 »
It seems strange, does SP just have less consumer awareness than MD? It's the only explanation I can think of for them having lower amounts of buyers and longer delivery time.

Of course! They're not consumer-facing in the least. The most consumer-like people they usually communicate with is people organizing GBs.

On that note, I added some colour chips to my cart on the site, 'cos I need some to compare actual plastic to plastic for the Classic Space GB and noticed they didn't have one red listed. So I sent an email to Melissa to ask about the colour.

I have not yet received a reply from Melissa, but I have received TWO emails from PMK reminding me to complete my order...

Subject: "Don't forget! Complete your purchase at Pimpmykeyboard.com..."
Body: "Hi xxxx,

You recently made the smart choice of adding these items to your cart:
...
Sadly, you didn't complete your order. Don't forget--we produce a limited supply of our keysets, so sometimes when they're gone . . . they're gone forever. *insert dramatic music here*
..."

The bold part was bold in the email already...

Then this one:

Subject: "You're almost there . . ."
Body: "Hi xxxx,

Don't forget you added these awesome PimpMyKeyboard items to your cart:
...
Be sure to get them before they're gone!
..."

Yup, that's the spirit, cajole your customers into buying your products using scare tactics. Really gonna help you be popular....

@zslane: I appreciate your optimism that SP will do things well and provide the community with the sets they want, at a fair price and in enough quantity so everyone gets one, but forgive me for not being as optimistic. And while I respect MiTo for his proliferation of set designs and skill in choosing colourways, I would not consider him to be representative of the average community set designer. He tends to do things his own way...
Buying more keycaps,
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but I must have them.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #56 on: Sat, 17 October 2015, 19:27:18 »
Optimistic would be too strong a word. Hopeful is more like it.

Those e-mails make me chuckle. The old "get them while they last!" tactic has been around since the dawn of salesmen. Notice how Amazon does essentially the same thing by showing (mostly) bogus in-stock figures in order to "cajole" consumers into ordering (and ordering quickly). Seems to be the new normal these days. Thanks Amazon!

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #57 on: Wed, 21 October 2015, 19:59:38 »
I don't think I will be doing any of my novelty singles through their system since 5% of sales in single keycaps nets me virtually nothing, plus they will then have right to produce them at will...I think I will pass. I can't think of a single design that I would just give to them except maybe the Nuka Cola legend...but I would love to see them try to make those keycaps and sell them on their site...hehe
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Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #58 on: Wed, 21 October 2015, 20:13:15 »
Novelty singles would would definitely not be a good choice for PMK site at all. 

Offline T0mb3ry

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #59 on: Thu, 22 October 2015, 13:42:15 »
Nothing against the new PMK Store.

But you have to keep in mind the difference between MassDrop and PMK. PMK is niche store and its well known only by keyboard enthusasts like us. While MassDrop is very well known around the world. Its not so niche. It basically offers almost everything what a mens world need. Clothes, Audiophile stuff etc. It reaches more people. I am sure Carbon has been bought also by people who never knew about all that keyboard crazyness. Same for Danger Zone.

I turned to MassDrop because the PMK store was down and i feared that Carbon, in which i spend so much time and effort, is going to be forgotten and it will not be going real. Even me cared less for Carbon that time, until i decided to run it through MassDrop.

For me as Designer it was a pleasure to see those sell numbers. Not for the money but just for feel to made something relevant for some people.

Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #60 on: Thu, 22 October 2015, 14:00:02 »
Meh, Massdrop is actually pretty niche, especially outside the US. Shipping to Norway is often over 30 USD, for example.

Offline T0mb3ry

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #61 on: Thu, 22 October 2015, 14:10:25 »
Meh, Massdrop is actually pretty niche, especially outside the US. Shipping to Norway is often over 30 USD, for example.
Shipping aside as PMKs shipping hurts the same and after that you have to visit customs too. Anyway i want to point out that MassDrop reaches more people out there. Thats a fact. I know many people outside of US, who checks MassDrop on daily basis.

Also you got no limitation in child deals where PMK limits it to 10.

Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #62 on: Thu, 22 October 2015, 14:12:29 »
Sure, but Massdrop isn't all about keycaps. I've wanted at least 10 things that would be more expensive than just buying it retail near me, so I end up not ordering it AND not buying it retail. Which is good, because it turns out I didn't need that item...

