The raspberry pi foundation has no employees?


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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:33 pm
Today I was looking around finding out about the foundation. I was startled when I found out you have no employees. Does that mean the raspberry pi models are deigned by volunteers? Or does it mean the foundation does not employ people, but employees at the university of Cambridge work on the pi? How can a person with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering and a great idea for designing a new pi model actually get the foundation to build the model and get paid?
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by RaTTuS » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:41 pm
I think they have 1 paid employee ? [not sure though]
the rest are volunteers
some work for broadcom
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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:43 pm
RaTTuS wrote:I think they have 1 paid employee ? [not sure though]
the rest are volunteers
some work for broadcom

Who is the one paid employee? Why don't they have employees? Lots of charities have employees and still have the title charity or organisation? How do you become a paid employee for the raspberry pi foundation? Would you have to be a paid employee at Broadcom or the university of Cambridge first?
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by jacklang » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:48 pm
At this instant we have no employees as such. The six Trustees cannot by law benefit in any way from the Charity - its all voluntary.
We do have some people working as sub-contractors, but mainly is voluntary and spare time labour
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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:51 pm
jacklang wrote:At this instant we have no employees as such. The six Trustees cannot by law benefit in any way from the Charity - its all voluntary.
We do have some people working as sub-contractors, but mainly is voluntary and spare time labour


Tell me more about the sub contractors? And why can't the 6 trustees benefit? And why can't I benefit if I work for the foundation (I'm not one of the six trustees, just a computer engineer who wants to work for money!)? Lots of charities have paid employees! Where does the profit from selling pis go to?
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by malakai » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:52 pm
The foundation is not concerned with money it's volunteers already have jobs. I guess to clarify they do like to eat but the whole thing about this is a dream to get computers to kids for the lowest price possible cut out talks like profit and you can achieve what they have done. I don't think they have much interest in design show them how to build something better for an end price of $35 and they would possibly bring you on board.
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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:54 pm
malakai wrote:The foundation is not concerned with money it's volunteers already have jobs. I guess to clarify they do like to eat but the whole thing about this is a dream to get computers to kids for the lowest price possible cut out talks like profit and you can achieve what they have done. I don't think they have much interest in design show them how to build something better for an end price of $35 and they would possibly bring you on board.


I do not necessarily have an idea yet, but how would you communicate to them about getting a PAID jobs there (or sub contract)?
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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:56 pm
malakai wrote:The foundation is not concerned with money it's volunteers already have jobs. I guess to clarify they do like to eat but the whole thing about this is a dream to get computers to kids for the lowest price possible cut out talks like profit and you can achieve what they have done. I don't think they have much interest in design show them how to build something better for an end price of $35 and they would possibly bring you on board.


If I got a job at the Cambridge university computer science lab doing research, would I be involved in the development of the pi and RISC os and get paid at the same time?
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by RaTTuS » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:07 pm
ZacharyI123 wrote: If I got a job at the Cambridge university computer science lab doing research, would I be involved in the development of the pi and RISC os and get paid at the same time?

no
as Jack lang said
"At this instant we have no employees as such. The six Trustees cannot by law benefit in any way from the Charity - its all voluntary.
We do have some people working as sub-contractors, but mainly is voluntary and spare time labour"...

so they are not looking for people at the moment - ...

the next thing that they are concerned with is the educational push [which is what the foundation is mainly about]

other things like the camera and display are coming but they are internal projects ....
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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:12 pm
RaTTuS wrote:
ZacharyI123 wrote: If I got a job at the Cambridge university computer science lab doing research, would I be involved in the development of the pi and RISC os and get paid at the same time?

no
as Jack lang said
"At this instant we have no employees as such. The six Trustees cannot by law benefit in any way from the Charity - its all voluntary.
We do have some people working as sub-contractors, but mainly is voluntary and spare time labour"...

so they are not looking for people at the moment - ...

the next thing that they are concerned with is the educational push [which is what the foundation is mainly about]

other things like the camera and display are coming but they are internal projects ....


