From Zombie to Unicorn; make sure you know what you are.
Everybody seems to agree that it’s never been easier to start a hardware company than it is today. After years of being eclipsed by software and services, hardware is sexy again. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to be successful. Over the past few years I’ve mentored a number of startups and realised that their expectations often don’t match the reality of what they are. That doesn’t mean they can’t succeed, but it does mean that they’re probably wasting effort trying to be the wrong sort of company. There are lots of different models which can be successful, but a company is most likely to work if it knows where it is going and what it wants to be.
Hence this article. If you’re contemplating a hardware startup, or have already taken the first steps, you need to think seriously about what you want to be doing in five or ten years’ time and how you’re going to get there. It’s every bit as important as getting your product out. Recognising that gives you the best chance of achieving your goal and minimises the risk to your investors and employees – considerations which should be at the top of your priority list. It still won’t be easy, but if you can reduce some unnecessary pain by getting the right model, it will certainly be a lot less stressful. Continue →