No matter how brilliant or beautiful your new gadget may be, it’s doomed if you can’t figure out how to make it efficiently, consistently and economically. An ex-Apple supply guy offers insights on how to make that happen.
Grand St., a new start-up based in New York, wants to be the one-stop shopping destination for all of these quirky electronics wares. Every other day, it lists a new product for sale. Previous choices have included at-homesous vide cookers, smart watches, portable phone chargers and headsets that monitor brainwave activity. The company, which has slowly been building its audience since it put up a Web site this year, announced on Tuesday that it had raised $1.3 million in venture financing for the site. The round of investment was led by First Round Capital, Collaborative Fund, Betaworks and David Tisch, among others.
This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do.
Join MAKE for its second annual Hardware Innovation Workshop.
This award-winning business event shines the spotlight on the most interesting and innovative tools and technology, platforms and projects, and devices and designs based on open source hardware.
The 1-1/2 day event kicks-off Tuesday with a VC panel, “Pitch Your Prototype,” and “Getting Started,” case studies of maker pros with early stage products. The Innovation Showcase follows, a unique opportunity to casually engage with over two dozen makers who have their cutting-edge products and devices on display. Creating an almost magical atmosphere where hardware innovation and creative genius generates spirited ideation, the Innovation Showcase is not to be missed.
An All-Star Maker Pro Lineup
Wednesday is an all-star lineup with over 30 speakers representing leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders at the forefront of the maker movement. Investors, industrial designers, product development teams—anyone looking for insight into the early stage companies with the potential to change the global business landscape—should attend. Register today for early bird prices.
Speakers at the 2013 MAKE Hardware Innovation Workshop include:
Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones
Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino
Robert Faludi, collaborative strategy leader at Digi International
Bunnie Huang, co-founder of Chumby
Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of Quirky
Dave Merrill, co-founder and president of Sifteo
Scott Miller, CEO and co-founder of Dragon Innovation
New! Maker Pro Digital Manufacturing Workshop
This year we’ve added a half-day session for maker pros looking for guidance and insight into getting their projects and ideas to the next stage. Beginning at 10am to 1pm, Tuesday, May 14, the three-hour manufacturing deep dive is designed for makers exploring options for getting to scale with their final prototypes. Presented by experts who can facilitate the transition and have extensive experience in small, medium, and large scale manufacturing for startups. Participants are encouraged to bring their designs and prototypes to the workshop.
The Editors and Contributors of GeekDad are very excited (and not a little bit nervous) to announce today that we’ve taken the training wheels off, and are riding all by ourselves! (metaphorically speaking). What we mean is that we’re doing this blogging thing all on our own now, and are no longer affiliated with Wired.
MAKE magazine is now it’s own company (spun off from O’Reilly) and now GeekDad is spinning off from WIRED. Big moves in the DIY arena.
At Google we believe that open systems win. Open-source software has been at the root of many innovations in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the Internet generally. And while open platforms have faced growing patent attacks, requiring companies to defensively acquire ever more patents, we remain committed to an open Internet—one that protects real innovation and continues to deliver great products and services.
Today, we’re taking another step towards that goal by announcing the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge: we pledge not to sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked.
We’ve begun by identifying 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google—open-source versions of which are now widely used. Over time, we intend to expand the set of Google’s patents covered by the pledge to other technologies.
Manufacturing is risky for a startup. Tying all your resources up in product can be dangerous if your product isn’t manufactured right, or if it costs too much to manufacture. Managing risk is the most important part and the hidden costs of manufacturing overseas can completely eliminate the savings on paper. U.S. manufacturers can help reduce a lot of the risk for a startup, and offer experience and expertise that an offshore company cannot, saving money and producing a higher quality product.
