It was good to meet other folks working on hardware startups in the area. We had a good discussion on the differences between a small business and a startup, as well as some talk about what direction to take the Meetup. Beer was involved, so not as conclusive as one might hope.
0 · September 12, 2012
Bob- Thank You for your cautionary reminders. "Build it and they will come" makes a great movie, but rarely works in real life. The whole point of this meetup group is not to tinker with the hardware itself, but to tinker with the BUSINESS behind the hardware. Personally, I am excited about the combination of the "Lean Startup" methodology, which has proven to be very successful for Internet/software based companies, with agile manufacturing and rapid prototyping, which is accelerating the rate at which hardware can be iteratively improved, especially in parallel with market development.
As for the shovel-seller / prospector metaphor- There is a lesson there (shovel sellers sold something of value to prospectors), but it would be fatalistic to assume that only shovel-sellers profit. The metaphorical prospectors lost out because they acted without any business development discipline.
I'd like to vary the locations of the meetups- it would be great to do it at Nova Labs one time.
0 · September 6, 2012
Everyone- we have a location for the meetup- Jake's American Grill in DC on 5018 Connecticut Ave. NW. We'll be in the "boiler room" downstairs. The manager graciously offered to extend happy hour prices on beer and snacks for as long as we are there. Closest metro is Tenleytown. There is also plenty of street parking for those driving in. (It is easier to park here than downtown!)
0 · September 6, 2012
Well you guys sound like an interesting group. You are tracking allot of things I am tracking. Maker Movement: real. Like the goldrush, but the money is not in the gold but outfitting the individual prospectors (Sparkfun, Adafruit, Jameco, Element14, Dangrousprototypes, Seeedstudio). Kickstarter: Chris Anderson said it on the amphour podcast; "Kickstarter is like a time machine; It moves your cash back in time to when you need it to fund production" But then you have to spin-doctor your huge fanbase for 4 to 6 months who you owe money and product. No thanks. I know multiple kickstarter founders who were 5-10x over subscribed and it is no picnic (search touchfire on ks). There is not allot that your experience stuffing boards on your kitchen table will aid you when closing that 100k unit deal with a contractor in Shenzhen.
I'm on your meetup list. I will continue to monitor. I am involved in nova-labs reston meetup, 'case you want to wander out this way. Small venue, friendly bunch.
0 · September 5, 2012