Sep. 1st, 2011

katsmeat: (Default)
I've just been offered money.

A ex-UEA professor has offered me a percentage of a project he's working on, in exchange for doing the software, approx. 6 months work.

I'll not say much, except the idea is to use clever software to extend the capabilities of certain pre-existing, lab instrumentation. The notion is that the manufacturer, who the Prof knows well, will jump at the chance to make their kit more versatile and sellable with virtually no costly engineering changes. People in white lab-coats will (we hope) be queuing around the block to buy for £30K, a bench-top box with functionality that currently costs £100K to buy. The idea isn't tied to that particular manufacturer's instrument, BTW; there is a plan B if they say no. The Prof has a decent background in this kind of thing - he's already got 16 patents (I checked) and a decent amount of experience in running spin-off companies, turning research into cash.

Only, all this is making be feel quite terrified and quite out of my depth. Certainly having low self-esteem, plus something I'd characterise as Imposter syndrome in bucket loads doesn't help when negotiating for money. It all amounts to the bad habit of catastrophically undervaluing my time and effort.

We only had an informal discussion, but I'll have to nail down what I'd get in cash terms (he implied about £1.5K per unit sold). And figure what to do about getting some kind of contract (about which I know exactly zero). My percentage is being offered instead of payment up-front and ,since I am actually living at home, I have near-zero living costs and could theoretically do it. Though I am inclined to ask for:

  • My name to be jointly on the patent (purely for CV points and bragging rights).

  • A small, monthly amount of cash in hand as pocket money.

  • A higher percentage. Not that I'd expect it, but just because I have the idea you never take what you're first offered when negotating and that I'll be doing something idiotically wrong if I don't haggle like I'm buying a carpet in the Cairo souq.

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katsmeat

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