Week #220

Friday, May 1st, 02015 at 20:02 UTC

It is week #220 and May 1st. It is a short week here in Iceland since May 1st is a public holiday. So we’ll make this brief. 220 share’s its name with the SMTP status code 220 meaning “service ready”. We did accomplished a lot this week, but we’re certainly not “service ready”.

This week we were NOT onsite with any customers. That meant we managed to get loads of little things done internally. Our tax info is due very soon, so we sat down and did the books to make sure we’re on track. Everything looks good, the burn rate says that if we stopped taking customers we’d have a good runway to either find more work or push out our products for sale.

We spent some time this week on our Volunteer system. Slowly putting some things in order for this fall. May 19th one of our development partners is attending a conference all about volunteering and we’ve been getting some documentation, promotional information and setting-up a one-page website to collect emails of others interested in also joining the development phase.

We also had a few meetings this week with various groups. We picked the brains of a friend who runs a small shop on the high-street. They are bootstrapping and looking for ways to save money. The shop opted to NOT pay for the high-end Point-of-Sales system with a barcode reader and inventory control and instead a simple credit card reader and calculator adding-up all the price tags. This has saved lots of money, but is a hassle for inventory control. It seems, at least here in Iceland, a POS system costs a small fortune and probably isn’t worth it if you are small. Being in such a tiny country with little competition or outside, international companies trying to break into the market, you are stuck with local monopolies and their prices. He does have a small web presence with much better rates and inventory control. So we discussed how to have a physical shop, but run everything through the websites sales channel.

We also meet-up with some other folks working on some interesting visualisation projects and problems. It was just a quick one hour chat, meet and great, and introduction, but we did brainstorm a bit about how we could potentially help each other in the future.


We are sitting on 4 unpaid invoices. It is the start of the month today, so we’ve sent out one invoice covering work in April. That obviously hasn’t been paid. That leaves 3 outstanding. Two of which were sent internationally and had several administrative problems. That’s just growing pains when starting with a new customer, getting the format right, address on invoice updated, etc. Once you’ve got the template sorted, the rest flow much easier. Then there is our 1 troublesome invoice that is still lingering. We’ll continue to pester. The tax on it has already been paid (we do that every two months), so this one hurts more than others. It has been so long not only are we not getting the money, but we’re out of pocket to the tax man too.

It is also May 1st, workers day. On social media there is the #talkpay where people are sharing their hourly/day rates. We’re been pretty open about our work with our annual reports, although we scrub a lot of numbers out and do things in percentages. This is partly because the magnitude doesn’t matter, it is more helpful for others to see how it is being spent and easier for two groups to compare and for us to compare between years. In the spirit of #talkpay, the company is currently billing out at 9,800 ISK per hour, plus Value Added Tax which is 24% in Iceland. International customers don’t pay the VAT which is a bonus for them. That means our affective day rate in the UK is around 400 GBP and $75 USD per hour. Sometime we give discounts or fixed-bid prices on projects. We haven’t taken on enough work to try “value pricing” where we derive the cost based on the value the customer is getting out of it. Why pay us $75 an hour if we manage to rebuild your online store and save you $1000 of dollars each day.

Later this year, we’ll be reviewing our rates and probably adjusting them. Iceland is notorious for hyper-inflation. This year has been extremely minimal, but the Icelandic Krónur’s value compared to other currencies has been fluctuating.


Last weeknote we mentioned SpaceX’s failed re-entry landing attempt. This week it is Blue Origin’s launch. The world of private space exploration is heating-up!

In August 02004, the MESSENGER space probe was sent to explore and photograph the planet Mercury. It was planned on being only a 1 year mission once it arrived. Through the use of very frugal propulsion, they managed to stretch it out to four years. This week, they ran out of fuel and it crashed into the surface of Mercury. This was the last photo taken before impact.

This issues around having a satellite that close to the sun, the extreme temperatures, radiation, solar wind, and brightness all meant some very interesting technology was pack onboard. The solar panels alone were 70% reflective to keep them from melting under the heat.

This week was also the anniversary of the World Wide Web. April 30th, 01993 saw the official declaration of the World Wide Web into the public domain. This the 22nd anniversary of CERN’s contribution to society and the Internet. We were selected as part of a small team a few years ago to emulate the first popular browser for the web.