Saving crowdfunding from destroying the hardware revolution
Before entrepreneurs rush to a crowdfunding site with dreams of glory, they should think hard about how their prototype and eventual product will scale. Here are a few steps to avoid a mess.
Remember the old days of launching a new hardware product? The process went something like this: A company would spend several years and millions of dollars in stealth mode developing a new consumer product. To validate the market and understand the feature set and price point, it relied on focus group testing and Voice of the Customer sessions, all which typically told the company what it wanted to hear and cost a lot of money.
Eventually, the market would determine whether the product was a success but at a significant capital and opportunity cost. If the reception was not as warm as expected, it was very difficult and expensive to change course. The process was both flawed and ultimately stifled innovation, yet until very recently was the standard practice to bring a new product to market.
Then the hardware revolution began.