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Old 11 October 11, 23:53   #1
Micas
 
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Default WMD Terms and Conditions

I'm creating this thread for issues directly related to the WMD Terms and Conditions. I'm starting it off with my opinion of the T&C. I'm not a lawyer, but rather a software engineer in the US. These are just my opinions and I could well be wrong about everything. I highly recommend that anyone interested in buying any membership read the entire Terms and Conditions, and make up your own mind about what it means. You also might want to have a lawyer look it over if you are concerned about anything it describes.

To begin with, a general assessment of the T&C. Essentially, you are buying a membership into the WMD club. That membership means that you may be allowed certain privileges related to that membership. That includes access to the C.A.R.S. game as it is undergoing development. You may also be entitled to a "revenue share" of the sums received by SMS for the sale of the game. The tool pack page explains each tier of membership and its benefits.

What the T&C does is protect SMS against any legal action against it in a broad sense, and defines what SMS's obligations are, as well as the obligations of the members, which I think needs much clarification. Any "revenue share" you receive from SMS is completely at their discretion. They are not obligated to pay you anything, and your legal options are limited in the case that they do not act in a manner that any particular member might think they should.

I'm going to copy/paste some of the T&C and add more opinion;

The first thing I notice is that some of the T&C is in mixed case. Other parts are in upper case. A few parts are bolded and in upper case. The conventional meaning of that is "we mean this", "we really mean this", "we're totally serious about this". In real world terms, the entire T&C has equal validity and so the style of case and font seems odd to me. I can just see a lawyer in front of a judge saying "but we put that part in upper case and bolded it, so you should judge it differently". Ultimately, the T&C stylings are meaningless.

Quote:
THIS IS NOT AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY.
PLEASE DO NOT GET INVOLVED IF THAT IS WHAT YOU THINK IT IS – IT ISN’T.
Take that seriously. Things that you would typically expect from an investment are not applicable here. Only buy a membership if you are okay with that. One would expect that if the game generates a "revenue share", you will get it. You simply have to trust that SMS will deliver that revenue share because you will have very little recourse otherwise. You have to agree to the T&C to become a member, and so it is legally binding, and you cannot change the terms without SMS sign-off.

The odd thing, though, is that if you look at this page on the WMD site, you see;

Quote:
We currently have investment opportunities available in WMD. For more info on this revolutionary new system, please get in touch…
Is it an "investment", or not? Is that something different from the "took kit" membership? If so, can I invest in another route?

Quote:
1.6 SMS may make alterations to these WMD Terms from time to time and these variations shall become effective immediately upon being accessible from here.
This is all about trust. SMS can change the terms to mean "no member will receive a revenue share". They can do it at any time they want, and there's nothing you can do about it. They can cancel the game, or whatever. Anything can happen. That's why they've avoided the legal framework of an "investment". You can't do that sort of thing with an investment, at least not in the US. I don't know how it works in the UK.

Quote:
1.7. By using and accessing WMD you confirm that you have the necessary hardware, software and capability required to do so and that you shall be and shall remain responsible for all fees due in respect thereof.
I thought that was interesting. A person may not buy a membership simply in anticipation of revenue shares. You have to possess the equipment capable of running the game. More on this in a bit.

Quote:
7.1. Without limiting to any other rights it may have SMS may remove, restrict, cancel or suspend access to and use of WMD and any part of it in the event that you breach of any of these WMD Terms.
There are so many things in the T&C that are judgement calls that essentially they can cancel your WMD participation and keep your membership fee just because they say so. For example, they could say that something you posted in the forum is against the T&C and bam.. revoked membership, membership fee forfeited. Goes back to that trust issue.

Quote:
9.1. Without limiting to any other rights it may have SMS may remove, restrict, cancel or suspend access to and use of WMD, Game(s), Game Content and / or WMD Tools in the event that it considers it necessary for legal or commercial reasons. Termination shall be without prejudice to the accrued rights of SMS.
And there's the bit that says they can shut down WMD and keep your money. Again, trust. When people say that you should only invest what you can afford to lose, that goes doubly for this. In most cases, the managers of what you invest in can't just walk away with your money scott free. In this case, they can.

Quote:
10.6. If at any time any part of these Game Development Terms is or becomes unenforceable, such part will be construed as far as possible to reflect the parties‟ intentions and the remainder of the provisions will remain in full force and effect.
I'm not sure quite what to make of that. Seems to me that it's saying that if something in the T&C is not technically enforceable, legally speaking, it becomes enforceable "as far as possible" because "we meant to do that". Interesting way of giving blanket cover for anything not anticipated explicitly in the T&C. They really could have just written the T&C to say "members and game licensees have no rights. SMS reserves any and all rights to anything related to WMD or SMS game(s)", and made the T&C much shorter.

Quote:
10.8. These Game Development Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and the parties agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
To the extent that you could seek legal remedy against SMS for something you judge to be a violation of the "contract" (if the T&C is such a thing), you have to do it in the English legal system. That would be problematic if you're not in England, however you could hire an English attorney if you wanted to represent you or handle any potential class-action lawsuit, if they even have those in England.

I notice on the perks page for C.A.R.S. that for the "senior managers", you get "2 dedicated track-side advertising boards". Can I sub-let them to another company? I'm not sure that's covered by the T&C. Can I just put a picture of my smiling self on them giving the thumbs up and make you lot look at it? lol I wonder what the "events sponsored by you" means, and if I can sell those to another company as well? I'm thinking that a senior manager cannot sub-let that stuff because of this.

