10 tips for risk-free hardware products

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How to test and evaluate the demand for hardware products before adding to the factory

Producing real-life, tangible things you can touch is often more risky than creating software. Once you’ve created 10,000 object amajigs, it’s much harder to make changes to them than in the software world where you can make modifications if you want to fix something.

In the manufacturing world, the question is: How can I make sure I’m building the right thing for the right audience?

When I wrote about Prelaunch.com’s $1.5 million fundraising last week, I asked company founder Narek Vardanian what he thought were the biggest pitfalls in hardware development.

Measure the actual users

To understand exactly what your customers want, Vardanian recommends studying what your potential customers are, not what you say you do.

In an ideal world, this means getting them to buy or at least put down a deposit for your product. A genuine purchase idea is worth more than someone simply saying, “Yeah, I was going to buy this.”

You need to make decisions based on the actual behavior of people. You have to make sure the data you’re tracking is from the right types of people.” Vardanyan said. “Working with investors is like a filter: you only get people who want to risk their money. In other words, your potential customers.

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