Kickstarter project spent $3.5M to finish a working prototype—and ended in disaster | Ars Technica

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The “Designs” are complete, patents filed, component suppliers selected, the manufacturing process is defined, the CM [contract manufacturer] chosen so all we need is your support in this project as we size the first myIDkey production run and ship product in September 2013. Please make a pledge and receive your myIDkey!

So the product was ready to go directly to manufacturing…What happened? They over promised and promising more until they ran out of money. I see this happen so many times I could cry. I mean really!!!! This product was very promising. The idea solid. The problem; stop adding features and making changes. JUST STOP!!!!

Feature creep is an easy pit to fall into, but you must resist the temptation to change your product after you have made commitments. Also don’t change your product unless you really have to do so. It will cause delays. Have you ever played the board game Monopoly? Think of it this way if you change something, add something then you do not pass go, do not collect $200 and you have to start at the beginning.

Here is an example. Lets say I want to change a button. You might say well that is not a big deal…right? However after you select the first button you had to work it into your PCB design, industrial design, package design, and your manufacturing plan. When you select a new part you have to go back and work through all those plans you before did again. What happens if the button just does not fit the enclosure right, then industrial design must take place. Then what if you try to get the button in the MOQ and price you can afford, then find out it is a strange type of button that is not common in the market. In that case you will have very long lead times and may not get the part at all. You must ask yourself some business questions (not technological questions):

  1. Is this going to bring added value to the market by adding this feature?
  2. Will this increase the revenue I hope to get for my product in a substantial way to justify the effort?
  3. Will I be able to meet my deliverable commitments, for sales, marketing and volume?

If any of these are no, do not add the feature. Wait till version 2.0 to reconsider it.

via Kickstarter project spent $3.5M to finish a working prototype—and ended in disaster | Ars Technica.

SECRET LAWS OF STARTUPS PART 1 – BUILD RIGHT THING » FAKEGRIMLOCK BLOG | FAKEGRIMLOCK BLOG

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THIS LAW 1: BE SHOES!BEST PRODUCT TAKE THING PERSON DO. DO BETTER!WORST TAKE THING NO ONE DO. BETTER NOT MATTER!NO ONE WANT DO NEW THING. MAKE SHOES INSTEAD. EVERYONE LIKE SHOES. GO ON FEET, MAKE WALK BETTER.MOST IMPORTANT: NOT WALK DIFFERENT.TAKE THING EVERYONE DO THAT SUCK. TURN SUCK INTO AWESOME. NOW ONLY NEW THING THEM LEARN IS PAY YOU MONEY.BREAK LAW: YOU FAIL WHILE FIGHT HUMAN NATURE. NO CAN WIN! IT BIG.

ha ha. I love the Fakegrimlock blog. Thank you for the recommendation. These laws of startups are hysterical.

via SECRET LAWS OF STARTUPS PART 1 – BUILD RIGHT THING » FAKEGRIMLOCK BLOG | FAKEGRIMLOCK BLOG.

Why That Phone Charger Took Two Years to Arrive – NYTimes.com

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Designing and fabricating a basic prototype was much harder than they had expected, and they spoke wearily of the process of obtaining permission from Apple to sell the case as a licensed accessory.

I am glad I keep reading this articles. I am reminded many times that people underestimate the manufacturing end of the product. It is great fun designing, marketing and branding, but hey you finally have to make the thing since you promised to deliver it. That is where the fun really is. At the last New York Hardware Meetup it was a abundantly clear from the panel that the manufacturing planing was a key thing that was underestimated.

Manufacturing plan is very important. The other item left out is DFM (Design For Manufacturability). People have forgotten about this too. Not forgot, but did not know they need to know that this is part of the product development and manufacturing process. The DFM process makes sure that your product is manufacturable. Without it you have no way of knowing if your product is manufacturable. It is best to keep DFM in mind when you are prototyping your product. That being said, there are many variables when it comes to DFM. In a nutshell you need to work with a person that has the skills and experience working with a factory to know what those variables are.

via Why That Phone Charger Took Two Years to Arrive – NYTimes.com.

Apple and Beats; I am Not Sure Why, But I Will Voice An Option Like Everyone Else

At the Store With Child Apple Beats
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At first I was a Microsoft user. I built my own machines. I used DOS back in the day and WordPerfect. My first laptop was an IBM Lug-able. It was so heavy that you had to use a luggage cart. I switched to Apple in 2008. I admit it, I bought it because it was pretty. Now a days my main driver is the MacBook Air with max memory and max SSD. So when I heard about the Apple purchasing Beats I ask myself why.