For three months in 2012 I lived in Shenzhen, China, participating in a hardware startup accelerator HAXLR8R and trying to get my company Portable Scores off the ground. I kept a blog while I was there. The goal was to learn about manufacturing in China, pick out some factories, source our components, and get everything ready for when we lined up funding. What I learned during those three months was not just how to do it, but that there are times when you just shouldn’t do it, and for a startup, it’s not just about money, it’s about managing risk. Our plan right now is “Assembled in USA.”
At AutoBike, we design and build automatic shifting bicycles. One of our key components is what we call the “brains,” which is a small micro-controller that decides when to shift. Here’s a quick video we put together to show how this component gets manufactured (right here in Michigan!).
I soon learned that there are four parties involved with every credit card transaction: the merchant receiving the payment (“merchant”), the bank that the merchant uses to provide processing services (“acquiring bank”), the bank that issued the card to the customer (“issuing bank”) and the customer (“customer”).
Will from FriedCircuits.us has been working on a new daisy-chainable LED Matrix Link prototype which makes use of a Maxim MAX7219 (which he will feature in his upcoming May wedding — fascinating!), so he has been investigating cheap sources for the IC suggested by friends and colleagues. His conclusion? Buyer beware when buying under market value on eBay. Learn more how to spot the fakes from his MobileWill blog:
I have been receiving feedback that I can use eBay suppliers to lower my price on the MAX7219. I had previously considered that option, but after some research I have found that a lot of people are receiving counterfeits on eBay. While some counterfeits may work, their reliability is questionable and that would make my product unreliable. I do not believe that it is “good business” to support businesses and companies which pirate technology and sell it as if it were legitimate. I sincerely hope everyone understands why I am skeptical about using an unknown supplier for parts. Here is a good forum post about coming across the fake variety: http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk/showthread.php?22481-Real-or-fake The more units I can sell initially will increase my per-part discount, which will allow me to lower my selling price.
For example if you look at the picture above, the line across the top is inline with pin 2. f you do a search on eBay or even Google image search you can see that they line up with pin 3. Also mine has a notch and the eBay ones all have a dimple. Not to mention there is no way someone can go to Maxim and get a price much lower then their lowest price they have.
Each week on the Adafruit blog we post up about amazing companies, people and articles about being a MAKER and a business. Over the years we’ve shared how we run Adafruit, published code from our shopping cart system and given presentations on running an open-source hardware company. Every Monday we’re going to try to collect some of these resources and tag them #makerbusinessmonday & #makerbusiness. They’re in our popular Maker Business category as well, enjoy!
If you are in the New York City area and have been looking to gain the skill to manufacture your own PCBs for the projects you are developing — perhaps on your way to launching a brand new kit or product — then check out the Zahn Center’s upcoming PCB making classes:
WHEN: April 6, 2013 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
WHERE: Zahn Center, Room B20, Steinman Hall, 140th Street and Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031
COST: $150 (plus fees)
Our first “Make your own PCB” class will be given by PCB designer extraordinaire, Jonathan Hirschman. In this class we’ll be helping you design and build your very own Arduino clone, similar to the one shown. The class is designed for everyone, of all skill levels, with no knowledge of electronics required – just a desire to learn and make.
The class will be given in two Saturday sessions (April 6th and April 20th, from 10am – 6pm). In the first session, you’ll learn about PCB design software, and then you’ll create your own Arduino clone design, and send your design out for fabrication. Two weeks later, you’ll be building and assembling your boards!
Even though this class is newbie friendly, we’ll be doing a pretty deep dive. You’ll learn how to read datasheets, how to design components in the layout software, power and ground planes, even how to make funky graphics. Want skulls and flames on your clone? No problem! We’ll also talk about the different manufacturing shops out there, pricing, location and what are some of their pros and cons. In the second session you’ll learn all about assembly and mounting, and how to correct when the tiny legs on your microntrollers don’t quite line up….
I have been receiving feedback that I can use eBay suppliers to lower my price on the MAX7219. I had previously considered that option, but after some research I have found that a lot of people are receiving counterfeits on eBay. While some counterfeits may work, their reliability is questionable and that would make my product unreliable.