This post ended up being more about impulse purchasing than the topic...

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #63 on: Thu, 22 October 2015, 14:27:21 »
Yeah, this thread probably shouldn't devolve into one about MassDrop, but I thought MassDrop was a group buying site. The whole point of group buying is to lower the cost of highly specialized, custom made-to-order items that would otherwise cost a fortune to have made one at a time for just one customer. If you can buy something you see on MassDrop through a conventional purchasing avenue, then the group buy is utterly pointless.

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #64 on: Thu, 22 October 2015, 14:49:21 »
Yeah, this thread probably shouldn't devolve into one about MassDrop, but I thought MassDrop was a group buying site. The whole point of group buying is to lower the cost of highly specialized, custom made-to-order items that would otherwise cost a fortune to have made one at a time for just one customer. If you can buy something you see on MassDrop through a conventional purchasing avenue, then the group buy is utterly pointless.

+1
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Offline Data

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #65 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 07:28:00 »
Yeah, this thread probably shouldn't devolve into one about MassDrop, but I thought MassDrop was a group buying site. The whole point of group buying is to lower the cost of highly specialized, custom made-to-order items that would otherwise cost a fortune to have made one at a time for just one customer. If you can buy something you see on MassDrop through a conventional purchasing avenue, then the group buy is utterly pointless.

MD sometimes beats retail prices because of the bulk order.  But they are frequently behind Amazon and even the manufacturer's own web site (price wise) on some items and that baffles me.  Their buyers need to do better research.  That said, there's nothing pointless about a group buy if it saves you money in the end.  Gotta weigh the benefits and shop smart.

Offline zlittell

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #66 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 08:49:51 »
I thought MassDrop was for saving $10 off the amazon price and waiting 3 months?  All joking aside this new PMK system should be interesting.  I think people are neglecting to remember that SP is a money making business.  At the end of the day, if your set is going to net them a few hundred bucks after all the calculations they are going to run it.  Because $5000 is money, $5 is money, money is money.  Some of you are acting like there is some conspiracy over at SP to get everyone to submit sets and then never run them MWUAHAHAHAH.

I think there is a place for this system to coexist with the current systems.  There are just some sets that the designer isn't going to care that Johnny wants it Red20 but Jimmy wants it red22.  Plus don't act like the minute some dope set hits PMK its not going to be posted here, on reddit, talked about in IRC and all us fools will be drooling to get it instantly.  :p

Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #67 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 09:09:29 »
Well that hasn't happened yet.

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #68 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 09:56:43 »
Well that hasn't happened yet.

What hasn't happened yet?
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Offline tofgerl

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #69 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 10:01:36 »
A dope set hitting PMK

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #70 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 10:05:19 »
A dope set hitting PMK

hehe don't forget def, yo
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Offline zlittell

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #71 on: Fri, 23 October 2015, 10:38:30 »
what chu guys don't know bout dem dope sets yo?

Offline bjb39

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #72 on: Sun, 25 October 2015, 20:49:11 »
I plan to do something along those lines for this:

Show Image


Wow. That's stunning. Count me in for sure if you do it!

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #73 on: Wed, 04 November 2015, 04:25:07 »
Someone is listening...  :D

This from the president of SP, Bob Guenser:

"I totally understand your concern about giving SP the right to change the design. That was not the intention of the agreement.
First of all, we are manufacturers not designers and would never presume to make an improvement or change without first discussing it with the designer. The License Agreement has been modified to clarify that point.
Secondly, it was never our intention to have permanent control and usage of the design. To address this we have added a statement allowing the designer to rescind the Agreement."

I will be reviewing the changes as soon as I have the document, but this puts the system in a whole new light. As a designer, that settles all the main issues I have with it.  :thumb:

Also:

"For most of this year we have been making extra sets of GB orders and selling them through our Key Shop. Eve, Deep Space, Midnight, Modern Selectric and Juke Box (for sale shortly) are examples. We are very aware there is still strong interest in other sets like 1976 (SA), Nuclear (SA) and Symbiosis (SA) but our SA tooling (thanks to Massdrop) is booked into next year. Because we donít want to extend current manufacturing lead times, we, unfortunately, have decided NOT to run extra sets of Carbon (currently in production) and Danger Zone (next in queue). Itís not that we arenít listening, we simply donít have the capacity at this time to meet the sudden demand in SA sets. We have been running overtime for two month and increasing our tooling capacity to help us meet this unexpected demand."

