Marketing Meeting, Aug 4, 2017 2300 UTC

Ardupilot Marketing/Promotion Meeting
Introductory meeting, proposed agenda

General objectives:

  •      Improving sharing, increasing participation
  •      Getting the word out
  •      Better communication
  •      Increasing user involvement
  • Who are we trying to reach?

  • Leveraging community expertise

This meeting proposed objectives:

  • Identify areas of improvements
  • Get everyone input, opinions, feedback
  • Identify projects to pursue in short term (<3 months) with best chance of success
  • Prioritize, identify and estimate required resources.

Alex, Introduction

Web site, forum improvements, content and form:

  •      Better graphics and design
  •      Web side less static (e.g. slider images)
  •      Introducing featured contests (photography, videos)
  •      Tutorials
  •      Encourage/promote posting also less-technical content, e.g. great/artistic drone designs
  •      Partner promotion?
  •      Advertising?

Promotional materials

  •      Stickers (existing?, new, eg "Ardupilot Inside"), keychains (existing), T-shirts (existing?), cups, etc …
  •      Videos, e.g. video professionally produced showing all vehicles in action
  • web shop An web shop [Closed]

Communication, Public relations

  •      Twitter, Facebook
  •      Instagram?
  •      LinkedIn?
  •      Communication with industry; Companies using Ardupilot, GPL compliance, etc …
  •      Communication with news media
  •      Conference attendance
  •      InterDrone     
  •      Education

Next meeting?

I would like to see some discussion on the pros/cons of implementing this proposal: An web shop [Closed]

Added to the agenda. Thanks!

Is the meeting on mumble?

Yes in mumble and currently happening already…

Look forward to seeing the results of this.

I do think the hardware situation may need to be addressed. I guess this falls into “Who is the target audience.”

iNav is seeing a lot of development now. It is easy to see why. The hardware targets are so much better integrated and the Chrome app configurators are so much nicer to use.

It would be nice to see a push to get Ardupilot on these kinds of sub $100 F4 AIO boards (soon F7 I imagine) with integrated OSDs. This is where a lot of hobbyists play.

As for a better configurator, why not crowd fund a Chrome App configurator replacement for Mission Planner and make it a paid product with an annual subscription linked to an Ardupilot membership with cloud storage of logs, missions, and config files maybe.

And while not strictly marketing can we have a better compass setup in said app. One that figures out AHRS orientation and compass orientation – if you can point it up and down and east and west, there is no need for all the confusion of manually inputting these settings. I guess it all goes into the ease of set-up. Too many people struggle with Ardupilot.

All this is meant in the best possible sense of positive development. If I had more time and app. Dev skills I would pitch in.

1 Like

Some good ideas Marc.
FYI there is a port to Revo sitting as a PR here: which would open the door to a number of related targets.
I’m a bit hesitant about “replacing” the current gcs tools - MissionPlanner and QGC are very capable - but understand your point, and do like the simplicity of the betaflight/iNav chrome app. A “simple setup tool” for entry level users would have some appeal. Crowdfunding it might not be ideal, as ongoing maintenance needs to be considered too. I think there are some web-based GCS tools in development that may go some way towards achieving this outcome though, which would be awesome.

I only meant kicking it off by crowd funding it.

But more importantly it should be a paid app. And better still a recurring subscription app–$20 per year with some $$ going to Ardupilot and some to the app developer(s). Hell, I was happy to pay $2 for the Chrome app for MWOSD to flash a minim OSD. Maybe it could tie in with Droid Planner.

I certainly do not mean to diss Mission Planner and Michael Oborne’s sterling work. But we really should have a dedicated configurator with a more modern cross platform UI. I guess replacement is the wrong word here.

I have seen the work being done by Nighthawk for the Revo-derived targets. I donated $30 to him for his efforts with Minim OSD and for whatever reason he immediately publically insulted me on RCGroups for my pains. So I am staying away from him but I guess it is good thing that he is doing it.

I do agree with what you’re saying on the magnetometers and the hardware.

I think from a hobbyist perspective the hardware situation is indeed very frustrating. AUAV-X2 was an excellent idea, but with too many hardware flaws, isn’t available anymore, and the successor is in the making since “years” and isn’t as nice for DIY as the original. The pixracer isn’t a substitute. Just try to get a replacement cable and you’ll have a huge hole in the pocket. The cube is a gem, and when I saw its price the first time I was actually surprised, a very attractive price for such a gemstone. Yet, clearly, beyond hobby pockets. The Drotek Pro thing, well, we don’t have to talk about that. Etc. pp. So, no satisfying option available.

