Over my past few posts there has been a common theme of “using things that already exist.” This stems from a mindset of building things from scratch whether or not they’re actually warranted or needed. For instance, you may work with a fussy firmware engineer who finds the provided vendor code just deplorable to use. That person then takes extra time to go about writing their own platform or system that replaces the vendor code.
It’s stressful to be on the front lines of a pre-production effort. It’s even more stressful when you are the only person that is responsible for the majority of the design, component selection and procurement. In this post, I’m going to dive in some of the ways you can leverage distribution partners and your factory to manage your bill of materials for you. That way you can stay ahead of the game and focus on what really matters.
In order to get interactive with your now serial enabled Raspberry Pi we need a framework that will provide the ability to communicate in real time over the web. For example, if you press a button in a web browser on your Mac it enables a GPIO on your Raspberry Pi/Arduino which subsequently enables a relay connected to a light in your house. Before we get started: since creating this post back in 2014, much has changed in the landscape of Node.
Prototyping can open your eyes to the possibilities or the constraints that you now have to create a product. For instance if you 3D print a prototype and find that it’s darn near impossible to hold for people with smaller hands (or large hands for that matter), you should modify the design so it works for your intended demographic. Especially if your demographic is filled with people who have large hands!
There are many techniques to prototype the products you want to create in the future. I have had the chance to work with some of the most talented people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through their inspiration, I wanted to share some of the tricks of the trade making something from nothing. Here are their and my favorite ways to prototype: Note: this post is lengthy. If you are particularly interested in a certain technique see the list of links below:
The delivery of static files from a web server to your browser can be blazing fast. That is one of the advantages of using Jekyll vs. other dynamic web content systems like Wordpress. One of the drawbacks, unfortunately, is that Jekyll requires much more knowledge about the intricacies of how all the pieces work together. (i.e. fix things when they break in Ruby, install or bake your own plugins, etc.
Remember when static websites were the only things that were served on the internet? I don’t know about you but I definitely remember the pain of uploading all my sources files via FTP to a web server only to realize there was a mistake in one of the HTML files. Shnit! Nowadays, while web has become significantly more complex, there are companies, mom and pop shops and individuals looking to make it simpler.
Contracting can be a beast in an of its own. Startups with founders that are worth their salt will often contract work out instead of hiring employees. There are pluses and minuses to both situations. Likely though, especially for someone they’ve never worked with, the hiring manager will push for a 3-6 month contract to start. If your heart is set on full time employment there are some things you can do to get compensated for your work.
For a product company, your factory is where all the magic happens. When things go wrong the factory is the place you get on a plane to go and fix stuff. It’s a central source of frustration for many startup CEOs because those relationships sometimes don’t work out. There are dozens of things that could go wrong with finding the right factory. So let’s chat about all the things you could do that could make things much more complicated.
Interviewing at a hardware startup, especially early stage, is a different experience. Founders often have no protocol or rubric for bringing on talent. They will often make a decision by a combination of how they feel about you as a candidate but also your past experience. This is a bit liberating because you don’t necessarily have to be the best technically as long as you can show that you’re providing extreme value.
- What's Cool In Hardware May 2017
- How to Wrangle Your Supply Chain
- How to use Node.js WebSockets on Raspberry Pi
- How to Develop to Your Product Prototype
- Prototyping Techniques of Industry Experts
- How to use Jekyll and Git Submodules
- Static Site Generation and Reviews on Static Web Service
- The Nuances of Working as a Contractor at Startups
- How to Find the Wrong Factory To Make Your Product
- Ask the Best Questions at your Startup Interview