So things are better than I'd hoped. Let's see how things go once the site is fully operational.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #74 on: Wed, 04 November 2015, 07:10:00 »
Someone is listening...  :D

This from the president of SP, Bob Guenser:

"I totally understand your concern about giving SP the right to change the design. That was not the intention of the agreement.
First of all, we are manufacturers not designers and would never presume to make an improvement or change without first discussing it with the designer. The License Agreement has been modified to clarify that point.
Secondly, it was never our intention to have permanent control and usage of the design. To address this we have added a statement allowing the designer to rescind the Agreement."

I will be reviewing the changes as soon as I have the document, but this puts the system in a whole new light. As a designer, that settles all the main issues I have with it.  :thumb:

Also:

"For most of this year we have been making extra sets of GB orders and selling them through our Key Shop. Eve, Deep Space, Midnight, Modern Selectric and Juke Box (for sale shortly) are examples. We are very aware there is still strong interest in other sets like 1976 (SA), Nuclear (SA) and Symbiosis (SA) but our SA tooling (thanks to Massdrop) is booked into next year. Because we donít want to extend current manufacturing lead times, we, unfortunately, have decided NOT to run extra sets of Carbon (currently in production) and Danger Zone (next in queue). Itís not that we arenít listening, we simply donít have the capacity at this time to meet the sudden demand in SA sets. We have been running overtime for two month and increasing our tooling capacity to help us meet this unexpected demand."

So things are better than I'd hoped. Let's see how things go once the site is fully operational.

See Oob, the world is not out to get you, man.  :thumb:
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Offline Data

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #75 on: Wed, 04 November 2015, 07:25:12 »
Interesting. 

Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #76 on: Wed, 11 November 2015, 15:58:00 »
Glad to see that they're increasing their SA tooling.  It seems to be needed with both the current SA sets being produced and upcoming sets.  Three large orders up for production, one currently in buy status, and pretty fair number in IC status looks to have their SA tooling rather busy well into 2016. 
« Last Edit: Wed, 11 November 2015, 16:00:06 by Niomosy »

Offline VinnyCordeiro

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #77 on: Wed, 11 November 2015, 16:32:38 »
Glad to see that they're increasing their SA tooling.  It seems to be needed with both the current SA sets being produced and upcoming sets.  Three large orders up for production, one currently in buy status, and pretty fair number in IC status looks to have their SA tooling rather busy well into 2016.
And Row 4 2.25u and 2.75u molds for SHIFT keys, as said in another post. That's pretty awesome, as a matter of fact.

Offline njbair

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #78 on: Thu, 12 November 2015, 22:48:03 »
Just think, all those folks at SP are going to have an awesome Christmas because of all the overtime pay, just to make keycaps for a handful of geeks. That's pretty neat to think about.

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Offline Booper

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #79 on: Thu, 12 November 2015, 23:34:17 »
Does PMK require exclusive rights to a design? Because if not one can still run both Massdrop and PMK and whatever else. Therefore if PMK does not require exclusivity then I do not see how it could lead to smaller availability.

What I do understand, from another post, is that the color scheme can be replicated (as it isn't copyrightable) but you can't use novelty keycap legends without the designer's authorization. Using the 1976 keyset as an example, you could replicate the keycaps colors, but couldn't use the '1976' legends.

I did a set with PMK. They still produce it and the kits are all available/restocked except the novelty pack. I randomly get checks for royalties which is pretty cool to me since I didn't expect to get anything but a free set when I started the group buy. I initially told them that I was cool with them doing some overs in order to alleviate some issues with last minute purchasers, but I didn't want them to just keep my set in stock. The only reason I cared is because I would feel used if they made money off my design consistantly without compensating me at all. Then they told me that if they keep it in stock and sell it, they will send me royalties which I thought was totally fair.

--

I think a lot of the argument is dependent on the group buy organizer and what they are comfortable with doing.

I liked working with PMK and I liked the intimacy of it all. Rallying support from people in the immediate community and going back and forth with Melissa and co. was all a really cool experience. I find the folks at PMK to be very patient, very cooperative, and very accommodating. Melissa is a friggen saint. No business is ever perfect, but I like to support what they are trying to do.

Some people like to take that community element a step further and do old school group buys which are also really cool! It's such an intimate (for lack of a better term) method and is something that brings people together. I have major respect for people that go this route!