However, I think one can ask whether AP is still for hobbyists and DIYers. I often feel like the last one. And one in fact can ask whether AP should still be for hobbyists and DIYers. I see good arguments for AP to not look too severely at this audience anymore. In some sense, it grew up and left it’s childhood. Not necessarily a bad thing.

IMHO that “explains” why you see a lot of activity on iNav but nearly no activity on pixhawk/pixracer on the forae - this is the hobby-DIY audience which you see there. $35 is more attractive than $130 to them (and me too btw).

The bottom line of these long-winded words:
I would think that deciding on the target audience would be fundamental for any marketing concept. One should avoid to be what in Bavaria is called a “Eier-legende Wollmilchsau” (have fun with translating this LOL), and I think that AP is probably better off not to also focus on the sub $100 AIO boards. I think a widely used, standard, proven platform with companion computer at good cost would be a much better target. (currently also the situation with those is IMHO most frustrating)

As regards the magnetometers, I fully agree with you. I don’t get it how such a thing ever could have come into place, and I don’t get it why they don’t listen to folks like you. I mean, it’s clearly not a lack of capability which is in action here, clearly not, so one only can conclude lack of interest. So, I think, we won’t see that improved substantially anytime soon.

BTW, I want to add this: Besides the mags, I actually find configuring AP quite easy and simple. I think the devs have done a great job here.

As regards the apps. I generally would agree that they could come with a more modern design, it just would make working with them feel better. However, a shiny Chrome app would not do anything better or different. I have now several times tried QGC, and each time my first reaction is “wau, this looks so cool, so this is just sooo much better”, but each time I find me going back to old-fashioned Mission Planner, irrespective of it’s winkles, because I’d like to this or that.

The bottom line:
Building a new app from scratch with all the capabilities and features which found their way into these “old” apps is an incredibly challenging task, and not easily achieved by a crowd funding or a paid model or whatever.
I think the efforts would be better spend on shiny web pages, shiny documentation and tutorials, shiny forum, shiny support, shiny marketing (this could make also the apps shine more).

I know that in the above I just argued to get rid of folks like me :slight_smile: . But we are talking here about what’s of advantage for AP, right :blush:

As always interesting and thoughtful Olli. If indeed you are a person. Maybe one day we will find you are actually Elon Musk’s wildly successful and dangerous AI experiment that is plotting to take over.

By the way, do you mean aerial photography when you say AP? I do agree. I grab my Phantom now. That said, it is my avowed intention to fire up my Storm32s and make a long, long range quadcopter this year. And put them on fixed wings.

For me the fixed wings and quad-rotor fixed wings, and hybrids thereof is where Ardupilot is for me. You are likely right about the effort involved in creating a Chrome app. I seek not to replace MP but just have a better configurator. At a certain point I think it not unreasonable that we pay to have this and generate a small, steady revenue stream for the project.

Anyhow, a new OSD is pressing! There really are no proper alternatives to Minim OSD. I have a PLAYUAV. Nice, but the creator has gone awol and it only works with PAL cameras and has an unreliable camera switch!

If we get Ardupilot on sub $100 AIO boards for hobbyists, so much the better.

Olliw42> "I would think that deciding on the target audience would be fundamental for any marketing concept. One should avoid to be what in Bavaria is called a “Eier-legende Wollmilchsau” (have fun with translating this LOL), and I think that AP is probably better off not to also focus on the sub $100 AIO boards."

eierlegende wollmilchsau: Something that can be used for almost anything, like an all-in-one device.
Swiss Army Knife, One size fits all?

Am I close? :slight_smile:

Marc, I haven’t tried one but AlceOSD is around as well (source code is in the ArduPilot github).
For @olliw42 trying to be everything to everyone is a risk, but also a noble goal. From what I’ve seen, ArduPilot is rare in this regard in that development is driven organically by users, from hobbyists through to companies like Parrot and Intel, so actually has a great chance across the full use spectrum. It’s one of the reasons I think ArduPilot is great!
Lowering the barriers to entry is a challenge that IMHO should be a priority, and a good reference platform would be a great start, as would a database of known good Params for a range of documented builds. Hardware vendors need to help though, as whilst it effects ArduPilot and its users, the solution isn’t really a software one.
Re mag cal, the compass orientations were hard coded into the drivers at some point in history. I’ve heard talk that a fix might be coming (it could already be in master but not the gcs tools: perhaps a Dev could chip in here?). MagCal will basically become “point nose to north and press enter”, or something like that.