Business Plan

“America's not a country, it's just a business.”
~Killing Them Softly

Executive Summary

Crumpled Cortex strives to design captivating curved-crease origami, 3D printed jewelry, and iPhone apps. Drawing upon nature, concepts from science, mathematics, and philosophy, and guided by aesthetics, we construct enticing forms which appeal to fans...

Grievances with Modern American Work Culture

  • Work hours
    • Americans express a bizarre pride in the amount they work, often frowning down upon people who work fewer than the widely accepted 40-hour work week, praising and bragging about overtime or entrepreneurs putting in 60 and 80 hour work weeks.
    • I think it should be a sign of progress that we continually reduce the work week and expand our leisure time.
      • Bertrand Russell wrote that “to be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level”. (The Conquest of Happiness, Ch. 14: Work)
  • Wage stagnation
    • A highly complex and multifaceted problem, at the very least it indicates a further tipping of power in the employer's favor (the direction it was already biased towards to begin with).
    • I suspect it reflects the continual rise in worker productivity, which may be in part driven by both technological advancement and by increasing employee effort to remain competitive as the global economy quaked in 2008.
  • Bitterly competitive
    • The attitude that competition solves all problems is very pervasive in America, to the point where a sizable fraction of the electorate (enough to support a major party with the help of gerrymandering, plus many in the fringe party of libertarianism).
      • As a result sensible regulation is often demonized.
    • This underlies the “workaholic” problems and long hours described above.
    • Because of the extreme attitudes towards competition, cheating, such as resume padding, becomes commonplace. The result is that people who are willing to cheat and cut corners rise through the ranks faster, and a culture of rule bending grows epidemic in the highest ranks. Enron is a particularly gruesome example.
    • The economic shocks in 2008 were caused by the financial industry laundering risk out of their products, obfuscating the actual risk of what they were buying and selling. It created a minefield in the industry that still, seven years later, has not been cleared of danger. 
  • Automation
    • It seems inevitable to me that sooner or later the ultimate labor saving device will force us to rethink our entire socio-economic system. And I think we've been feeling the effects of this problem for decades, but that as computers become increasingly powerful and sophisticated, becoming more competitive with human labor, the consequences become more pronounced. (A bit tautological.)

Resources

Typical structure for a business plan for a start up venture [8]

  • cover page and table of contents
  • executive summary
  • mission statement
  • business description
  • business environment analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • industry background
  • competitor analysis
  • market analysis
  • marketing plan
  • operations plan
  • management summary
  • financial plan
  • attachments and milestones

Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start up venture [9]

  • What problem does the company's product or service solve? What niche will it fill?
  • What is the company's solution to the problem?
  • Who are the company's customers, and how will the company market and sell its products to them?
  • What is the size of the market for this solution?
  • What is the business model for the business (how will it make money)?
  • Who are the competitors and how will the company maintain a competitive advantage?
  • How does the company plan to manage its operations as it grows?
  • Who will run the company and what makes them qualified to do so?
  • What are the risks and threats confronting the business, and what can be done to mitigate them?
  • What are the company's capital and resource requirements?
  • What are the company's historical and projected financial statements?

SWOT Analysis:

  • Strengths:
    • uniqueness
  • Weaknesses: 
    • lethargy
  • Opportunities:
    • science most don't understand
  • Threats:
    • not sure

 

Products

  • iPhone/iPad software:
    • Develop iPhone camera apps, market them by sharing the photos they produce on Instagram.
      • Also try to partner with Olloclip and Seene when you release zeeify?
    • Games
    • Educational apps.
    • See also: project list
  • 3D printed jewelry
  • Curved-crease origami

I know my target audience: naturalists (atheists), fans of science, mathematics, secularism, rationality, abstraction & aesthetics.

I know I plan to focus on internet sales, rather than fairs or consignment (though I should perhaps look into fairs & consignment as places to start anyway).

Curved-Crease Origami has the advantages of novelty, low overhead, mathematical appeal, and fine art/aesthetics

Why I'm determined to make this work.

The reasons are many fold — I am upset at traditional business models, I'm outraged by the power corporations exert over employees, everything from the wages of unskilled laborers, to the ratio of pay between the executives and the lowest-level employees, to the influence corporations have over their employee's ability to speak openly about important issues.

Some of the reasons I'm attracted to this work in particular:
I enjoy 3D modeling and this allows me to pursue my interests in mathematics physics and science more broadly as I approach producing 3D printed or cast items inspired by these fields.

It affords me the freedom to live anywhere, and to work when, where & how I want.
It allows me to stake out controversial opinions on important topics like religion, politics, and drugs.

We've watched wages in America stagnate for decades, and they've barely grown since the great recession — in the two periods during which I had a stable job (2000-2003, 2007-2011), year-to-year wage growth was shrinking, and it was already far lower than in previous periods.

I also think Americans work far too much. Sometimes they're even proud of the absurd hours they work, which I find to be disturbing.

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