Alright … I admit the title sounds repulsive and makes you want to click away, but being someone interested in design as well as engineering, I sometimes look at sites like smashingmagazine just to see if there’s anything worth procrastinating over for a few minutes. The article above is well worth a read.
Why am I posting this here on Adafruit under EEBookshelf, though? Because I see a lot of questions about how to run your own kit business, and in my opinion — and I know Phil and Limor share it — good, precise, expert information is the best marketing you can ever provide. Give people the information they want in a regular, concise and accessible way, and as long as your products are aligned with people’s needs and expectations, the customers will inevitably come to you. Good information is, in my opinion, the key to running a successful business, though it’s obviously more complicated than that. Why was I an Adafruit customer long before I was an Adafruit employee? Because they also treat their customers, their employees and their business partners fairly, and they play by the unspoken rules that reflect the best of what open source hardware should be.
Working in the kit business is exceptionally hard. The support, shipping, sourcing and stock maintenance, site development, and a lot of other S’s make for long days, but if you’re serious about getting started, the best thing you can do is focus on a specific area that isn’t being treated well, and provide the kind of expert information that makes people want to come to you. There are some huge gaps in knowledge out there, and people are thirsty for information … the best way to succeed online is to feed that need in a regular, readable format. This article from smashing makes some good points about getting started doing it well from day one.