Note from the guest author Martin Kessler: After reading Cedric Delzenne’s guest post on the lessons he learnt as a first time founder, I felt inspired to write something about my own learnings. Over two years at Phonejoy had left me with plenty of hardware development and manufacturing lessons to draw from. I hope that with my post I can help other hardware-focused entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and around to learn from my experience.
With Phonejoy, I went for the first time through the whole cycle of developing a concept, building prototypes, setting up a production line to delivering our Phonejoy game controllers to consumers. It was an agonising and long process for us that had been filled with long delays. When mentoring at the Founder Institute, an aspiring entrepreneur asked me how we were able to go on after experiencing so many setbacks. It took us a lot of persistence and looking back at our experience it could have been much much easier.
1. It Takes Planning & Expertise
Hardware is hard, and slow, and complicated. It requires lining up lots of moving pieces, and unlike with software it cannot be all done by two guys with MacBooks. Ironically this is almost how we first started Phonejoy. Our founder team, at first did not expect all the challenges a hardware startup faces.
In fact, in the beginning we just started building. We hired contractors where we could not excel with our own skillset. Along the way we learnt most of the development and manufacturing processes. It is needless to say that this procedure created a number of schedule and cost issues for us.