Olivia

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News

2003.3.19 We've been talking to Apple a bit and I've looked into .mac a bit more - they are doing plenty of the things I talk about here: email, backups, photos, etc. Oh my. Everything is proceeding as I had forseen it.

2002.1.17 It strikes me that the new iMac is rather Oliviaesque. Oh, I love to say, 'I told you so'!

2001.1.7 Olivia was an entry for the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition. Yes, I know it's too weird to win.


Summary Olivia is a direct-to-consumer manufacturer of unique custom personal computers and information appliances, an aggregator of open-source software, and a provider of network services.
Elevator Pitch Olivia creates branded, custom personal computers, information appliances and network services for individuals and free agents who need a quality, useable computing experience.
Olivia manages your email and other data to provide a seamless, secure, robust and stylish user experience across multiple devices, coupled with intimate customer service.
Unlike dull grey Windows PC's and Apple, who reek of arrogance and disregard for the customer, Olivia delivers a distinctive quality of device now, built for open-source software, bundled with services such as seamless software updates and network data management, designed to scale with the network into pervasive computing.
Or, put another way... Olivia loves you. She wants you to be able to carry you everywhere with her, and plug her into a monitor wherever you happen to be. She doesn't need to be switched on or off. She doesn't have cables to forget (though she does have tentacles). Olivia has a ll the software you need, and it's all updated for you automatically. It's also all free. Olivia keeps your precious data in her network, so that you can get to your data from anywhere, and it's always securely backed up. Olivia happens also to be very se cure, herself. So much so that she looks out for your security. The future is weird and scary. Luckily, Olivia is going to keep you company for a long time. When nanotechnology comes along, Olivia will be right there, looking after you. Good thing she loves you.
Hardware Olivia is a custom, stylized computer. Our first line of Olivia machines is Olivia, the Electric Octopus. It is a computer in the body of an Octopus. Later Olivia lines may have different forms. Each Olivia machine is built to order from standard components, e.g. pci cards, packaged in a unique customisable 'case'. The case will be electroluminescent. Olivia hardware is built to be robust and entirely self-contained, e.g. Olivia's tentacles are USB, RGB, power and other useful connectors. Olivia machines generally plug into monitors, keyboards etc, or act as servers on a local network. They can, however, include small LCD panels and collapsable keyboards. Olivia machines run a Debian GNU/Linux distribution.
Software Olivia is a set of open-source software tools, installed by default on Olivia machines. Over time versions will be available free for other operating systems and network devices, including palms, phones and consoles. Olivia tools faciliate data management and useability, including email and file management. Olivia tools are primarily based on GNU/Linux components and newer open-source packages, especially Nautilus from Eazel. Additionally the Olivia suite includes some unusual applications specific to Olivia hardware and network services, for example a unique 'intelligent Olivia' simulated octopus.
Services Olivia provides network services to Olivia software users, primarily our hardware customers, but also anyone else using supported software (e.g. Nautilus users). Olivia operates email and file management, including secure archiving and remote access, domains and other generic tasks. In addition Olivia develops unique and unusual network services, for example online groups, games and artifical life simulations. These are both intended to be useful or entertaining to customers, but also as invitations to new subscribers. Olivia network services are provided on a subscription basis.
Position Olivia's focus is on the needs of individuals, considered as free agents with both corporate and independent commitments. We do not target the corporate market, but expect to support customers in corporate environments.
Olivia sells direct to the customer without the use of any distribution channels such as VARs or retailers. This is because we insist on a direct and intimate relationship with our customers.
Olivia does not compete on price, and expects good margins on both its hardware sales and network services. Packaged software is not a revenue source.
Olivia hopes to reach early adopters quickly, selling high-end units and creating a knowledgeable customer-base. With positive cashflows, strengthening customer community and improving logistics and economies we can reach down into lower price-points. We do not intend to do any aggressive advertising before achieving positive cashflows.