So are you saying the board is designed, the software is put together and the website is maintained by volunteers? If that is true, where does the profit the foundation makes go to? The components and build cost can't total to exactly 35, so the extra few quid must go somewhere, just no to people, so where? And how can I find out about volunteering and do I have to go somewhere to volunteer or can I do it over the internet? Do I need qualifications and to be a certain age?
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by malakai » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:17 pm
You can volunteer by creating a blog, writing a book, developing apps and releasing them the sky is the limit on volunteering. I doubt they make a ton of money mostly as a charity they would probably give it away be it by finding places that can't afford to get PI's and just donating them to various other things. Even after selling a million units a few quid might be all they have in the bank $35 is not a lot of money :)
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by ZacharyI123 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:22 pm
malakai wrote:You can volunteer by creating a blog, writing a book, developing apps and releasing them the sky is the limit on volunteering. I doubt they make a ton of money mostly as a charity they would probably give it away be it by finding places that can't afford to get PI's and just donating them to various other things. Even after selling a million units a few quid might be all they have in the bank $35 is not a lot of money :)


How do you volunteer to actually work on making (designing) a new board? How do you upload to the pi store?
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by Ravenous » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:22 pm
It's not my place to tell you what to do, but if you have the time to help the project, you could perhaps go on the educational forums and ask around what is being worked on and if you can help. I expect someone will need coders and (maybe more importantly) authors for the educational release. (Sadly unlikely to lead directly to paid employment, though it would build your profile and your expertise.)

As for finances, in the past I gather the foundation members had to pay for things like the original production runs, board certification, all sorts of things. I get the impression it was several hundred K of their own money, at the start.
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by aTao » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:25 pm
malakai wrote:I doubt they make a ton of money mostly as a charity they would probably give it away be it by finding places that can't afford to get PI's and just donating them to various other things. Even after selling a million units a few quid might be all they have in the bank $35 is not a lot of money :)


Not forgetting development costs, and didnt they say they would match fund any educational purchases ie buy one get one free for schools?

I'm sure that if someone wanted not only to volunteer but also assist financially the foundation would be well chuffed.
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by malakai » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:26 pm
As far as designing a new board secure better chips at a lower cost point than whatever they get their chips for then design around that. The Pi Store has a thread search here http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=83

The point of the Pi is deliver a product for $35 this cannot be done with new chips they cost more than is feasible.
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by sdjf » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:24 pm
@ZacharyI123: You ask why the Foundation does not have employees. This is a charitable cause with plentiful volunteer labor. I think the question ought to be why should they pay anyone? Only if there are no volunteers who can do some essential task.
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by jamesh » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:34 pm
ZacharyI123 wrote:
RaTTuS wrote:
ZacharyI123 wrote: If I got a job at the Cambridge university computer science lab doing research, would I be involved in the development of the pi and RISC os and get paid at the same time?

no
as Jack lang said
"At this instant we have no employees as such. The six Trustees cannot by law benefit in any way from the Charity - its all voluntary.
We do have some people working as sub-contractors, but mainly is voluntary and spare time labour"...

so they are not looking for people at the moment - ...

the next thing that they are concerned with is the educational push [which is what the foundation is mainly about]

other things like the camera and display are coming but they are internal projects ....


So are you saying the board is designed, the software is put together and the website is maintained by volunteers? If that is true, where does the profit the foundation makes go to? The components and build cost can't total to exactly 35, so the extra few quid must go somewhere, just no to people, so where? And how can I find out about volunteering and do I have to go somewhere to volunteer or can I do it over the internet? Do I need qualifications and to be a certain age?


In an effort to try and reply to your considerable number of questions (did you write a sentence that wasn't a question?!)

Yes, all volunteers.
The profits go in the the Foundation's bank account, for use in the charities purposes. Charity rules are very clear and specific about what that money can be used for, hence the trustee cannot benefit. It doesn't get frittered away on Mooncake's new cat flap.
There are many projects around the Pi that could do with volunteers. Have a look around, see what you might be able to help with, email the people involved. What is your skill set?
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by liz » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:54 pm
Long, and moderately outraged post, coming up. :roll:

We make a very small amount of margin on each board we sell; we also raise some money selling shirts (there will be new merch in the new year too), and we get some donations.

Because we like to be transparent about this stuff, I'm happy explaining what we spend that money on:

Development: we pay contractors to undertake some of the software tasks which are too boring or fiddly for the community to have taken on off their own bat (there's Pixman and Wayland optimisation work ongoing, for example, as well as Scratch optimisation). These contractors are all people who have many years of experience and who are known to us already as hardworking, productive, easy-to-work-with people. We have experts inhouse who have decades of hardware and software experience, who do other development we need on a volunteer basis (see GSH's USB work). Nobody is paying them for Raspberry Pi work, and I think those volunteers from the university in particular would be offended to have it suggested that they're getting university money for what, for them, is a labour of love. We also have to pay for stuff like CE testing, prototyping (the camera board work is very expensive, for example) and so forth.

