Quoting between cables

This morning I was sorting through the cables on my desk.

Dozens of cables.

Keyboard, mouse, speakers, mobile phone charger, headphone charger, cable to transfer from the mobile to the computer, webcam, lamp, monitor, router, power for everything, …

Am I the only one who has this chaos?

I moved the table forward so that I could work behind it and hide and tidy up the cables.

When I was fully occupied with trying to untangle the mouse cable that is criss-crossed with half a dozen other cables, the phone rangs.

My partner Michael is working on a quote for an IoT project similar to the one we’ve been developing as our product.

Things must be going well because the electronics manufacturer has recommended us to other customers of theirs who are working on similar projects.

The thing is, the software part is not his strong point and he needed advice.

There were two options:

At least two.

One, develop a mobile application to control nearby devices via Bluetooth or similar.

Another, develop an application via cloud to be able to control the devices remotely.

Here I have picked up the mobile that I was holding like a sandwich between my ear and shoulder, and I have placed it on the table in hands-free mode.

This was not going to be a 3-minute conversation.

So, using the mouse as a pointer, I started to ask.

What hardware is going to be used? can we choose it or do they already have it selected?

Are we talking about an app for iOS? for Android? both?

How critical is the system where they are going to apply it? Do they need 24×7 support?

How I like to walk around while I’m thinking I was already in a tangle of wires and don’t see how to get out of it.

Does the cloud system have to have data and service redundancy?

What uptime is needed?

These and many other questions.

At some point the conversation turned to laughter.

Do you think a quote is made like that, over the phone, lost among dozens of cables?

Well, it was clearly a very preliminary budget.

“Rough” as Michael says.

Sometimes he speaks better Spanish than I do.

In the end my mobile phone says we’ve been 41 minutes.

Two estimates came out. One for 125,000 dollars and one for about 2 million.

20% up or down. Approximately.

Not bad for 41 minutes.

The question is:

Is a quote an excuse to be asked for free consultancy?

Where does one end and the other begin?

When does the client start to discover things they haven’t contemplated in their business plan?

Because this is not just a quote.

With the justification of that “quote” and the related questions the client gets a lot more value.

In many cases, it is even more valuable than the technical work behind it.

Usually without paying anything.

How are you going to pay for a quote?

We’ll see if the talks go ahead.

If you need a quote or a consultancy you can find me here.

PS: By the way, the cables are now f**king great.