Massdrop is good for getting quantity out, but for some that's not all that matters and can be a deterrent. I think it would have been weird to run my set on a larger scale like what Massdrop has. It would have been intimidating to the point of not wanting to do it if MD would have been my only option.

So personally, I like that PMK is a little more niche! That being said... their website being down for months sucked and their new site isn't all that magnificent. Each method of group buy though I think has it's own pros and cons depending on what you are in it for!
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Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #80 on: Fri, 13 November 2015, 13:13:49 »
One other thought on the reproduction of sets and novelties.  As far as I'm aware, the novelties can be redone but two criteria would need to be met.

First, they would need to not fall under legal protection (text based novelties and certain simple shapes that wouldn't fall under protection come to mind). 

Second, you would need to recreate the molds to avoid needing permission to use the existing molds. 

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #81 on: Fri, 13 November 2015, 19:51:55 »
I suspect that sort of thing all comes down to how SP chooses to deal with the issue.

For instance, nobody can own the alphabet, and that's why typefaces aren't protected, only specific digital representations (or metal blocks for those who have them). Anyone can trace an existing typeface and put out their own version. It doesn't matter that they didn't come up with the glyph shapes themselves.

So if SP follows the precedent set for typefaces, then anyone could take an existing novelty legend, make their own version of it, and have a new legend plate cut for it. You pays your money and you gets your (copy of the) novelty legend.

But if SP decides to treat every novelty legend as though it were a registered trademark, then you'd be out of luck.

Offline njbair

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #82 on: Fri, 13 November 2015, 21:04:57 »


Melissa is a friggen saint.

QFT.

By the way, which recurring keyset is yours?

Alpine Winter GB | My Personal TMK Firmware Repo
IBM Rubber Band "Floss" Mod | Click Modding Alps 101 | Flame-Polishing Cherry MX Stems
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My boards:
More
AEKII 60% | Alps64 HHKB | Ducky Shine 3, MX Blues | IBM Model M #1391401, Nov. 1990 | IBM SSK #1391472, Nov. 1987, screw modded, rubber-band modded | Noppoo EC108-Pro, 45g | Infinity 60% v2 Hacker, Matias Quiet Pros | Infinity 60% v2 Standard, MX Browns | Cherry G80-1800LPCEU-2, MX Blacks | Cherry G80-1813 (Dolch), MX Blues | Unicomp M-122, ANSI-modded | Unicomp M-122 (Unsaver mod in progress) | 2x Unitek K-258, White Alps | Apple boards (IIGS, AEKII) | Varmilo VA87MR, Gateron Blacks | Filco Zero TKL, Fukka White Alps | Planck, Gateron Browns | Monarch, click-modded Cream Alps

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #83 on: Mon, 16 November 2015, 04:02:37 »
One other thought on the reproduction of sets and novelties.  As far as I'm aware, the novelties can be redone but two criteria would need to be met.

First, they would need to not fall under legal protection (text based novelties and certain simple shapes that wouldn't fall under protection come to mind). 

Second, you would need to recreate the molds to avoid needing permission to use the existing molds.

How SP deals with it is the only thing that matters in this case. And they won't run someone elses design without permission from the original designer, which I applaud them for.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #84 on: Mon, 16 November 2015, 15:34:38 »
Indeed.

By the same token, I'd like to see an optional clause I could sign whereby I could hand over the design to them so they could run it whenever there's demand, without having to bug me about it every time.

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #85 on: Mon, 16 November 2015, 15:35:54 »
Indeed.

By the same token, I'd like to see an optional clause I could sign whereby I could hand over the design to them so they could run it whenever there's demand, without having to bug me about it every time.

+1

Thinking of doing this for Vaults...not sure though
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Offline Niomosy

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #86 on: Mon, 16 November 2015, 17:45:59 »
I believe you should be able to just let SP know of your intent there that it can be run.  Wasn't there another set that did this?  For some reason I recall that being the case.
« Last Edit: Mon, 16 November 2015, 18:21:43 by Niomosy »

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #87 on: Fri, 20 November 2015, 05:29:13 »
I believe you should be able to just let SP know of your intent there that it can be run.  Wasn't there another set that did this?  For some reason I recall that being the case.

Yup, just read Booper's post, a few above yours.