Outreach: visiting schools and universities, as well as conferences and other gatherings of enthusiasts, takes up a lot of time, but it's very important to get grass-roots recognition and support. We're going to be taking on a full-time employee to direct the Foundation's educational work in the New Year. Rob B already works for us under contract as both a developer and in doing outreach work. We have some schemes afoot about getting Pis into schools - you'll see more about that over the next couple of months.

Web: we have a very expensive server setup; there are usually 500 or more of you on this forum and a similar number on the blog. We do get some help there from Mythic (and from Velocix and Webfusion), but it's still a tidy sum every month, and for a while was our biggest outgoing.

Legal: there's a surprising amount of legal work that needs doing when you're running this sort of thing; our charitable status actually complicates things somewhat. We're very fortunate to get pro bono support from Olswang, but they can't support doing that for much longer. I do a lot of our contracting myself. I don't get paid for that, or for anything else I do here. We also pay two people (Lorna and Helen) under contract to manage tracking down and stopping trademark violation (it's a big job, and not much fun, so that's not something anyone's going to volunteer for).

We are incredibly grateful - really, there aren't words - to all the people who volunteer on our behalf. We couldn't do this without those of you who mod these boards, upload improvements to the software stack, develop new stuff for the Pi, and do unpaid outreach work. There are some total superstars like Alan O'Donohoe, who runs the Raspberry Jams, out there, and the MagPi team, who do incredible things every month. We can't thank them enough.

An approach like the very entitled and uninformed one OP emailed me today (I will not copy and paste it here, although I'm tempted) is *very* unlikely to get any response from us, let alone an offer of work. Being generous, I'm going to assume OP is a very young kid. If you want to make money from your Raspberry Pi work, write some software that people will want to use and put it in the store. And think about what other people are giving, out of their own goodwill, before you email someone demanding payment.

(Apologies for miffed-ness. But REALLY.)
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by pygmy_giant » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:28 pm
Interesting. If you are nosey like me you can look the foundation up on the Charity Commission website: http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1129409&SubsidiaryNumber=0 They do not appear to have enough income to pay a single fulltime person at minimum wage - Financial summary: "Annual Update received - charity below Annual Return £10,000 threshold for this financial year" So no big secrets - just generous and hard working volunteers.
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by liz » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:52 pm
I'd love to keep perpetuating that, PG; but those are the returns from last year. This year's won't be submitted until the end of the financial year; we do have enough to be employing a few people, thankfully!

There are also some big moves afoot which speak directly to our mission statement: we never said we were here to set up a hardware company, but rather that:

The object of the charity is to further the advancement of education of adults and children, particularly in the field of computers, computer science and related subjects.


Making the Raspberry Pi has, obviously, been our route to doing that; but we will working in the next year on making sure that the educational part of the statement is addressed directly. We're looking forward to it!
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by malakai » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:19 pm
This really goes along the lines of the thread and is very interesting if you want to know where the Pi is going. http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Eben-Upton-An-educational-life-of-Pi-1772863.html it's short but very insightful if as so many say how can I get involved well I suppose this is a good place to start you off. As a father just trying to get a few kids involved and hoping it propagates from there the term free and open help a lot. Hard for a parent that comes along to say no when they realize it won't have to bankrupt them.
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by pygmy_giant » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:36 pm
Whats 'mindshare' ? I'm guessing it's a PR term?

I'm also guessing that the income for 2012/13 will be substantially greater than 2011/12 and will give the foundation a spring board for delivering on its more fundamental educational goals. It will be interesting to see what unfolds - it looks like corporate partnerships migh form part of the picture...
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by wirelessmonk » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:44 pm
I could never head a successful charity organization without becoming an alcholic or a raving madman or , more likely, both. The founders have my continuing respect.
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by jamesh » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:07 pm
Eben staggered past my desk this afternoon and said hello - I think he was rather looking forward to a few days off! As he said, it's been quite a year, and it ain't stopping....
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by ukscone » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:17 pm
wirelessmonk wrote:I could never head a successful charity organization without becoming an alcholic or a raving madman or , more likely, both


Oh so you've met Liz in person then :)

She was actually quite sane and didn't have much of a drinking problem a couple of years ago but that all changed now. You know those holidays she keeps claiming that she's on? they are really where she puts mattress around her room and spends a few days banging her head against them until she feels better
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