Our (Mini) Recap of HardwareCon

It’s been a couple weeks since our team visit to sunny Palo Alto, CA, the site of this year’s HardwareCon (appropriately held at the Computer History Museum) and, wow, we are still catching up with contacts, potential partners, and some of the most interesting entrepreneurs and startups of 2019!

Didn’t make it out to HardwareCon this year? Don’t worry, we’ve got a quick recap for you!

Our Favorite Talks

Leveraging Diversity to Build Sustainable Businesses

Speakers: Deborah Acosta (CEO, WeAccel), Jewell Sparks (Founder, BiTHOUSE Group), Joselle Deocampo-Gautam (New Product Innovation Portfolio Lead, LinkedIn), Stefani Pellinen-Chavez (COO, Ivaldi Group), Greg Fisher (Founder, HardwareCon)

The Highlights:

  • When interviewing candidates for a position, don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions! How a candidate reacts to complex questions is an invaluable tool for gauging their ability to use creative problem solving!
  • When building a team, focus on collective strengths and how they compliment each other, as opposed to worrying about weaknesses. The strengths are what will make the team flourish, weaknesses can be brought up through training.
  • There are downsides to the status quo! Especially with hiring. Get rid of requirements. Lots of people who are “qualified” are hobbyists!

Don’t always assume experience equates to talent!

The Unknown Unknowns That Can Kill Your Startup

Speakers: Bob Thompson (CEO, Savvy Print Solutions), Daniel Price (CEO, Breadware), Kellan O’Conner (Co-founder and CRO, Dura Labs), and Dan Radomski (Director, LTU Collaboratory)

The Highlights:

  • In terms of fundraising, under promise and over deliver––always include a buffer, especially when reporting numbers. You’ll thank yourself down the line.
  • Invest time and resources into establishing a centralized system as soon as possible! Centralized systems help keep important information available and streamlined instead of spread out across multiple platforms. Also saves time when on-boarding new staff!
  • Regarding supply chain solutions, don’t commit to one supplier for a key component! If they go out of business, or there’s a disruption in sourcing of raw materials, it could take months to resupply, leaving you high and dry and (more importantly) burning cash...
  • Anytime a CM (contract manufacturer) is doing work that you haven’t contracted, they now own that!! So pay for it and have that in writing!

Opportunities to Innovate in the New Frontier of Space Tech

Speakers: Kris Kimel (Co-founder and Chairman, Space Tango), Mat Kaplan (Host and Producer, The Planetary Society), Andres Martinez (Program Executive, NASA), and Austin Jordan (Communications Manager, Made in Space)

The Highlights:

  • NASA isn’t the only big player in space tech! Today, federally funded and sponsored programs have given way to private sector companies such as SpaceX to lead innovative projects in space!
  • Space Tango’s experiments with bio-engineering plants in OG environments has yielded in some fascinating results––without gravity, lifeforms evolve very drastically!
  • Did you know we’re launching hemp into space to bio-engineer for cancer research? Nope. Us either.

Notable Booths

Breadware

Representatives: Daniel Price (CEO), Larry Carpo (VP of Business Development)

The Pitch:

  • “Breadware strives to be a trusted guide through IoT product development by providing access to information, tools, resources, and best-in-class vendors in order to maximize success for our customers.”

Our Take:

  • In the blink of an eye, products have changed drastically in the world of IoT, and product development has to keep pace at breakneck speeds––if you’re looking into developing IoT products, Breadware is your IoT resource!
  • Also, kudos to CEO Daniel Price’s astonishing memory! He remembered us from CES back in January, and it was great catching up!

Savvy Print Solutions

Representatives: Bob Thompson (CEO)

The Pitch:

  • “You dream it. We give it wings. Looking for fresh and innovative solutions for your print, packaging, product or display project? San Francisco Bay Area-based SAVVY delivers!”

Our Take:

  • Look, at some point, every new product or service will need to market themselves––that means undergoing the laborious task of designing printed materials, displays for conventions and expos, product packaging, and even cool stickers to help promote brand awareness. The quality of your product is directly correlated to how you package and market it, and Savvy Print understands how to make you pop among a sea of competitors.
  • CEO Bob Thompson was a genuine pleasure to chat with, and we love his take on how to market your product in a way that comes across as sleek and modern, yet intuitive and approachable all at the same time!

ThrowMotion

Representatives: Aditya Dayal (Founder and CEO)

The Pitch:

  • “We bring the excitement of world sports...home. Recreate the drama of world-class cricket, soccer, and baseball through ThrowMotion’s network of web-connected table games.

Our Take:

  • Being one of two interactive sports-related displays at HardwareCon, we HAD to check this one out! CEO and Founder Aditya Dayal has a genuine passion for cricket and loved teaching us newbies the rules of the game!
  • ThrowMotion is the ideal recreational game for the office! It’s super quiet and keeps a digital record of all your personal stats (total score, strikeouts, etc) for bragging rights. Aditya also mentioned that there’s a customers somewhere out there with several thousand more hits than him––and he’s the inventor!

Shoutouts!

Valerie Song of AVA Technologies/AVA Smart Garden
  • Female founder and winner of the West Coast Hardware Cup Competition! Congrats!
  • Good luck at the International Finals on May 15! (#hwcup2019)

Joel Ifill of DASH Systems, Inc.
  • The DASHing (haha, see what we did there?) Semi Finalist of the West Coast Hardware Cup Competition!
  • Something noteworthy to mention: During some recent flood routes in North Carolina, the local sheriff's department asked Joel’s company to use their drone footage, since their intel was more up to date. Impressive!

Eric Bennett of Frontier Bio (center, black shirt with hands in pockets)
  • Founder and Semi Finalist of HardwareCon’s West Coast Hardware Cup Competition!
  • 3D Printing is all the rage, and Frontier Bio is successfully creating live cell tissues without any rejection. Organ printing is in our near future!

Looking forward to the next big tech convention! If you’d like a shoutout on our next recap, contact us to book an appointment for an interview at our next event!

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