1 Reply Latest reply on Sep 24, 2020 9:53 AM by colporteur

    A Conversation About RoadTests, COVID-19, 100% Club, 2020 Results, Challenges, Tax Responsibility, Roadtester Q&A Webinar


      roadtest logoI periodically begin a conversation with the RoadTesters Group to give them my updates ( 1, 2, 3,) or discuss areas of interest I haven't done one in awhile, so I had some time today, and sat down and gathered my thoughts. Here it is:


      Catching Up and Covid-19

      At the beginning of the year, I had prepared a robust year of roadtesting. But then COVID-19 hit the world. Like many of you, we began working from home. We kept the Roadtest program going, but it took us a bit of time modify our processes and schedule our shipping runs. Thanks for being patient! I sensed that many of you did the same thing. Overall, I think it has worked out. I hope all of you and your families are safe and healthy. At the present time, we are still working from home, but that may change in the coming months, depending upon conditions.


      Congratulations to the 100% Clubbers

      I want to give a big thank you to the many roadtesters who completed and published their reviews. I know someone of you were in Covid19 "lockdown." I appreciate your efforts. I'd like to specifically call out a group of roadtesters that I informally call "The 100% Club." It includes the roadtests where I received a 100% review completion rate. Why is this important? While our suppliers understand that personal emergencies, life changes, and family issues do arise in the lives of our roadtesters, they value the reviews because it gives them insights into their products and potential customers.


      So, I went through all the 2020 roadtests that were beyond the deadline and review writing stage. I found the following roadtests are in the 100% Club:


      NXP S32K-ISELED LED Lighting Solution


      Cool Tools 2020: USB Soldering Iron


      Cmod S7: Breadboardable Spartan-7 FPGA Module


      Keithley 2450 SMU with I-V Tracer Software


      Raspberry Pi4B (4GB) plus POE Hat


      Arduino MKR WAN 1300 + ENV Sensor Shield


      Genesys ZU: Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSoC Dev Board


      ACCESS:bit for micro:bit


      COOL TOOLS: Wiha ESD-Safe Rachet Tool Kit


      Avnet UltraZed-EV Starter Kit


      That's a pretty good list! So, I want to thank all the 100% Clubbers for their efforts.


      Overall 2020 Results

      I audited all 2020 roadtests beyond their deadline. (Roadtests-in-enrollment or ones that are before the review deadline are not included.) The result is somewhat lower than I expected-- 70%. Now, this is an improvement from several years ago when we had a much lower completion rate. I think COVID-19 delayed some reviews being posted. And some roadtesters had personal issues to deal with.  As I have said before, personal crises, life changes, and family issues take priority; a review can wait. We want you to take care of the important things of your life first. Post the review when your life settles down. We will continue to follow up to learn about your progress. Sending us an email and explaining your situation helps us understand when we can expect the review to be posted. We can then inform the sponsor accordingly.


      I have some concerns about reviews not getting posted, however. If there is something I am doing (or not doing) that can help a roadtester get his or her review posted, please tell me. Your feedback is very important. Things are bound to arise. A defective product, shipping damage, incorrect documentation, and more.  I prefer that you to ask questions in the comments area of the roadtest. This gives an opportunity for our more experienced members to be made aware of a problem and a chance for them to offer help. Now, if you would prefer to message my privately, you can at rscasny


      RoadTest Difficulties, Challenges, Fears, and Anything Else

      Over the year, I have noticed some discussions about RoadTest fears, mental-blocks, difficulties, challenges, and everything else. I'll agree there have been some roadtests which have been mountains to climb. The patience and professionalism of those roadtesters who have had difficult roadtests is outstanding and you deserve a big thank you #2.


      Roadtest Fears and Challenges:The very nature of the roadtest program is that it requires some knowledge, especially for specialized products. I try to roadtest a wide variety of products so members of varying skill levels can participate in the program. Perhaps we need to re-focus our efforts and roadtest more maker/hobbyist products. Your comments on the type of products you would like to see made available for roadtests would be appreciated. But we will continue to roadtest a variety of products. We have a lot of great suppliers with great products.


      If you are a little hesitant to roadtest at all, I'd suggest applying for a product you are comfortable with and use that to start building a roadtest review portfolio. I am sure that one of our spectrum analyzer roadtesters went through a learning curve to get to the point of being capable of reviewing a complex product. But roadtests shouldn't be only for experts. Roadtests should be opportunities to build your skills too. If you are still hesitant, please contact me. I will get you some help.  If you have any other comments or concerns about your own challenges in roadtesting, feel free to also leave a comment. I read them and I value your input.


      Tax Responsibilities

      I have read some discussions a few months ago about tax responsibilities. Legally speaking, roadtests are contests of skill (not chance). This is described in our terms and conditions which are published on every roadtest page. They are the rules we live under.


      If you are a US taxpayer, and you are selected as a roadtester for a product that is valued over $600, we are required by law to have you complete a W-9 form and at the end of the year the company will issue you a 1099 form; the value of the product will be considered as income. If you are NOT a US taxpayer, article 3.6 of our terms and conditions says "Winners are responsible for all applicable taxes, duties or other charges payable in relation to any prize." You need to contact your tax authority or personal accountant to determine if you have a tax responsibility.


      Roadtester Q&A Webinar

      I have been toying with the idea of offering a "live" Roadtest Q&A Webinar in January (after the end-of-year holidays). It would give you the chance to hear from me directly and ask me questions and express your concerns.


      Well, that's the end of my updates. If you have anything to add or if there is something I missed, please leave a comment below.


      We are currenting running a number of roadtests. I would encourage you to apply here: RoadTests & Reviews



      Randall Scasny

      RoadTest Program Manager