Indie Newsletter #2

Sent on Monday, 13 January, 2014.

I’m off to Amsterdam on Wednesday where I’ll be attending the Appsterdam Weekly Meeten en Drinken social on Wednesday night to talk Indie Phone and indie tech. It starts at 7PM at Cafe Bax (Ten Katestraat 119). If you’re in Amsterdam, drop by and let’s chat.

I’m excited to be meeting the Fairphone folks on Thursday, and the wonderful people from Philips on Friday to talk about Indie Phone and indie tech. Thomas Marzano, Philips’s head of brand is a friend and long-time supporter and we very much see eye-to-eye on both matters of user experience and indie tech and it’s going to be awesome to finally meet in the flesh.

Also, I have an update on the initial bootstrapping. As I mentioned in 2014: The Rise of Indie Tech — I am selling a family home we have in Ankara (my family are Turkish, although I didn’t grow up there). Well, after forty years of waiting for the cooperative to start building it and then building it (seriously, they started in 1974), my family finally got the deeds to the house last week and we’ve promptly put it up for sale to enable me to kick off Indie Phone.

It’s a flat in Ankara so it’s not going to generate a windfall but we are looking to get about 340,000TL for it, which should translate to about £100,000 (the Turkish Lira being at a historic low is an unfortunate coincidence). The plan is to use that money to bootstrap the current phase of development which includes the initial design and pre-visualisation work. It will also be used to create the narrative and marketing for the crowdfunding campaign. The idea is to go to crowdfunding this year and raise the amount we need to make the first 10,000 phones.

You might be wondering why I’m sharing all this with you. The reason is, I want to be as transparent about the process as possible. We have chosen the most difficult path possible in undertaking to make Indie Phone. An open source OS alone would be much easier, as would a personal server. But I simply do not see either of those options being sufficient in creating a seamless experience that can compete with the likes of iPhone or Nexus in the consumer space. The hardest road is the only road we can take and it has its sacrifices. Also, I’m not seeking venture capital as I don’t want to sacrifice control over either the user experience or the social mission of Indie Phone. If I do find like-minded investors, this may change, but I take protecting our core tenets very seriously. We are a social enterprise and our mission is to empower everyone to own their own data.

Well, I’ve babbled enough. I hope the first few weeks of 2014 have been treating you well and I look forward to updating you again once this busy week in Amsterdam is over.

Take care and thank you again for your continued support — it means the world.

All the best,


Aral Balkan
Founder and lead designer, Indie.

PS. If you ever want to get in touch with me, just email or send me a tweet to @aral (and don’t forget to follow @indie_phone for smaller, more frequent updates and related news.) :)