A panel of makers spill the tips and tricks of the hardware trade

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To close out Structure Connect 2014, a group of six founders and experts in the hardware industry took to the stage to field questions from the audience. From picking the right factory for production to overcoming the stick price shock of getting their product to market, Phil Bosua from LIFX, Gilles Bouchard from Livescribe, Bettina Chen from Roominate, Peter Hoddie from Marvell Semiconductor, Jason Johnson of August Smart Lock, and Christina Mercando of Ringly all offered their tips, tricks, and tales from the trade.

Here were some of the best quotes from the session:

How to develop a product when you’re straddling three sectors: Hardware, software, and mobile apps

Peter Hoddie, Marvell Semiconductor: For us it was a lot about prototyping. We would do things like sketch based prototyping, draw pictures and put them in front of people.

Christina Mercando, Ringly: We build the iPhone app before we had any hardware — that allowed us to create the end user experience.

Jason Johnson, August: We took a service approach. This will be used in someone’s home…What does that look like in an everyday experience? [We thought about that] before thinking about the hardware and the software.”

On the miracle of crowdfunding

Jason Johnson, August: Find your unfair advantage: Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great tools, or maybe your cousin works at Walmart. Find an avenue to get you going, get you some momentum, and use that money to make it work.

Peter Hoddie, Marvell Semiconductor: Something to show on video is a big deal. It’s become such an expected tool for people to learn about your product.

Christina Mercando, Ringly: Crowdfunding opens so many doors. As soon as you can prove people want it retailers come to you.

Managing your (totally unrealistic) cost expectations and evolving your product roadmap

Jason Johnson, August: I wish we had better news…It’s a very expensive business to be in. There’s a lot that goes into bringing a product to market.

Gilles Bouchard, Livescribe: Once you’re in the market it’s amazing how much data you get from social channels.. It’s very expensive to do beta tests but once you’re in the market you get feedback.

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