10 tips to reduce the risks associated with hardware products

How to test and assess the demand for material products before starting the factory

Making real, tangible objects that you can touch is often much more risky than developing software. Once you’ve created 10,000 things, it’s much harder to change them than in the software world, where you can push an update if you want to change something.

In the manufacturing world, then, the question is, how do I make sure I’m building the right thing for the right audience?

Last week, when writing about Prelaunch.com’s $1.5 million fundraiser, I asked the company’s founder, Narek Vardanyan, what he thought were the biggest pitfalls of the hardware development.

Measure the right users

To truly understand what your customers want, Vardanyan recommends studying what your potential customers actually do, not what they say they’re going to do.

In an ideal world, that means getting them to buy or at least put down a deposit for your product. Actual purchase intent is more valuable than someone just saying, “Yeah, I would buy that thing.”

“You have to make decisions based on the actual behavior of people. You need to make sure that the data you track comes from the right kinds of people,” Vardanyan said. “Working with people who deposit money acts like a filter: you only keep people who really want to risk their money. In other words, your potential customers.


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