Quote:
5.7.18. engages in or solicits commercial activities or sales without SMS‟s prior written consent such as, without limitation gambling, betting, sweepstakes, sales advertising, investments and pyramid schemes
But I suppose a person could ask for permission.

This is, by far, my biggest concern right now;

Quote:
4.2. If you make a contribution to Game(s) you will be entitled to earn the Revenue Share following the commercial release of the Game(s).
4.3. In order to earn Revenue Share you must make a contribution to the Game(s).
What defines "contribution to the Game(s)"? I can't find that in the T&C. Knowing already that SMS can simply not pay you a "revenus share" at their discretion, I'd like to know exactly what that means.

What if I buy a 25,000 euro investment in WMD C.A.R.S. today and I get in a car accident and can't "contribute to the Game"? My very expensive club membership becomes an addition to the SMS profit. What if I get busy with work or family and "can't contribute". That term is so ambiguous, it's laughable.

Not only am I helping fund the production of the game, I have to "work" for my share of the revenue? Is that a joke? I certainly anticipated offering feedback and such, but didn't think it would be a requirement for a return on my investment. For a T&C that went into such detail to protect SMS from pretty much anything, I find it really strange that they didn't define that term, "contribute". But then, I'm not sure defining it matters because the T&C says they can change it at any time, rendering much of the T&C irrelevant.

So, basically, you have no rights - you have to trust them that you're going to get your revenue share. I think that the level of trust given to SMS, as defined by the amount of membership fee you pay, should be compensated. Those buying a 25 euro membership aren't risking anything really. Those that buy the 25,000 euro membership are really being asked to take a leap of faith here. That should be compensated. In fact, I think that "revenue shares" should be paid in order of membership tiers until the shares are equal to the amount paid in membership fees.

(continued)

Last edited by Micas; 12 October 11 at 00:42.
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Old 11 October 11, 23:54   #2
Micas
 
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In other words, in the first round of revenue shares, everyone who contributed 25,000 euros (Senior Managers) should get paid first until their compensation hits the 25,000 euro mark. Then equal shares should be paid to those who contributed 1000 euros (Managers) until their compensation hits 1,000 euros. Then so on and so forth until everyone has received compensation to match their membership fee and then revenue shares would be equally distributed after that, of course multiplied by your membership level. Senior Managers should receive 25 times the revenue shares that Managers do, etc.

That system would ensure that those that take the biggest risk get their risk mitigated first, and after that, everyone gets their deserved shares.

I thought Ian said there would be perks for early investment and other compensation paid to large financial contributors. I'd like to see that spelled out in detail.

And a repeat of my disclaimer at the top. I may have this all wrong.
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Old 12 October 11, 00:37   #3
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Yea it does worry me that these terms give complete power to SMS and absolutely no protection to members. SMS could legally just keep our money.

Perhaps financial laws make it impossible for SMS to make it more like a traditional investment, but surely members can get more protection than nothing?

If SMS hadn't built a good amount of credibility in my eyes already, I wouldn't have touched this. But not everyone has followed them closely enough and will trust them, especially people looking to invest 1000+ Euros. Hell, I'll have reservations about putting in that amount of money when I can afford it.
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Old 12 October 11, 02:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micas View Post
...
Quote:
1.7. By using and accessing WMD you confirm that you have the necessary hardware, software and capability required to do so and that you shall be and shall remain responsible for all fees due in respect thereof.
I thought that was interesting. A person may not buy a membership simply in anticipation of revenue shares. You have to possess the equipment capable of running the game. More on this in a bit.
It says nothing about running the game, only accessing the WMD (portal). IMO it's obvious that it means (a) that by accessing WMD portal you confirm that you have the capabilities to do so (that part is really redundant, as it's a given), and (b) the important part, which means that you have to pay for your own computer and internet access - I.e. the membership does not include the means to access the WMD portal. I agree that it wasn't too well worded though.

Quote:
This is all about trust. SMS can change the terms to mean "no member will receive a revenue share". They can do it at any time they want, and there's nothing you can do about it. They can cancel the game, or whatever. Anything can happen. That's why they've avoided the legal framework of an "investment". You can't do that sort of thing with an investment, at least not in the US. I don't know how it works in the UK.
The whole deal is indeed a matter of trust. I stake the "security" of my investment on the premise that SMS have to be fair in their dealings with the C.A.R.S. members, or it could be game over for them.

Quote:
Quote:
4.2. If you make a contribution to Game(s) you will be entitled to earn the Revenue Share following the commercial release of the Game(s).
4.3. In order to earn Revenue Share you must make a contribution to the Game(s).
What defines "contribution to the Game(s)"? I can't find that in the T&C. Knowing already that SMS can simply not pay you a "revenus share" at their discretion, I'd like to know exactly what that means.
I'd also like to know what 4.2. and 4.3 means. Perhaps by "contribution" they mean "financial contribution"? It would be unreasonable to demand that everybody make a contribution in the form of game content or something like that...

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Last edited by DrJustice; 12 October 11 at 02:30.
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Old 12 October 11, 02:47   #5
ceth
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I haven't finished reading those t&c yet, but from what I've read so far I also seen they just seem to try to overprotected themselves against everything and there is barely anything that would give some warranties to investors.


As you, I also got my attention attracted by 1.6 that says they can change the rules how and when they want, and by 7.1 - 9.1 saying that they can revoke your membership at any time and for any reason, without any obligation for them to even partially refund investors.

About 1.7, I don't see there what would prevent you from getting your profit if you don't own the hardware and software that can run the game, as you seem to suggest (?)

10.6, I really don't understand it.

10.8 is indeed something you have to consider if you intend to invest a large amount of money. Now, is there any supra-national law that could nullify this agreement ?

