I have ambivalent feelings about physical hardware. Most of my working life has been spent in pure software businesses, and there’s a lot to be said for software products: it costs nothing to store them, nothing (or very little ) to ship them, and you don’t have to spend a bunch of money (and time) up front to create stock to sell (which is a cash flow nightmare). But on the other hand, you can pick up hardware and hold it: it’s an actual tangible physical thing, and nothing makes you more aware that you have a real product company than to the see the first batch of “your stuff” sitting there.
Our first delivery of Kraydel PCBs arrived today. Of course we’ve had hardware for a while, but it was mostly other people’s hardware that we were plugging together, whereas this is the stuff that we designed for our specific purposes. It’s not the final version of things – there’s more functionality to add and we’ll have to iterate the design a few times as we learn from the imminent trials, but it’s an exciting moment.
You probably have to be pretty geeky to think that it looks cool. But we are indeed geeks and it looks beautiful to us.
The only thing better than picking up and admiring your own product, is to watch someone else pick it up and admire it. The picking up part will happen in a couple of weeks. The admiration may take a little longer. We’ve known from the start that, while this is a technology company, we’ll only have succeeded if the technology is all but invisible. This has to be a product that doesn’t intimidate, scare or confuse the elderly and other technophobes. The real beauty will lie in its simplicity and ease of use, and we won’t be the judges of that – it will be judged by a much more challenging and critical audience.
I expect it to be bruising – some of our ideas will be proved wrong, but for now we’re enjoying the moment.