Printed Circuit Boards for Startups

We are on the receiving end of hundreds of start-up designs and first time entrepreneurs.  Great geeks, great engineers, and great innovators.  These are our peeps.

But it does get painful at times to walk with them down the path leading to production.  When you have never done something before, you don’t know what you don’t know, and therefore at risk. We feel the pain with you and try to head off issues as we go.

These are the five things you need to know

  1. Cost and sell target. Nail this down so that when feature creep enters the room  you are ready with bullets.

2. Supplier communication. When selecting a hardware supplier, first weed out those who are poor at communicating with you.  Whether it is language or long lapses between emails, you have enough to worry about without dealing with a sloppy or reluctant supplier.

  1. Supplier Skills.  Overkill in this area works the best, because you don’t know what you may need in the future ( see above )
  1. Get ready for this one.  Your path to glory is iterative. As crazy smart as you are, you will not get the design right the first time. Here is the process schematic:
    • Your bench proto finally works. Yea.
    • Your first factory run of 25 has 2 failures…you find a solution. 2 weeks lost.
    • Your second run of 500 finds different problems….you find a solution. 4 weeks lost.
    • Your market, having seen the actual product wants more features ( see above ). xx weeks lost
    • Your big run of 5000 has 5% failures.  Keep going or stop and fix?

The lesson here is do not peg a full production date until you are at step E. or you will lose a lot of sleep and drive wife, husband, girlfriend, investors totally bonkers.

  1. Start working on the next design as soon as the first is in production. If your product is any good, your new competitors will be inspired to knock you off.

Enjoy the ride knowing that every new product goes through these agonizing steps of getting to the money.