I ride the subway almost every day. I love it. It is very convenient and I think it is (when it is not crowded) fun. When I am riding I see three kinds of headphones consistently. I count them. One are the distinctive white Apple headphones. Two are the Beats headphones. Third are the noticeably bad copies of the Apple and Beats headphones. Oh and some bluetooth headsets. From the standpoint of popularity I can see why Apple bought Beats.

As for quality…I have no idea. I am not an audiophile. I don’t care about converting all my songs to high bit rate. So when I hear that the Beats headphones are not great. I was like, to whom? How many audiophiles are there? CNET says that it is only one percent. So that means to me that only one percent of the population won’t buy Beats. A minor number. Everyone else is fair game.

I guess I might be getting older, but I may not buy beats either. The style is not me. Maybe I am in my Microsoft phase of headphones. The prettiness of Beats headphones may entice me later. I can’t say.
Photo credit: Alejandro Castro / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Let It Roll, Let It Roll or Not

Calm Beach Ahhhh
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We have been there before. You know that situation when you see people repeating the same mistakes you have made yourself and you think if you advise them that will change their current path. It makes me want to say “Ugh, What the f*@k are you doing?” Most of my colleagues have been there too. However when you are working with startups and people who have their own first business…sometimes you want to tear your hair out. Do you standby and let it roll?

In some situations I will voice my opinion, but there are some situations where you know if you say something it will not work. I have heard it before; “Oh you don’t know our situation” or the best one “That will not happen to us”. History always repeats itself said some very wise man and it is so true.

What do I do in those situations? I let it roll.  Sometimes the best lesson is the one you learn yourself. I watch and see people learn for themselves. It works great. You can sense when someone is not responsive to advice. You can see it in their face when you start talking with them. Sometimes I do give it anyway just to see the reaction.

Not to say I am sadistic by any means, but it is sometimes is funny to watch. It is like a sitcom played out for everyone to see. A show. A well written show. Well written because it happened so many times before that there must have been time to make the writing perfect. Sometimes the endings are difference. Most of the time they are the same. Most of the time it is history repeating itself over and over again.

When I do let it roll good things happen. People learn. They comeback and say oh yeah it did happen…”Oh crap!!!!”. Then the “Oh crap” turns to action and action turns to expected results. Other times you just see it in them. A light goes off and then the path changes. A right turn or left (Doctor Who reference). It is rewarding to see.

It is hard to give advice and it is hard to take advice, but how it evolves is fun to watch. Oh startups, a crazy business and oh so exciting. I am glad to be a part of it.

Photo credit: A Guy Taking Pictures / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Net Neutrality And The Cable Companies

Net Neutrality
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You know I don’t want this to be a rant…be aware it could be. Recently the FCC has release a broad document outlining some of the rule making for  They are seeking comments on their proposal over the next four months. Here is a quote:

The FCC has previously concluded that broadband providers have the incentive and ability to act in ways that threaten Internet openness. But today, there are no rules that stop broadband providers from trying to limit Internet openness. That is why the Notice adopted by the FCC todays starts with a fundamental question: “What is the right public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open?”

What is an open internet? To me at least it has to do with the basic concept of equality of data transmission. All bytes treated the same, whether I am watching a video that is from YouTube or a video from Vimeo. The bytes come through the same with no degradation in performance. Some ISP’s have their own content. That some content should have special treatment. The same goes for blogs and news sites. CNN should not have special treatment versus any blog.

There are many issues that relate to this. Much to say one of them is on going performance deterioration. I have noticed that over the years my cable internet service has degraded. Even though I suppose to get fast speeds (mine is suppose to be 20Mbps) I rarely get that speed. And if i get the speed things download slowly. I did a comparison with my ATT smartphone and my internet. The video on my phone played great while the cable internet service stuttered and stopped to buffer.

The issue of quality of service is important. I am not talking about bandwidth shaping. I am just talking about the service in general. Why am I getting better service via my cellular wireless than my wired cable internet? The wired service should be better. It is not.

So I pose this question; How do we keep the connectivity innovating and keep the bits & bytes free?

I like this photo, but it is missing Time Warner Cable. Photo credit: Free Press Pics / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)