About 5.7.18, could you develop please Micas ? You say it is your biggest concern, but why ? What do you fear for example because of this article ?

About 4.2 and 4.3, and the vagueness of what a "contribution" is, I see two possibilities there:

- either the vagueness benefits to the investor, meaning that you only need to make a post like "hey, I suggest this feature" to make you being considered being "a contributor" (and we could even go further in that way, by saying that just by logging in and visiting the website you helped SMS improving the WMD portal as they track your behaviour on the website).

- and if not, then it will be to the english juridiction to determine what they consider being a contribution, and then either a simple suggestion post could suffice, or they could consider you have to have created some content, for example...

Still, as you stated, does it even have any importance when SMS can change the t&c at will...


Now about that:

Quote:
I think that the level of trust given to SMS, as defined by the amount of membership fee you pay, should be compensated. Those buying a 25 euro membership aren't risking anything really. Those that buy the 25,000 euro membership are really being asked to take a leap of faith here. That should be compensated. In fact, I think that "revenue shares" should be paid in order of membership tiers until the shares are equal to the amount paid in membership fees.

In other words, in the first round of revenue shares, everyone who contributed 25,000 euros (Senior Managers) should get paid first until their compensation hits the 25,000 euro mark. Then equal shares should be paid to those who contributed 1000 euros (Managers) until their compensation hits 1,000 euros. Then so on and so forth until everyone has received compensation to match their membership fee and then revenue shares would be equally distributed after that, of course multiplied by your membership level. Senior Managers should receive 25 times the revenue shares that Managers do, etc.

That system would ensure that those that take the biggest risk get their risk mitigated first, and after that, everyone gets their deserved shares.
Sorry but no, no, NO !

Basically what you are suggesting here is that the smaller investors should to secure biggest investments...

Sorry but no. This is part of the game mate: you choose to invest more because it provides you more potential revenu, so you have to accept counterpart: the potential risk you will also loose more if things go bad. That's all. There is no way smaller investors are going to secure bigger investors. You want more potential revenu ? Ok, then you take a bigger risk for that. Nothing abnormal.

Not to mention the notion of risk is all relative. A billionair going for a premium membership will risk less the average employe investing less.

Not to mention, also, that the premium member who would just sit waiting for his profit may have contributed less to game (in value) than the smaller investor who invested lot of his time during the 18 monthes of development.

Ok, for the latter, I know, Ian excluded rewarding such work. And indeed, it's not in the t&c (from what I've read so far, at least). But still, you are suggesting this guy may loose all his investment, despite he may have added many valuable things to the game, making it selling more than if he didn't "give" this content from his own work, just because larger should have to recover their investment first if things were going bad, in your opinion ?

In other words, you are asking a big part of the investors (part of the smallest investors who will spend time into giving feedback, reporting bugs, making suggestions, even creating content, etc.) to "work for you", the biggest investors, to secure your investments. Not only will their work help securing your investment, but their invested money (and potentialy lost, as their time spent) would help to secure your investment too. I would like to see the effect on how those smaller investors would be motivated to spend time in helping the game getting better with their work, or "work", if they learnt the rule you suggest here was adopted. And even on how the smaller investors would still just even be interested into paying to get in...
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Old 12 October 11, 02:48   #6
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I think they said that on the first post about not being an INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY, because they don't wanna see anyone selling the car or such things thinking the will earn millions after some years.
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Old 12 October 11, 03:01   #7
ceth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJustice View Post
It says nothing about running the game, only accessing the WMD (portal). IMO it's obvious that it means (a) that by accessing WMD portal you confirm that you have the capabilities to do so (that part is really redundant, as it's a given), and (b) the important part, which means that you have to pay for your own computer and internet access - I.e. the membership does not include the means to access the WMD portal. I agree that it wasn't too well worded though.
I understood it the same way as you did. Now, what "we" understand isn't important. What imports is how the judge would/could interpret it.

It will be interesting if/when a lawyer will give us his opinion/translation of all this stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJustice View Post
I'd also like to know what 4.2. and 4.3 means. Perhaps by "contribution" they mean "financial contribution"?
Well, as long as the only way to get a membership is to spend money, what would be the point to mention you have to have made a financial contribution to get the opportunity to earn the revenue share ?
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Old 12 October 11, 03:37   #8
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^ That's part of the question. All the legal documents I have had to read in my life have been somewhat woolly, with ambiguous, contradictory or redundant points. This whole T&C is in a way redundant since it can be altered at will by SMS... As far as I'm concerned it's only an indication of intent, and unsurprisingly it largely clears SMS of liabilities and responsibilities and guarantees nothing for the members.

So it's back to trust, which in my case is based on the track record of the developers (I might add that I'm not too happy how S2U fared, but EA was involved, and I'm willing to give SMS the benefit of the doubt), the fact that they truly are racing sim enthusiasts and that they would be shooting themselves in the foot (or head!) if they "cheat" their members. That, and me being a gullible sucker

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Old 12 October 11, 04:02   #9
ceth
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I noticed how lawyers like the word "any"

And yep, this t&c is so much redundant... I felt like if the guy who wrote that had memory issues: "Damn, did I write that already ? Not sure now... Mhh 'kay let's write it again, just to be sure"

But yes, the best warranty investors have to see a return from this is that SMS would shoot themselves in the foot if they tried to cheat.

But still, this is not the warranty one would dream of... Just take the fact even a premium investor could just loose his membership for so many reasons according to this t&c, without any possible refund This is just scary. I don't see how those t&c could remain like they actually are.
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Old 12 October 11, 07:40   #10
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Found this bit in this interview with Ian.

