How to test and assess demand for hardware products before you crank up the factory

Building real-life, tangible objects that you can touch is far more risky than developing software. Once you’ve created 10,000 thingamajigs, it’s much harder to change them than in the software world, where you can push an update if you want to tweak something.

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

Last week, when I wrote about’s $1.5 million funding round, I asked company founder Narek Vardanyan what the biggest pitfalls in hardware development were.

Measuring the right users

To truly understand what your customers want, Vardanyan recommends studying what your potential customers actually do, not what they’re going to do.

In an ideal world, this means getting them to buy or at least stock up on your product. “Yes, I will buy this thing.”

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


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