Hardware Founders: Overcoming Challenges in Bringing Tangible Products to Market
I’ve always been fascinated by hardware founders and the challenges they face. Unlike software founders, they have to create a physical product from scratch, which is no easy feat. I recently came across a comment on one of my posts from a person who had bought a flossing product from a hardware founder. While I’m not a flossing enthusiast myself, I have always been a big supporter of hardware founders who are able to turn an idea into something tangible.
As someone who has worked mainly in software, I’ve been intrigued by the challenges that hardware founders face. In software, everything from the idea to production delivery to the customer is under your control. You can make changes at any time and execute your ideas whenever you want. However, with hardware products, the process is much more complex.
According to Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, “If you’re not embarrassed by your first product, you’ve shipped too late.” This means that hardware founders need to be willing to ship their product even if it’s not perfect. Iteration is key, and it’s important to be constantly improving your product. But at the same time, you need to strike a balance between perfecting your product and getting it out to the market in a timely manner.
For hardware founders, it’s essential to have a solid product development plan in place that takes into account all the variables that come with creating a physical product. You need to have a clear idea of your target market, production costs, and a plan for distribution. You also need to be able to iterate quickly based on feedback from customers and be willing to make changes as needed.
One example of a company that has done this well is Peloton. They started with a basic exercise bike and have continued to iterate on their product, adding features like a touchscreen display and live classes. This has allowed them to create a product that meets the needs of their customers while continuing to improve and innovate.