Quote:
Bell: Right. This system is a form of both crowd sourcing and crowd funding. Crucially, the people who join up will get paid back for their input when the product sells. At a basic level we expect people to play the game and engage on the development forums in whatever form suits them. Some ‘team members’ might mainly want to play and post their opinions, others might get more into finding bugs and yet others might want to provide art assets or script based features (we’ve developed our own scripting system for this which we’ll ship to team members in the near future).
None of this is defined in the T&C. What does "paid back for their input" mean? People should get paid back proportionally to what money they put into the system. It's great that people will help with the development via bug reports, suggestions, and maybe some content. That's all well and good... but they're offering memberships up to 20,000 euros without actually explaining how the "revenue shares" are going to work in detail. That's really strange to me.

Quote:
Bell: All of those that join will get credit and we also have a system for the public to promote individuals they feel deserve to be in a higher member tier (and thus get more fees when the profits come in). As we won’t be paying staff monthly I don’t see it sustaining people in terms of a steady income but it is certainly a nice addition to anyone’s CV.
Eh.. I can see going from a "team member" to a "Senior", which is a 25 euro to 100 euro jump, but manager (1000) to senior manager (25,000)? I'd cough up a lung. Again, lack of specifics on how that works.. complete lack of inclusion in the T&C and SMS has membership offerings up.

I really am not trying to be a jerk about this but come on... Is there anybody contemplating buying a 20,000 euro membership that isn't concerned about this stuff? I haven't even gone in with a 25 euro membership just to be able to check out the game because I don't know if that will lock me out of a higher tier permanently. How crazy is that?
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Old 12 October 11, 08:54   #11
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To maybe relieve your mind a bit:
Going in with a 25 euro membership only locks you out of going to lower tiers. If you later want to get into a higher tier, you pay the price difference between your current tier and the higher one.

Also, the membership are not to be viewed as investments. If you want to invest in a more traditional way, there is this page that tells you how to contact SMS to set that up.
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Old 12 October 11, 11:25   #12
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8.2.
To qualify for the Fees you will have to contribute in some way. YOU MUST MAKE A CONTRIBUTION
TO A GAME TO GET FEES FOR THAT GAME.
8.3.
However you don‟t need to be a technical genius to do so. The WMD service is set up so that we can
gain valuable feedback and contributions from all Team Members even if all they do is play the Builds
that we make available so long as they allow for their computer to send us information concerning
their use of the Builds. That information may include details of bugs, performance issues, gameplay
habits and other data that will contribute to the overall improvement of the Games as it goes through
various iterations of development.
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Old 12 October 11, 12:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kligson View Post
Also, the membership are not to be viewed as investments. If you want to invest in a more traditional way, there is this page that tells you how to contact SMS to set that up.
Yes I think this is what Micas might be interested in if he wants to invest.

IMO the way I see it :

The membership is just to allow everyone to get involved.

The 3 lower tiers for the testers, curious and those who want to have their say. Mostly individuals.

The 2 Higher tiers are more for people/teams who need visibility like advertisements through liveries, names.... Mostly for like real-life teams, websites, manufacturers...
They would get rewarded *maybe* which is kind of an advantage versus traditionnal advertisement where you only pay. There you could get a little bonus like track days, revenue shares.


Those who really want a traditionnal investment with a secured contract should better go by the traditionnal way as :
http://www.wmdportal.com/investors/

As this is more like that that you would arrange a contractual investment.
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Old 12 October 11, 15:59   #14
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Yes, I've heard from Ian directly this morning. The distinction of buying a membership and going in as a regular investor didn't seem clear to me, but I get it now. I still think the T&C is a bit odd, but that won't make much difference. I'll be able to go in for a higher dollar amount than is allowed in the membership, and just go buy a cheap membership to get access to the builds and participate in the development and forums, etc.

As you say, I don't need signage in the game, nor track days and such... although I still think it would have been funny to make you all look at me while you go around the track. No no-bling mods!
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Old 12 October 11, 16:31   #15
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We would have mod your face out of every track anyway...
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Old 12 October 11, 22:33   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micas View Post
Yes, I've heard from Ian directly this morning. The distinction of buying a membership and going in as a regular investor didn't seem clear to me, but I get it now. I still think the T&C is a bit odd, but that won't make much difference. I'll be able to go in for a higher dollar amount than is allowed in the membership, and just go buy a cheap membership to get access to the builds and participate in the development and forums, etc.
What infos on this "other way to invest that is not concerned by the t&c discussed here" did you get directly from Ian ?
Can you share ?

Why are those infos not made public so everyone would be able to check the terms of this "other way to invest" (regular investor as you name it), as it may (supposition) affect the public way to get in (i.e. the public membership offer, which is also concerned by the revenue share, but with absolutely not warranty to get any here) ?
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Old 12 October 11, 22:38   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micas View Post
Yes, I've heard from Ian directly this morning. The distinction of buying a membership and going in as a regular investor didn't seem clear to me, but I get it now. I still think the T&C is a bit odd, but that won't make much difference. I'll be able to go in for a higher dollar amount than is allowed in the membership, and just go buy a cheap membership to get access to the builds and participate in the development and forums, etc.
I don't understand... For example, is it possible to invest 2000 euros or little more without wanting a particular "voting power" ? What the way to choose ?
Micas, what you gonna do ?
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Old 12 October 11, 23:47   #18
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Well, they did actually provide sort of an informational related to how to actually invest, and a true "investment" as opposed to the membership route through this link;

http://www.wmdportal.com/investors/

When I first saw that, I thought it was just a left over web page from an older plan that was superseded by the membership buy-in method, so I was confused. Hence why I PM'd Ian directly for clarification for which he was kind enough to respond. Technically "those infos not made public" were actually made public, but not with much explanation or detail. There was likely a legal reason for that.