Olivia's value lies in its unique hardware, useability of software and quality service provision.
Marketing Strategy Develop first models and site. Get slashdotted. Sell 1,000+ Olivias immediately. Ship Olivias. Have happy, nerdy customers. Generate word of mouth. Sell more Olivias.
Market Olivia competes in the huge market for packaged computers. The PC market is valued in the order of $100bn sales annually.
Olivia's network services provide an ongoing revenue source. This young market is difficult to size.
Competitive analysis Olivia sees itself as directly competitive with Apple Computer Inc. We believe that Apple has become fat and arrogant due to a lack of competition, or at least competition with any style, in the market for branded, user-focused personal computers
Potential Partners
  • Olivia has a strategy of pursuing partnerships as opposed to replicating engineering or systems in-house. In particular we anticipate using and contributing to a large number of open-source projects.
  • Eazel, developers of Nautilus. We hope to form an early partnership with Eazel. Olivia network services potentially compete with Eazel's service revenues, but we may be able to share revenue or arrange some other deal. Eazel are using Loudcloud to host their network services and we anticipate using a similar provider for our network services platform. We may end up just building right on top the Eazel network.
  • Progeny Linux develops a variant of Debian that might be useful.
  • Helixcode claims to be "the leading open source desktop company. We are focused on making GNOME the best desktop on the planet, and making it available to everyone."
  • Hardware component suppliers. Various suppliers of hardware components ranging from the standard (video cards) to the unique (octopus arm cloth keyboards).
  • 'Case' manufacturers. We hope to find suppliers, or a series of suppliers, who can make the necessary components and/or handle manufacture of our customer cases.
Operations Olivia will be a product design, web operations, assembly and customer service organisation.
Whilst everyone at Olivia will have specialisation, everyone will work every part of the process, at least every so often. The CFO will build the odd Olivia and answer plenty of customer experience email.
Orders will be taken direct from the web and components ordered direct from the suppliers. When components arrive they are assembled. Built machines have installation and burn-in, then are shipped out. Customer service is primarily via email.
Customer Experience Olivia is utterly focused on the customer experience. This shows itself in our simple, useable web-site. In the open conversation between the staff - from the CEO to the chef - with our customers. We intend to focus more on retaining customers than attracting new ones, because we believe that word of mouth is the only effective form of advertising in the net work age. We intend to retain our customers over decades, if not centuries.
Long-term Strategy Olivia's value and intention is in developing long-term relationships with its customers. To this end we anticipate, of course, continuing to innovate, improve and develop our hardware, software and services. Some things we forsee:
  • Integrating Olivia with the full range of networking possibilities, software and services available. For example, ensuring good Bluetooth behaviour, or working nicely with Yahoo! mail.
  • Other Olivias - ranging from a lapel-badge Bluetooth Olivia that talks to your main unit, to a larger standard-PC-hardware Olivia for the gamers. We anticipate making new shapes of Olivia, for example a more standard laptop-style 'Clam', or a 'Pirate's Chest'.
  • Extending Olivia's network services to include games and other proprietary features.
  • Improving the intelligence of the Olivia devices, such that become interesting to play with. These intelligences will, of course, live on the network. Hence the games.
  • Adding Robotics to the Olivia models, such that they animate and do interesting things.
  • Producing Toy Olivias for increasingly younger children.
  • Creating Olivias using biological and nanotechnological techniques.
  • Creating 'Secure' Olivias that actually physically protect their owners.
Financials

A few pretty random numbers, right now:

Average Olivia Price 	$3,500
Cost of Goods		$2,000
Olivia subscription 	$30 pcm

Customers to Break-even 5,000 ?

Seed to Demonstration	$150k
A to v1.0 release	$1.5m
B to bulk-up		$15m

Direct IPO to Customers
Olivia Team Founder and Chief Designer Daniel James is a serial entrepeneur who's been online since 1982.
Rob Cockerham is a developer for iConvention and runs the sixth-best website in the world.
You are someone diligent enough to read to the bottom of this. Send me email.
Appendices Olivia drawing from notebook. From v.1.0 to v.N(ano)!
Olivia renderings 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 courtesy of Rob Cockerham.

Olivia is Copyright © and Trademark Daniel James 2000.