SP is still a company that has personal contact with their designers and customers and despite my misgivings about their efforts to get a semi-GB system in place, they do what's in the best interests of both parties, respecting people's wishes and requests unless they clash with each other. Also their options for designers are unmatched by any other manufacturer.

I just think they should either:
1. do a full GB system with preorders and fallback kit choices so they get a true picture of how many sets to make. That'd make it "better" than MD since the prices would be lower, a little quicker to get to the buyers and they solve the international kits problem.
2. stick to simply selling extras on their store if the designer agrees to it (which they calculate from external GB order numbers), with the option to make more to meet demand.

Number 2 would be easiest for them and involve not doing stuff that's untested. Number 1 would require a big commitment and lots of work.

This in-between, "almost GB" thing is not all that promising, IMO. I can even see how it could be detrimental to the "normal" GB's. If only subpar designs get submitted (due to well developed designs most likely rather running through MD, not to mention that seems to have happened a lot with the old site), but somehow one gets enough votes, they'll reserve a slot for it and it will go to production, taking the time that a set that's gone through the "full" process and is up as a "proper" GB should have.

Right now, it's not likely anything major will change with the site and the most glaring objections of mine have been addressed, so we can simply see how things go for a while.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Niomosy

  • Posts: 1239
Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #88 on: Fri, 20 November 2015, 13:52:54 »
Since the other thread is now locked, I'll bring the question here.

We were talking about some standard sets using classic colors.  Those seem like just the thing to run through the PMK system as-is.  You're right that more specialized sets with novelties and such would be more likely to run through MD given the current PMK system but I think some of those classic kits would find a good home within the PMK system.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #89 on: Fri, 20 November 2015, 15:11:22 »
One of the reasons I put the idea out there that "vintage colorways" might be a useful product category almost unto itself is that I have this idea for a 60% case project; the kind of thing that could be prototyped at a maker facility like TechShops. This case would be a top-cover as well as a base to fasten onto, it would be lightly textured aluminum, and it would be molded to remind you of an IBM Selectric. It could be painted in any of the classic Selectric colors, but my first prototype would be brown, like my Selectric II at home.

So if the goal is to have a 60% that looks like a mini IBM Selectric, then you need 60% SA keycap sets that are all one color. The most iconic colors were: charcoal gray, medium gray, and bright blue. We have medium gray (Honey GREY). We have a medium blue (Cadet BLUE) but not really a bright blue. Dasher's light blue might suffice, but that might not be ideal. And right now we don't have a charcoal (near-black) gray set in fully sculptured SA. Honey's NN black keycaps could substitute for the time being, but something like GB gray would be better, I think.

Sets like that which are basically just full sets in one vintage-y color, not unlike the Filco set, feel like good candidates for the PMK store. If there was a MassDrop run of the Selectric case, then folks will want somewhere to turn for the keycaps, and right now there is no place to go where you can just order the color you like. There is if you want blanks or generic dyesub DSAs, but not if you want a 60% sculptured SA set in one of the "IBM colors".

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #90 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 05:33:16 »
One of the reasons I put the idea out there that "vintage colorways" might be a useful product category almost unto itself is that I have this idea for a 60% case project; the kind of thing that could be prototyped at a maker facility like TechShops. This case would be a top-cover as well as a base to fasten onto, it would be lightly textured aluminum, and it would be molded to remind you of an IBM Selectric. It could be painted in any of the classic Selectric colors, but my first prototype would be brown, like my Selectric II at home.

So if the goal is to have a 60% that looks like a mini IBM Selectric, then you need 60% SA keycap sets that are all one color. The most iconic colors were: charcoal gray, medium gray, and bright blue. We have medium gray (Honey GREY). We have a medium blue (Cadet BLUE) but not really a bright blue. Dasher's light blue might suffice, but that might not be ideal. And right now we don't have a charcoal (near-black) gray set in fully sculptured SA. Honey's NN black keycaps could substitute for the time being, but something like GB gray would be better, I think.

Sets like that which are basically just full sets in one vintage-y color, not unlike the Filco set, feel like good candidates for the PMK store. If there was a MassDrop run of the Selectric case, then folks will want somewhere to turn for the keycaps, and right now there is no place to go where you can just order the color you like. There is if you want blanks or generic dyesub DSAs, but not if you want a 60% sculptured SA set in one of the "IBM colors".

I agree. Some base colours would be nice to have as sets available to buy on the store. But deciding which colours to use would be a problem. There are a lot of colourways that could be considered "classic".

You could also run the caps as a concurrent GB with the case. I'm sure there's be people who don't buy the case interested in the caps and vice versa.
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Data

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #91 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 08:06:22 »
Dolch, Olivetti, WoB and BoW seem like obvious starting points to me.

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #92 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 10:47:53 »
I am not normally one to complain, but can someone explain why this set ($50) costs so much more than this one ($28)? Especially when the Modern Selectric is predominantly Black/White (which I know is the cheapest ABS material to work with).  :-\
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Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #93 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 13:53:42 »
Two reasons come to mind. Modern Selectric has custom legends, the cost of which is surely folded into the kit cost. Also, the Jukebox prices are probably based on the volume cost of the initial run which tends to have the highest volume, and therefore lowest prices. Modern Selectric could be in a "re-run" phase where production quantities are lower and prices a bit higher as a result.

Offline 00zeRO

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #94 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 13:59:52 »
Two reasons come to mind. Modern Selectric has custom legends, the cost of which is surely folded into the kit cost. Also, the Jukebox prices are probably based on the volume cost of the initial run which tends to have the highest volume, and therefore lowest prices. Modern Selectric could be in a "re-run" phase where production quantities are lower and prices a bit higher as a result.

Still stinks...
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Offline Niomosy

  • Posts: 1239
Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #95 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 17:21:13 »
One of the reasons I put the idea out there that "vintage colorways" might be a useful product category almost unto itself is that I have this idea for a 60% case project; the kind of thing that could be prototyped at a maker facility like TechShops. This case would be a top-cover as well as a base to fasten onto, it would be lightly textured aluminum, and it would be molded to remind you of an IBM Selectric. It could be painted in any of the classic Selectric colors, but my first prototype would be brown, like my Selectric II at home.

So if the goal is to have a 60% that looks like a mini IBM Selectric, then you need 60% SA keycap sets that are all one color. The most iconic colors were: charcoal gray, medium gray, and bright blue. We have medium gray (Honey GREY). We have a medium blue (Cadet BLUE) but not really a bright blue. Dasher's light blue might suffice, but that might not be ideal. And right now we don't have a charcoal (near-black) gray set in fully sculptured SA. Honey's NN black keycaps could substitute for the time being, but something like GB gray would be better, I think.

Sets like that which are basically just full sets in one vintage-y color, not unlike the Filco set, feel like good candidates for the PMK store. If there was a MassDrop run of the Selectric case, then folks will want somewhere to turn for the keycaps, and right now there is no place to go where you can just order the color you like. There is if you want blanks or generic dyesub DSAs, but not if you want a 60% sculptured SA set in one of the "IBM colors".

I agree. Some base colours would be nice to have as sets available to buy on the store. But deciding which colours to use would be a problem. There are a lot of colourways that could be considered "classic".

You could also run the caps as a concurrent GB with the case. I'm sure there's be people who don't buy the case interested in the caps and vice versa.

I think we could probably capture some basics with relative ease.  Glancing back through old keyboards for some classic inspiration, it could be something put up to vote for a few basics; basic beige, blue, black, gray.  I think those four tend to cover the major classic cap colors.  Pick a set for each color and you're off and running.  That way other designers can still change the colors and offer up something unique while new users are easily able to jump in with a decent selection of available caps.

Offline zslane

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #96 on: Wed, 25 November 2015, 19:18:57 »
You could also run the caps as a concurrent GB with the case. I'm sure there's be people who don't buy the case interested in the caps and vice versa.

Oh, I agree completely. I always envisioned a MassDrop which offered the case with optional keycaps, and color choices for both.

Offline Oobly

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Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #97 on: Tue, 01 December 2015, 04:46:21 »
One of the reasons I put the idea out there that "vintage colorways" might be a useful product category almost unto itself is that I have this idea for a 60% case project; the kind of thing that could be prototyped at a maker facility like TechShops. This case would be a top-cover as well as a base to fasten onto, it would be lightly textured aluminum, and it would be molded to remind you of an IBM Selectric. It could be painted in any of the classic Selectric colors, but my first prototype would be brown, like my Selectric II at home.