There are complex legal issues related to the way that the membership system was rolled out, and what I'm proposing to do with SMS is also legal because of the way it has transpired. It's kind of complex I guess, and not being a lawyer, particularly not in the UK, I'm going by what Ian is saying, and I have full faith that what he's saying is exactly proper.

I'm going to invest more than the 25,000 euros available via the membership route. This was just a short discussion I had with Ian, but I'm basically going to sign a contract with SMS and hand over the money. The actual mechanisms of how this will work differently than buying a membership will be worked out in the contract. For example, I'd like to retain some of the privileges of the "senior manager" membership tier, such as the access to the super kool kidz secret forum, and weighted voting rights. It's on me to articulate what it is exactly I'd like in the contract and then pitch that to Ian and he'll agree or not, we'll draw up a contract and be in business together, more or less. Well, I'll have a piece of C.A.R.S. proportional with the amount of money I invest with them.

I'm going to buy the 25 euro membership package as an easy means to get the game builds and such.

I don't know if the traditional investing route would be appropriate for 2000 euros. I think for simplicity sake, a person should buy a membership close to what they had in mind for investment. The 2000 euro example, however, is a good one in terms of a quandary you find yourself in. The membership goes from 1000 euros to 25,000 euros. I don't think you can buy 2 x 1000 euro memberships. There are no incremental steps in between there.

SMS is obviously at liberty to accept or decline requests for investments. I'm not sure if they would want to go through the process of drawing up the contract for a 2000 euro deal. I'm considering a 45,000 euro deal. The only way to know for sure is to PM Ian, but I wouldn't do it if you want to contract for 500 euros or something. Buying a membership would be the better way to go.

The reason I'm doing this is because I'm absolutely convinced this is going to pay off in a big way. Right now, I'm looking at it entirely from a business perspective and I couldn't care a lick about FFB, or "floaty" cars or whatever. The design means nothing to me. This is cold calculated "I want to make money on this" type of deal and I think the end result is going to be fantastic financially. I'll take some of the earnings and roll it into the next project - heck maybe for more money and keep working this system until it pays for my luxurious retirement.

Once I sign the contract and turn over the money though, then my focus will shift to the game and what I think will be the best way to make it as cool as we all think it can be.. because that process is what is going to determine the profits. And in terms of investments, this one is the most fun I've ever done. Buying stocks is nerve wracking, and not fun. Buying real-estate properties (I'm buying another one this month) is annoying. Mutual funds will bore you to tears. WMD is going to be an absolute blast, and when the revenue shares start coming in, you can bet there will be much rejoicing throughout the land.
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Old 13 October 11, 04:58   #19
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This is important for those who will choose the membership route seeing in it, beside getting the right to test game builds and give feedback, a way to (potentially) get some revenue share.

If you choose this route and, let say, buy a 1k membership, you can expect a potential profit. According t&c you have signed there is no guarantee you will get it but still, if things go well (game / dlc sell well), you should receive it.

But if the game does too poor sales relatively to its development cost (you never know what can happen), then when the time to share revenues will come you may discover you won't receive this money because of the regular investors who may have negociated a contract term with SMS saying they would have the priority on revenue share.

Micas suggested this here, so I have no doubt he will try to negociate this term for his personal contract between him and SMS (and with no doubt most, if not all other investors will do the same). And unless both agree to render the terms of this contract public, you may discover that at the end of the project if sales don't get good enough to reward everyone who participated financially (members and "regular investors").

In other words, the money you would have paid to buy your membership, the time you eventually would have spent to help making this game better, and the revenue share SMS would have potentially been indebt to you for your contribution would have served to secure those regular investors. And possibly not only so they would recover their initial investment, but potentially more than that if they managed to negociate it with SMS.

This also means that this possibly more secured investment seems restricted to the biggest investors. As as Micas has said, SMS probably won't bother negociating a specific contract with you if you only have a few thousands /$ to invest.

Note also that Micas has said (nothing against you Micas) he was going to try to negociate a term to keep his weighted voting right (as may do other regular investors), despite his claim he doesn't "care a lick about FFB, or "floaty" cars or whatever" and that "the design means nothing to (him)", and he admits his deal is a "cold calculated "I want to make money on this" " (as may think many other regular investors).

So I let you guess where similar investors' votes would go if they faced the situation they had to choose between a feature which would make the game more enjoyable (even if it was doing so for the majority of WMD members) and a feature which could make the game sell more, making them possibly earn more profit.

And speaking about this weighted voting right, nothing guarentees members that investors won't manage to negociate more weight in votes than what they would have had by buying memberships for the equivalent amount of money.

I have to say I'm disappointed to discover all that stuff (and to discover it "now", since those kinds of details were asked in many occasions before the project was started), as this is not as idyllic as what was advertised before launch. Not only member's t&c seem to give near to infinite power to SMS (power to kick a member, power to stop the project, and both without being indebt to any member for refunding the fee, or even part of the fee they have paid to buy their memberships), and it doesn't seem to give any guarantee to the paying members that they will receive any revenue share. Even if there was something to share with them, there is apparently no obligation for SMS to do so. And we now discover there will be regular investors who may negociate God know what "super powers" with SMS.

I understand the need for regular investors, when/if necessary. But I feel disappointed by the lack of transparency about all this...
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Old 13 October 11, 07:14   #20
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Interesting point ceth!

