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A Rough Budget and Alpha Roadmap

Posted by Bjarni on September 11, 2013

Brennan, Smári and I had a longish meeting in London last Friday to discuss our next steps, now that the campaign is finished. We discussed budgets and development plans and came up with a rough road-map for what we are going to work on during the next few months.

In the interest of transparency, we would like to share the highlights with the community.

The Budget

As this is written, our budget looks like this:

  • $151,000 (IndieGoGo: $163,192 minus handling fees)
  • $1,000 (from PayPal)
  • $6,600 (54.77 Bitcoins)
  • $158,000 TOTAL (= 19,230,180 ISK)

The numbers above are estimates, as we are currently unsure of both the bitcoin exchange rates and the final combined handling fees of IndieGoGo, PayPal, credit card companies and banks. But it's safe to assume we'll have about $158,000 dollars to work with.

As discussed in Turning Money into Code, we are for the first few months going to pretend we raised exactly $100,000 USD and spend that on salaries. Although we would rather keep the exact split private, we can say that the salaries are calculated based on our needs and personal circumstances, rather than "fairness" or seniority. Our goal is to make sure each member of the team is as happy and productive as possible.

This leaves roughly $58,000 USD (after handling fees, taxes and other overhead) for rainy days, for attending conferences and to hire contractors for specific tasks (such as packaging, or dealing with our font licensing complications ). This also gives us the leeway to raise our salaries a bit if poverty starts to interfere with our productivity.

As a minor implementation detail, we will be founding an Icelandic company around the project named Mailpile ehf which will be run in the spirit of a minimal overhead non-profit. The company will mostly be responsible for managing the project funds and fullfilling our local regulatory obligations.

The Road-Map

The second result of our Friday marathon-meeting was a more detailed road-map for the next few months and a clearer definition of what we are going to do now and what we are going to do later.

September

Primary goals:

  • Prepare campaign perks
  • Select a platform for the Mailpile Community
  • Bring the Mailpile code-base to "dogfooding" status

The final point is worth elaborating on slightly. By "dogfooding", we mean we want to get Mailpile to the point where the three of us (and other sufficiently motivated developers) can use the software to read and write e-mail. The main feature points we need to complete for that to be possible are:

  • Reading Mac Mail.app mailboxes
  • Working IMAP and POP3 support
  • The ability to compose and send e-mail
  • A working address book

October-November

Primary goals:

  • Mail campaign perks, wrap up the campaign
  • Community forum in place
  • 1st draft of crypto functionality
  • Prepare for Open Source contributions (dev docs, testing, etc.)

Sub-tasks:

  • Launch community forum
  • Use community forum to choose a license
  • OpenPGP encryption/decryption and UI
  • OpenPGP Key Management
  • Code Testing
  • Code Documentation
  • Plugin Architecture
  • Internationalization / Localization support
  • APIs

December

Primary goals:

  • Handle spam
  • Support multiple personalities/identities
  • Polish the UI

Sub-tasks:

  • Tag management
  • Sender Identities
  • Keybindings
  • Integrate spam filtering

January

Primary goals:

  • Alpha release!
  • Draft a new 3-4 month road-map

We are pretty comfortable with this plan. We feel it is realistic and has measurable results at regular intervals, which will help both us and you gauge how well the project is doing.



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