So if the goal is to have a 60% that looks like a mini IBM Selectric, then you need 60% SA keycap sets that are all one color. The most iconic colors were: charcoal gray, medium gray, and bright blue. We have medium gray (Honey GREY). We have a medium blue (Cadet BLUE) but not really a bright blue. Dasher's light blue might suffice, but that might not be ideal. And right now we don't have a charcoal (near-black) gray set in fully sculptured SA. Honey's NN black keycaps could substitute for the time being, but something like GB gray would be better, I think.

Sets like that which are basically just full sets in one vintage-y color, not unlike the Filco set, feel like good candidates for the PMK store. If there was a MassDrop run of the Selectric case, then folks will want somewhere to turn for the keycaps, and right now there is no place to go where you can just order the color you like. There is if you want blanks or generic dyesub DSAs, but not if you want a 60% sculptured SA set in one of the "IBM colors".

I agree. Some base colours would be nice to have as sets available to buy on the store. But deciding which colours to use would be a problem. There are a lot of colourways that could be considered "classic".

You could also run the caps as a concurrent GB with the case. I'm sure there's be people who don't buy the case interested in the caps and vice versa.

I think we could probably capture some basics with relative ease.  Glancing back through old keyboards for some classic inspiration, it could be something put up to vote for a few basics; basic beige, blue, black, gray.  I think those four tend to cover the major classic cap colors.  Pick a set for each color and you're off and running.  That way other designers can still change the colors and offer up something unique while new users are easily able to jump in with a decent selection of available caps.

I guess they could make them like the black and white dcs sets they offer: TKL, alphas, mods, numpad. Gives people options to use any combination base and mods, although I think just TKL and numpad would probably be good enough (and it's easier to work our how many to run).
Buying more keycaps,
it really hacks my wallet,
but I must have them.

Offline Niomosy

  • Posts: 1239
Re: What do you think of new Signature Plastics Group Buy process?
« Reply #98 on: Tue, 01 December 2015, 13:07:27 »
One of the reasons I put the idea out there that "vintage colorways" might be a useful product category almost unto itself is that I have this idea for a 60% case project; the kind of thing that could be prototyped at a maker facility like TechShops. This case would be a top-cover as well as a base to fasten onto, it would be lightly textured aluminum, and it would be molded to remind you of an IBM Selectric. It could be painted in any of the classic Selectric colors, but my first prototype would be brown, like my Selectric II at home.

So if the goal is to have a 60% that looks like a mini IBM Selectric, then you need 60% SA keycap sets that are all one color. The most iconic colors were: charcoal gray, medium gray, and bright blue. We have medium gray (Honey GREY). We have a medium blue (Cadet BLUE) but not really a bright blue. Dasher's light blue might suffice, but that might not be ideal. And right now we don't have a charcoal (near-black) gray set in fully sculptured SA. Honey's NN black keycaps could substitute for the time being, but something like GB gray would be better, I think.

Sets like that which are basically just full sets in one vintage-y color, not unlike the Filco set, feel like good candidates for the PMK store. If there was a MassDrop run of the Selectric case, then folks will want somewhere to turn for the keycaps, and right now there is no place to go where you can just order the color you like. There is if you want blanks or generic dyesub DSAs, but not if you want a 60% sculptured SA set in one of the "IBM colors".

I agree. Some base colours would be nice to have as sets available to buy on the store. But deciding which colours to use would be a problem. There are a lot of colourways that could be considered "classic".

You could also run the caps as a concurrent GB with the case. I'm sure there's be people who don't buy the case interested in the caps and vice versa.

I think we could probably capture some basics with relative ease.  Glancing back through old keyboards for some classic inspiration, it could be something put up to vote for a few basics; basic beige, blue, black, gray.  I think those four tend to cover the major classic cap colors.  Pick a set for each color and you're off and running.  That way other designers can still change the colors and offer up something unique while new users are easily able to jump in with a decent selection of available caps.

I guess they could make them like the black and white dcs sets they offer: TKL, alphas, mods, numpad. Gives people options to use any combination base and mods, although I think just TKL and numpad would probably be good enough (and it's easier to work our how many to run).

TKL and Numpad are pretty solid basic options for people.  I could see that working out.  The big problem right now is PMK.  In the Troubled Minds thread thesiscamper mentioned having submitted a design to the PMK system weeks ago and has heard nothing of it yet.  That's a bit troubling to hear.  Granted, they're pretty busy at the moment so that might have something to do with it but at least a reply of some kind would be helpful.