Bringing a Hardware Product to Market: Navigating the Wild Ride from Concept to Mass Production

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9781505380835: Bringing a Hardware Product to Market: Navigating the Wild Ride from Concept to Mass Production

Teams developing a software product for the first time can draw on a wealth of free and readily available resources to come up to speed, learn best practices, and get their minimum viable product (MVP) to market very quickly.

Not so for teams working with hardware. The design, development and prototyping process takes longer, and is more costly than its software counterpart. Depending on the complexity of the product, iterations culminating in new physical prototypes can be measured in weeks or months, not days. User testing needs to be tightly planned and coordinated with the prototyping schedule. Business model testing is much harder than software products due to regulatory compliance requirements. There is also much less available information to help new teams navigate these unfamiliar waters and plan for success.

This book levels the playing field for hardware teams by providing a concise and practical roadmap that helps teams navigate the path to bring a hardware product from concept to production. Teams will be able to accelerate product development by building knowledge in the following areas:

  • Understand the steps to bring a hardware product with integrated software components to market
  • Get practical tips on how to execute each step while saving time and money
  • