Give the people the fish

This may be totally inappropriate, and honestly, I would not like some random customer coming into this community and questioning my business… but… I’m that annoying guy who’s always very honest, even it is just for throughout provocation…

Elco (and MDMA? I assume you’re both owners) have you ever read the $100 startup? Think whatever you want of the book and concept, but theres a repeated theme in the text as it applies to business and it is:


I get the whole ‘open source’ thing, but please, for gods sake, consider the thousands of people tripping over themselves to buy shit off you guys right now and want a good solution that just works. Invest some cash in getting some coders to work for you, project some cash flow, and sell us a freaking product that beats the competition! I’ve been scratching my head about this for months… Do you want an investor?

Rant over… Conider this an appropriate place to discuss the topic of “the BrewPi - Open source/commercialisation continuum”

Just for the record, I have no formal arrangement with brewpi. My time so far has been given for free.

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My bad - was an assumption - and you know what they say about those…

Hi @cke11y.

I think @Elco’s only mistake was to announce the HERMS automatization feature to early and to prominent. All offered hardware (I bought nearly all components) work very well and have great quality. Plus, the brewpi spark is a well working fermentation controller, at this time.

I’m also keen to test the controller with my HERMS. Today I use the BrewTroller which is a dead product by fact. I think the BrewPi will need some more components to work as a full-automated HERMS (e.g. 1-wire relays for valves). But with some patience we will get a great product. I don’t know @Elco and @mdma personally, but what they did so far is great work and has great quality (quality hardware, easy update process, sleek UIs etc.). This is not naturally given in most open-source and commercial projects and the reason why I trust in the success of this project.

In my opinion, this kind of pressure does not help towards success of this project, but risks to frustrate its dedicated contributors.


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@psychodad I see what you’re saying… but…

This is a commercial project. I think you’re kidding yourself to say that its not. The product looks like a clear market leader, and I believe in elco’s ability to continually enhance. The passion seems to be there. This is why Ive been sitting on my hands and not buying a BCS for like the past 9 months. I love what is being produced!

Heres the thing - out of ‘frustration’ and ‘pressure’ as you put it, come solutions in commercial enterprise. I guess an entrepreneur looking down the barrel of a bunch of people screaming out for their product, finds a way to get them the product, and quick! Sure, elco could have waited until mashing was a possibility before announcing it, but I think he saw the potential, got excited and announced. Thats actually a good idea. Where he went wrong was by not going commercial with the project and paying for help to get it in peoples hands in order to obtain a return on investment, and he could dedicate time to FURTHERING the product instead of doing tonnes of coding. I bet tonnes of coding isn’t what elco wants, even if he loves doing stacks of coding, I bet he wants to be doing it on new features! And all of you should want that too!!!

Its the age old thing - “work ON your business not IN it”

The debate here is not about @Elco , or Brewpi, but about getting a product to market. Or saying " fuck it - this isn’t a product its just and open source ‘project’ "

Again - just my opinion - and sorry i swear a lot.

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You won’t hear me say that this is not a commercial project, it can be open source and commercial.

I expect to be able to hire a developer to speed up software development from the profits and grow organically in the near future. I did borrow money to get BrewPi where it is now, but that money has gone towards stocking more products.

We are working on a HERMS build guide like The Electric Brewery, for which we will sell all parts except kettles. When we offer all parts, with a detailed guide on how to put them together and a guide on how to use it and combine this with the software to control everything, I expect to be able to invest in software development from the store profits.
In other words, we’re growing as a home brew shop, not just a maker of temp controllers. If we can do that without selling part of the company to an investor, I prefer that.

I am not spending all my time on coding, I am actually doing a lot to “further the business”. But most of that is happening behind the scenes.

We would also like to leverage the community more: there are a lot of developers among BrewPi users. To achieve this we need to make it easier to contribute: well structured modular code and better documentation of the development process and tools.

I did underestimate the work that was needed to support mashing. I thought it was more similar to fermentation than it actually is. But in my efforts to refactor the code for mashing, I am also restructuring it to be much more future proof, which is also taking time.

I often feel bad about not going forward fast enough, but when I look back just a year, it is clear that this project is moving forward fast, and I am proud of it.


@Elco Thanks for your statement. In my opinion, you should invest more effort in communicating the progress to ensure some transparency to your work. A small status/progress posting on a regular basis would help to keep the community informed (and calm).

@cke11y I get your point. And maybe you’re right. By focussing on the controller, the progress could be faster. But, I like the other products too. In Europe its hard to get good HERMS hardware w/o paying high shipping fees. Thus, Elco needs to balance his business. W/o venture capital you need to earn the money before you spent it. Like you, I hope that brewpi gains speed and I’m eager to get my hands on a brewpi HERMS controller soon.

Just to weigh in on hardware side, as you have pointed out, it is hard to get decent HERMS hardware this side of the pond. My just parts arrived from BrewPi and the build quality is spot on at a reasonable price point. The Camco mounting in particular is an excellent design.
BrewPi is already effective as a fermentation control platform, now provides quality hardware in the HERMS domain and is building out software for full mash control. It may be going slower than some people desire, but the counterpoint is each part of the business that has been brought online upto this point has been of high quality and relatively painless.
Bar the slight blip with the initial release of the spark, things have been pretty smooth I feel.

@psychodad @molc @Elco I am definitely taking a narrow minded view - I had not realised the market opportunity for herms gear in Europe. That makes sense.

I am looking at this from my employment and business background which is in getting great ideas to market - and as I say I am looking closely at BrewPi and not the other gear. I see how good the other gear is, I am planning on buying 2 enclosures next week as well as some other bits, and while way more expensive that what is available to me from the US or Australia they seem worth it.

Back to my devils advocate position: This store, community, blog, branding, company, is BrewPi. It is not ‘European HERMS supplies’

A BrewPi that is fully featured, usable by anyone with little setup effort (not the case now, but assumedly a future priority), is a money maker even in this small market. Having the FISH available for the customer would allow the other HERMS parts to sell way better than what they already may.

I get scared when I see great projects like this one, as I remember all the similar ones in other industries that have been… ahem… ‘appropriated’… by commercial enterprises and beaten to market.

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