What It Means To Be A Product

We’re not giving away a prize. We’re making it your priority to share hard-earned knowledge. On August 17th we’ll start testing the Best Products. Ten will be recognized as finalists, one will be awarded $100,000 but everyone will benefit.

We want to highlight a set of amazing products. These are well-built designs that deserve recognition for doing the extra 90% of work involved in designing for production. This has not traditionally been the fun or sexy part of product development, but that will change.

What does it mean to be a product? Engineering something to be manufactured and sold is a different ball game compared to going from a concept to a working prototype. This is often the downfall of the crowd funding campaign. You were prepared to hammer out 100 units with your friends in someone’s basement. Oops, you now have 1400 backers and have overshot the point at which your plans could work. If properly engineered, a product can be scaled without completely redesigning it.

This is where we are right now. The barriers for having a professionally fabbed PCB made are completely non-existant. But the barriers for making that small-run PCB proof-of-concept into a product are still formidable. We’re changing that and you’re the key to it all. It starts by sharing great examples of how these problems are being overcome. Start-ups should be leading the way, pollinating this information by talking about your experience, your ideas, and your vision.

Write about your successes, failures, and solutions. Show us what happened during the evolution of your product and secure the title of Best Product.

[Photo Credit: Hilmers Studios Technical Illustrations]


Submit your entry for Best Product before 8/17/15. Don’t forget to opt-in for best product by using the “Submit-to Best Product” option on the left sidebar of your project page. Qualifying entries which have sent in three working beta-test units by the entry deadline will be considered for the Best Product prizes. See the entries so far and drop into our live chat at 6:00 PDT Today.

13 thoughts on “What It Means To Be A Product

  1. Somewhat tangential comment, but if all of these contests and promotions that have happening over the past year or so are a result of the SupplyFrame HaD purchase 2 years ago, then I’m impressed. It really feels like HaD has redoubled their focus on promoting and advancing the makerspace/hackerspace community and now has the financial backing and more importantly desire of said backing to do so. Kudos!

    1. Yeah I would 100% get behind this comment – I’ve noticed the same thing. It’s a rather beautiful, forceful encouragement that we not forget how to do this or what we can do with it; keeping everyone interested and in the game means we never become obsolete.

  2. When given time estimates from vendors, double them. When given money estimates from vendors, raise your expectation by at least 50%. We just completed our 4th fuel tank mold… only about a year late. Every step of the way, every stage, the project fought back with problems we haven’t seen before. Even getting into production, there have been 3 mods needed to help the plant run the tool.

  3. You know, as a young hacker/maker still high school I love seeing this stuff. I have all sorts of idea swirling in my head about potential products and inventions. I have even spent the last year prototyping one of them on and off, and will start working on another idea soon too. Last year I even participated in a program called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, and left with an officially registered business! Since then, it sadly did not work out.

    It’s just the final leap that comes with taking a prototype, and making it into a product that is the real kicker.

    Keep up all this awesome stuff HaD, it really does have a profound impact on people all around the world.

    1. In the pre kickstarter days, 9 out of 10 businesses and product ideas failed. If you managed to get just one of those failures accomplished before the end of high school, you are way ahead of the game ;)

      And yes. Failure IS an accomplishment.

      1. Agree with mre.

        Even though it looks like a problem, if you think hard about the individual steps of the process, you can see what worked and what didn’t, then learn from that and go at it again with the needed changes in the process.

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