If it is true, I wonder where the difference is to a conventional game/publisher/developer relationship? We think and SMS thinks that this is going to be better without EA. How would anyone know if EA didn't hire a person to invest as a big investor and get super powers again, as they had in the previous products?
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Old 13 October 11, 07:25   #21
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How is it not transparent when these details are being made public? I would agree that there is/was some confusion about some things but Ian is doing his best to clarify how it works. I doubt anybody came in with a bunch of money on day 1 and just threw it at SMS without concern. People do due diligence when there is a lot of money at stake. There's a big difference between the lower tier memberships and relatively high dollar investments.

Also, you're putting words into my mouth and/or not reading clearly. I said that right this moment, I'm all about the financial aspect of the deal and I don't care what state the game is in right now. I said that when I finish the deal, I'll buy a cheap membership so I can get the builds and contribute feedback just like any other person can do. I never said that I would use any influence to try and direct the game into a direction that would be more profitable but not as much fun to play, or contain the features that many people want to see in the game. I've said in these forums about a billions times that good design and profit are not mutually exclusive.

Besides, much of the design framework is already laid out by SMS and I like it. In fact, it's just ridiculously cool, which is why I said I am confident that this game will be very profitable, thus the reason why I want to get more money involved than the standard 25,000 euro membership. I can't say this any more basic than - I want the game to be super cool and kick ass, and I want to make a shit load of money off it. I'll bet if you asked anybody at SMS, they'd have the exact same goals.

I've said before that I think revenue shares should be paid out to investors in order from top dollar investment down to lowest investment until the initial investment is satisfied, and then equal distribution after that, weighted by the amount invested. That's just me trying to cover my own very hefty investment because it would suck to lose, say, 20,000 euros when other people are losing 25. Understand?

I'm not going to make that a term of the contract proposal with SMS because I doubt they would allow that. I'm going to make it a suggestion that they do it that way and Ian can decide. If other high dollar investors want to make that a term, of course they can try and we'll never know whether SMS agrees or not because individual contracts are private.

The only thing I'm going to try and negotiate is the basic perks of the 25,000 euro membership and I don't think that's an unreasonable request.

Of course we've been over the T&C and yes we see it's weighted in SMS' favor, as one might expect. Yes, just like most every investment, there is a risk and you might not get your money back, much less a profit. I think I've mentioned before that I was a pretty big investor in 3DFX. I lost all of it. That's how it goes sometimes.

Thing is Ceth, I think you're trying to find more nefarious plots than there really are. SMS obviously isn't trying to rip anybody off. They're trying to create a new model of game development, and I think that's neat. I think it's neat they're even going to give me the opportunity to make money off it. I would love to have had a piece of Shift 1 because it made a very big pile of cash. I think C.A.R.S. is going to do better. That I can get a piece of that is because of Ian and SMS so I'm not going to go out of my way to look for conspiracies that aren't there. We looked at the T&C. We noted exactly what it says and what we think it means and everyone can make a decision accordingly.

Again, it all comes down to trust. Do you trust Ian and SMS that their goal is to make a great game and make a nice profit? I do. If somebody doesn't have that trust level, or they're not comfortable with the way the financials are organized, that has an easy solution. Just don't get involved, and buy the game when it's released if they want.. or just buy the cheapest membership. There are a tremendous number of options that appeals to just about any type of person. I think that's a feature, not a bug.

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Old 13 October 11, 08:11   #22
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Well, I'm just starting to read the T&C. .. I will just base my remarks on what I've read so far ...

Of course we all want this project comes to an end in the best possible conditions and with the best result ... However, it must be admitted that all the clauses "protecting" SMS is a barrier, in some way.
It seems natural that SMS can not engage on the return on investment: who can predict the number of sales if for some reasons the gaming community did not reserve CARS the welcome that we can think it merits in the end?
In addition, it is understandable that a full refund of amounts paid may be difficult if they were invested and the project could not run if 75% of the team were to die in the crash of their private jet. ..

However, SMS can undertake to make good use of money and carry out the project unless a force majeure prevented them (possibly by giving an indicative list).

Even if I am willing to give Ian and his team all the goodwill in the world, it is legitimate that some may think that a wind of madness hits the leaders of the team and they all leave with the "nest egg "under the tropics ...

In addition, is there any details on the conditions for exclusion of certain members ?
Presumably, it is also a way for the team to protect the project people "doubtful" that would make a mess (some henchmen of EA, for example), without suffering any threats of departure with withdrawal of funds, which would paralyze all ...

I think there is one side the fact that SMS will "open the umbrella" to protect itself from various ailments, but on the other, a need for the players investors to hear a speech clear and committed "black on white", as we say in my country ...

PS : Another thing I've read elsewhere: 30% may be levied by the SMS team, will it be in proportion to the 70% paid to the community? More clearly: will SMS refund its investment first ?
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Old 13 October 11, 10:06   #23
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For me I think that the overall membership is made in a manner so that the majority of individuals will go for the lower tiers.

So SM have a large panel of opinions. It's clear they wanted to avoid someone to have too much power on the game by just putting money in it.

They clearly say it in TC. Don't see the membership as an investment or an opportunity to make money. If you want that go the traditionnal way and negociate a contract.

The Membership is a way for most to have an insight of what is going on on the game, contribute to it. It is not an investment that will for sure bring you money.
They count on this for the feedback, the QA, suggestions, bugtracking.

One reason the higher tiers are also more expensive is because the tools they provide at those levels are part of their core tech you don't let that out in the wild for free either.


