“They’re smart as hell and massively talented” is how one agency CEO described it.
Be that as it may, Undercurrent, the 8-year-old strategic consulting and advisory firm, officially closed its doors last Friday, only a few months after a much-hyped sale to crowdsourced product company Quirky. It caused, as expected, an outpouring of affection on Twitter for founders Josh Spear, Rob Schuman and Aaron Dignan. The shutdown of Undercurrent is being taken by both agency and startup world as a cautionary tale for what happens when you stop being independent — especially poignant considering Undercurrent had been, by most accounts, successful.
Undercurrent, according to employees, was and continued to be profitable. But Quirky wasn’t: Reports about its financial woes circulated in the press for months. Quirky reportedly burned through $185 million in investor money and laid of 20 percent off its staff in the past eight months alone. It also ran into problems with Wink, its highly publicized connected home platform, which also wasn’t making money. A former Undercurrent employee said that for Quirky to keep Wink, possibly its only product with some growth potential, it had to get rid of some of its other operations. In the end, Quirky got rid of Undercurrent, which while profitable, was still fledgling, bringing in about $10 million a year.
Quirky and Undercurrent also had a relationship before the deal: Co-founder Spear was a Quirky investor and a “longtime friend and advisor” to Kaufman. At the time of the deal, Dignan lauded Quirky as “the invention platform that will power every company on the planet someday.” So it was surprising to outsiders that saw the shuttering of Undercurrent three months after its acquisition. Rather than competing with agencies, Undercurrent chose to provide brand strategy only, without delivering actual work.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — To make it through a tough business cycle, layoffs should be a last resort
Wearables — Look beyond buttons
Electronics — The Glitchy Switch
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers: CircuitPython on Wio Terminal, 6.0.0 Alpha 1 and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Repurposed Smart Home Displays, Open-Source 5G Networks, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — Black Girls Code Virtual Camps
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 7/08/20 featuring Adafruit PMSA003I Air Quality Breakout – STEMMA QT / Qwiic! @adafruit #adafruit #newproducts
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.