The decision to close a VegasTechFund company due to over-ambition is beyond ironic. As I’ve written before, Hsieh’s plans to regenerate downtown Vegas are cursed by over promising, often from Hsieh himself.
Many people have approached me over the years saying “We want to create Blah Blah that will revitalize manufacturing and provide all the resources hardware startups need”. What resources? What the what…Everything! That is impossible. Good factories specialize in various capabilities. No one does everything. We have an ecosystem of partners that provide the capabilities. Why? Because we want the right factory to help with the outcome and we alone can not do it all
“There are barriers primarily in the usability of the entire stack, software, machines, materials,” Pickens said. “No-one has succeeded in making a 3D printer where you just ‘hit print’ and get the object you want. Various amounts of post-processing have to take place that make the experience frustrating for users. In particular the machines require tuning and babysitting to function properly and often the failure modes are due to engineering flaws that could have been solved.”
I am not holding my breath till 2016 to see if this is solved. Seems that more sensors and software are needed to track the position of the extruder and placement of materials. I hope it happens. It would be cool to have an actual replicator on hand.
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):
Is this going to bring added value to the market by adding this feature?
Will this increase the revenue I hope to get for my product in a substantial way to justify the effort?
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.
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.
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.