Of course membership is not an investment there. I mean you will buy the game content at release after all.
There's a chance most people interested in the games are already members from the start.

So you pay for funding the game, and then you pay to play it. That's simple.

If you want to earn easy money, then you need money. Because when you have nothing you get nothing, when you have money, you get money.
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Old 13 October 11, 21:32   #24
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There's a chance most people interested in the games are already members from the start.
Do you think this forum has 1 000 000 members?
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Old 14 October 11, 06:18   #25
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No, you're right. I don't think they will get 1,000,000 on the forum.

They have 4450 active members so far on the forum.

They say the funding is 10% complete (but maybe it's not updated dynamically because it seems the same as when they had 3500 forum users).

They plan 3.5 millions for 1 year dev. So we can estimate that they got 35-40k. which likely means that most have the junior membership.

Let's hope the 250,000 sales barrier so they can break even.
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Old 14 October 11, 19:28   #26
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3 750 000*0.1/3 400 = 110 €/member
3 750 000*0.1/4 450 = 84 €/member

But I doubt those figures are right
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Old 19 October 11, 15:09   #27
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I'm really sorry I have to say this.. but the word that came to my mind when I read the T&C-pdf ..well, it was "scam" - not exactly trustworthy, but what'd ya expect from a limited(!). And the whole writing style of the document underlines that, it covers everything from friendly over screaming, hostile, dry and inspiring.
And best of all the beta-software/tools can be considered trojan, as the T&C describe it's homing technology.
Membership tier max EUR10-25, for playing a beta is justifiable - but why a 25k tier when they shout it out loud that it's not an investment?
Are slightly mad studios slightly mad? SCNR but more sorry it's so true.
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Old 20 October 11, 23:05   #28
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Here's the great thing about that 25,000 euro tier. You don't have to buy it. However, once you see the returns you'll be wishing you could afford to have bought one.

The data that they are collecting, as described in the T&C is not a "trojan". It's data specific to the game and is not any different than what Steam does really. They need a way to get some data back in order to help with the development process.

I've worked out my own deal with Ian for 45,000 euros and I'm currently waiting for the contract from his lawyer. I'm very pleased with the whole thing.
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Old 20 October 11, 23:49   #29
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i think you put in an extra '0' there... highest tier is 2500 if i'm not mistaken?

Did you get all the perks you wanted?
Grats on the deal Wish i had that much to invest! you're a either a very lucky or very smart individual
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Old 21 October 11, 00:39   #30
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i think you put in an extra '0' there... highest tier is 2500 if i'm not mistaken?l
you are wrong 25.000€ is the Senior Manager Membership Tool Pack.

Im actually thinking about to invest more (like micas stated with my own deal suggestion) then my actual Senior membership (im `Frank Pabst` there at wmd - thats my real name btw), but i will wait 1 or 2 months and see what will happen there.
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Old 21 October 11, 06:48   #31
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me and my big mouth... should just check before posting lol... thanks for correcting my attempt at correcting.

I'll go stand in the corner now
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Old 21 October 11, 07:26   #32
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Thanks Micas and others about this topic. It is a little strange to me that there are nothing between 1000 to 25000 euros. They are not that interested about money? I think the real money is coming from elsewhere.

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Old 21 October 11, 08:16   #33
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Originally Posted by antonhuber View Post
I'm really sorry I have to say this.. but the word that came to my mind when I read the T&C-pdf ..well, it was "scam" - not exactly trustworthy, but what'd ya expect from a limited(!). And the whole writing style of the document underlines that, it covers everything from friendly over screaming, hostile, dry and inspiring.
And best of all the beta-software/tools can be considered trojan, as the T&C describe it's homing technology.
Membership tier max EUR10-25, for playing a beta is justifiable - but why a 25k tier when they shout it out loud that it's not an investment?
Are slightly mad studios slightly mad? SCNR but more sorry it's so true.
Pay 20 - get to help develop a game. Talk to load of other people about developing game, Including the people making the game. If it was a scam then why is there a version (Pre alpha) of C.A.R.S already there for us to download. and WHY have they announced licensed tracks which would have cost them money?

for me - at 'Team Member' level of .. funding - 20 for 1.5 years of talking to devs and helping to create a game is well worth it. its great fun
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Old 21 October 11, 08:25   #34
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... and that is exactly the reason (as stated by Alex above) that I am waiting for payday before bringing my little purse out of my pinnie and firing a few bob to SMS.
I don't expect any more than the interest of playing with development software and being part of the fun.
If that is naive, then dip me in green
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Old 21 October 11, 14:18   #35
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... and that is exactly the reason (as stated by Alex above) that I am waiting for payday before bringing my little purse out of my pinnie and firing a few bob to SMS.
I don't expect any more than the interest of playing with development software and being part of the fun.
If that is naive, then dip me in green
Sure it is a great fun. But it doesn't change the fact that SMS called it an "investment" option just to state a second later that it is not. From my point of view they got alpha and beta testers "for free". Even more - those testers loaned SMS their money with a very blurry vision of "might-be" income. You can make their product better by paying them for access - that what it really is. Only if they state it like this no one would jump in. I remember this kind of PR flavor from Shift games.
It's a sim, buy it!
P.S. It's just not!
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Old 21 October 11, 15:11   #36
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Sure it is a great fun. But it doesn't change the fact that SMS called it an "investment" option just to state a second later that it is not. From my point of view they got alpha and beta testers "for free". Even more - those testers loaned SMS their money with a very blurry vision of "might-be" income. You can make their product better by paying them for access - that what it really is. Only if they state it like this no one would jump in. I remember this kind of PR flavor from Shift games.
It's a sim, buy it!
P.S. It's just not!
wait... what?
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Old 21 October 11, 16:48   #37
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i think you put in an extra '0' there... highest tier is 2500 if i'm not mistaken?

