Walk into the offices of most technology startups, and you’ll see lots of open space, lots of desks and lots of programmers hacking away at code. Walk into the office of a startup that’s creating physical products, and it’s a different experience. Rooms are filled with parts, shipping containers and production equipment, and there’s a definite sense of pride among the employees in being able to prominently display what they’ve created.
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Another difference for us is that instead of “Release Early, Release Often” it is more of “Ship Early, Ship Often”.
There are certainly a host of things you have to consider before you can actually sell hardware. Unfortunately, simply ‘making it’ doesn’t mean you can ‘sell it’; and ‘making it’ right, and right the first time carries both quality of design challenges and financial risk. There are legal and business registration requirements, mandatory bookkeeping and inventory tracking to meet tax requirements (compounded by the changing cost of goods sold when you have multiple components), consumer safety (electrical and material compliance), and logistical shipping and import/export requirements in most cases. Running an electronics hardware business has a significantly higher ‘business’ component much like any manufacturing company than ‘App’ developers. While a barrier, I think that’s kind of exciting for those that are able to do their diligence and put it all together.