Re: Puerto Rico ODL ... the bumpy road thus far...

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Andy Soell

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May 23, 2013, 2:19:26 PM5/23/13
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Hi Jorge! Here's how we've gotten from ground zero 5 months ago to our current 14-device lab:

1) Throw in your own devices. Luckily, my family personally had an iPad 1, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and blackberry curve to start us off. That's what we opened with

2) announce the opening loud, along with a plea for support from local developers. Within a month of opening, we had 3-4 Android phones donated to help balance out the Apple products

3) contact device manufacturers. Again and again. And again. Start with Twitter: it's harder to ignore questions when they're asked publicly. It took a good 2 months of near-nagging until we finally got some support. I suggest focusing on BlackBerry and Microsoft, as they're the ones most desperate to get their product in more hands. Google has also been known to make donations, but we haven't had any luck with them yet. Don't even bother wasting your time with Amazon. 

4) Finally, make sure everyone who uses the lab knows that it can only continue to exist with continued donations. Keep asking for devices, especially right after new products come out and folks are likely to be upgrading. 

That's what's worked for us. If you have any other questions, I'm happy to help. 

On May 23, 2013, at 10:57 AM, "Jorge Morales (Puerto Rico ODL)" <mora...@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi!

I went ahead and registered the PRODL as a nonprofit the first day it occurred to me, and without even having a starting set of devices (prodl.org). This was probably an impulsive move on my part, but I truly wanted to make this as crystal clear as possible for the potential donors, so they see that this is in fact not a scam of any sort and that we intend to keep this as a free service as long as we can.

We currently were told by an agency we could have a space in their premises, so we got some room, wifi connection available and power. We got the facebook, twitter, etc. social media presence started, but not much is happening on engaging terms... as this is pretty much a one man show (me... all me) and I've been real busy trying to get device donations... tough task... no one seems to be willing to put something in our hands... 

So, I ask openly here to all of you who have established ODL's elsewhere in the world... How did you manage to get your first set of devices!?  I started out with just a BlackBerry Bold 9000 this is legacy stuff... not a smartphone in terms of "smart"ness, but better than nothing nonetheless. 

I'll appreciate any and all comments received on the subject of getting enough devices to launch and get officially listed as an ODL.  
Thanks for any info you can send my way!

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Kristin Long

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May 23, 2013, 3:56:46 PM5/23/13
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We've gotten a few donations from friends, but *most* of the devices in the lab I have purchased personally.  This is a sad thing, both because it is costly and also because we have less devices than I would like, but since we make responsive websites and we need to test them I consider it the cost of doing business to invest in a few...

I'd rather not jump through the hoops to be a nonprofit - has anyone found that to be worthwhile from a device-donation standpoint?

kristin


On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Jorge Morales (Puerto Rico ODL) <mora...@gmail.com> wrote:
Thanks Andy, that sounds pretty good. I don't have that much luck as per the amount of devices currently running in my family... but then again, I might be able to get a few loaners from office co-workers. Since the lab will be at the same agency I work at, it will be hard to say no to just put their device in the rack during the day and lend it for browser debugging. Sure enough, owners of loaner devices won't want native apps installed on their devices for testing purposes... but i guess I'll check out that bridge once I get to it... 

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Andy Soell

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May 23, 2013, 4:59:27 PM5/23/13
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The tax benefits aren't the only consideration companies take into account, though. We are not a nonprofit, and it's never been asked. They seem more interested in knowing what sort of traffic out lab is getting -- how many hands their phones are going to pass through. That translates into possible customers or native apps written for their devices. 

On May 23, 2013, at 4:22 PM, "Jorge Morales (Puerto Rico ODL)" <mora...@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for your input Kristin.

I know from experience with other nonprofit movements that I asked before going head first into this, that companies like to donate to legit nonprofits mainly because they can get something out of it, namely, tax cuts. In my case, US companies wouldn't get anything unless they have a branch stationed here in Puerto Rico and this branch is the one donating. The IRS will not recognize my nonprofit as a nonprofit under the 50 continental states of the USA, because we are a territory, and thus this registration I made works locally. With this I can approach companies with a verifiable registration, showing them that even though I haven't yet launched, or haven't yet officially opened shop - I will get to it and thus their aid is required... or at least that is the reasoning behind the way I chose to operate this...
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