Did you get all the perks you wanted?
Grats on the deal Wish i had that much to invest! you're a either a very lucky or very smart individual
Ya, I got all the perks and then some.

It's really not a matter of luck or "smarts". I read a study recently that said something... oh I just found the article..

Quote:
A majority, or 64%, of Americans don't have enough cash on hand to handle a $1,000 emergency expense, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, released on Wednesday.
That's pretty amazing to me. I couldn't live like that. It would be horrifying.

Here's what you do.. You get a good education, work at it, get a profession started at an early age. I'm not talking about jobs. Jobs are things that people hate and end up with nothing when they retire... if they can retire. I'm talking about a profession. I'm a software engineer. It pays nice.

Once you have your profession started, you live well below your means. The amount of money coming in has to be a lot more then is going out. The only debt you carry is a mortgage, and maybe a car. I pay cash for cars, which anyone over 30 years old should be doing. The reason why mortgages are okay is because in the US, you can write off the interest. If you carry a credit card balance from month to month, you're failing.

Most people can't stick to that plan because they need instant gratification. It's not "smarts" or "luck", it's discipline. The vast majority of people don't have any.

While you're working, take advantage of a 401K if you can. Put extra money into traditionally safe investments like mutual funds. Don't think of that money as something you can mess around with. Leave it alone. After 20 years or so, you'll have hundreds of thousands in cash and equities. Then you can do things like take a risk on financing a video game and if it goes according to plan, you'll make a lot of money for basically having done nothing but being disciplined over the years.

So endeth the financial lesson.

Quote:
wait... what?
I have that same reaction to a lot of posts here. I'm thinking most people are not native English speakers because more often than not, I can't make out what somebody is trying to say.
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Old 21 October 11, 17:01   #38
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God bless SMS.
here my 25
I dont care about T&C , i have 100% trust in this project becouse i don't think Ian Bell/SMS want to live only 18 month....
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Old 21 October 11, 18:04   #39
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wait... what?
Sometimes I truly love your posts Kazumi. Seriously.
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Old 21 October 11, 20:50   #40
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I was going to sign up but then I read their agreement.

Basically I see it as we would be paying to be beata testers with a slim hope that the game will make money so we could get some of our money back.

It also reads as if they will own the rights to any content that "members" create and they can do what ever they want in the future with it (create a new sim that they make all the profit on).

More important is this:

I have not been able to figure out if this is a subscription service or not.

In their agreement they they say they need direct access to our PayPal account so they can make payments directly to us....

I would guess that also means they can extract the monthy fee from us too.

All to vague and ambiguious for me to sign up.

I guess I will wait a month and find out if those of you that signed up are getting charged by the month.
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Old 21 October 11, 21:06   #41
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It's been asked and answered a lot of times - It's a one time payment, and nowhere has SMS or anyone else said that there's a monthly charge. It also goes without saying that SMS will never gain access to your PayPal account so that they can drain money from it.

If you're the overly worried or suspicious type, WMD with the current T&C is not for you, I guess... Personally I've "lost" a stack of money on buying sub-par games. I consider this one the safest bet yet
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Old 22 October 11, 13:33   #42
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I agree C.A.R.S is worth 25 € to play the builds. More tracks are coming soon. Great fun.

About investing or not, I would say all depends on SMS ability to succeed and I wish them a great success with C.A.R.S.
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Old 22 October 11, 15:18   #43
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So endeth the financial lesson.
"Lesson" filed where it belongs.
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Old 22 October 11, 19:05   #44
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"Lesson" filed where it belongs.
Haven't got 25 euros to your name.. right? lol
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Old 24 October 11, 10:46   #45
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You know, I used to measure myself like you do. I worked as a member of an ERP design and implementation team. We provided production software specifically for a multi-billion dollar company with a 20,000 user base. I thought I was the absolute dog's bullocks. Limo to and from work when working in the city, helicopter when out of town, the best hotels, unlimited expenses.

I got to go home at weekends where I would spend a few hours with my small children before flying back out Sunday night. I did this for three years before life took a left turn and I became unable to continue.

You are right in your assumption, nowadays I don't have a pot to pee in, I have a sinecure of a job which pays enough to keep us fed and pay the mortgage, but there are few frills... and I would take my current life a thousand times over my old one.

Before pleasuring yourself with more of your pomposity, you'd do well to realise that you have no idea who the people are behind the posts and keep your patronising prose to yourself.
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Old 24 October 11, 13:53   #46
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Oh please.. your excuses do not detract from sound financial advice. I, in no way, meant that a person should sell themselves into veritable slavery for a hefty paycheck at the expensive of their health or sanity. It's not an either/or situation.

There are many people who pursue financially and personally rewarding professions and live life saving a substantial portion of their income over many years in order to achieve the peace of mind that goes along with it.

You call it "pomposity" - easy for a poor person to throw that term around. I would take my current professional life a thousand times over yours. In fact, my nightmares consist of only having mortgage and food money.

And remember kids.. the anarchists out there trying to lure you with promises of a peaceful easy life if you just avoid busting your ass for a couple of decades in order to get ahead are only doing that because they want more people on their level to commiserate with. Don't fall for it.

It's much better to be financially independent. Trust me. Once you've got the fat account, sitting in your English garden is much more peaceful.
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Old 24 October 11, 14:21   #47
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Hehe... "Poor person"... I wish you well Micas, I really do.
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