On the 21st of March, 2017, Jaapson was invited to attend the Shenzhen Hardware Startup Conference, and our Business Manager Mr. Baggio WangFan took part in the meeting. This conference is about high-tech and black-tech hardware startup, including robotics, drones, VR, AR, Game hardware, wearables, etc. Mr. Baggio WangFan was invited to take an interview.
Below is part of their conversation:
Dealing with electronics and PCB manufacturing is kind of boring sometimes, but there are always ways to make it more interesting and fun. Recently, Jaapson team tried to combine PCBs with different cartoon images, like monkey, ant, people, etc to make it more vivid. We have received many positive feedback, and would like to share them with more people.
These are part of our designs, and it is still continuing...
“Hardware company” is used too broadly. Both Square and SpaceX are hardware companies, but with very different challenges. It’s like lumping together enterprise Saas, social apps, and AI all together as “software companies”. So I’d think about subcategories and challenges facing each one. I can speak best to the challenges we’ve faced.
First, iterating is harder than with software companies. Especially at the earliest stages, you should be building your product and talking to your users. Part of your goal is to learn how you’re wrong about what features matter and what your users want. For us, we received great advice to ship a few units at lower development cost, and we resorted to using Arduinos and Nintendo Wii remotes and RC airplane batteries to build prototypes that we could sell. You have to emphasize this consciously, though, because big launches and high-dollar preorder campaigns are what get celebrated by the press and investors and it’s easy to get sucked into that.
Many (exciting) steps are in front of you before to see your product in the hands of your customers. It is going to take time and effort (hardware is hard… remember ?) but you will have lots of fun and interesting discoveries along the way.
The typical process for launching a hardware company can be broken up into 10 essential big phases or steps. Each of them have their own challenge. Be prepared to meet and work with experts.
Here are the 10 steps to create a hardware company:
Before the Internet, every electronics engineer had his or her own little library of databooks and catalogs. If you designed digital circuits, the most widely-used data books were the Texas Instruments' TTL Logic data books, which had a very distinctive yellow cover. If you were an analog designer, then you had to have a set of National Semiconductor Linear IC databooks, which had a very distinctive blue cover.
Engineers were very protective of their databooks. They would print their names on them in big, bold letters, and only loan them out if they knew you and if they were sure that they'd get them back. This is an understandable degree of protectiveness, as your productivity as an engineer often depended on having component data at your fingertips.
Today, of course, all of this component data is online. With just a few clicks, you can quickly find datasheets and specifications on just about any component every manufactured.