Heck Of A Year For Hardware
“The huge upfront investment in a new hardware project also meant that companies generally needed to conduct market research before they began building, an approach completely contrarian to the Silicon Valley notion of launching software first and then using feedback from the market to evolve a product.
Thankfully over the last decade, hardware design has become easier and more democratized. 3D printing and better software tools have accelerated the ability of many startups to build their prototypes, allowing them to speed up their product iterations. Early hardware startups now often feel like lean software businesses, with much more interactive product development, thus allowing for more rigorous analysis of product-market fit.
In the past, when it came time to manufacture a product, only the largest companies used to have access to assembly lines in places like China. Minimum order sizes were often completely unaccommodating for startups. But as competition has intensified, custom manufacturing has become easier, and labor costs have risen, manufacturers appear to be more willing to engage with smaller orders, and they have also decreased their average turnaround time, as well.”
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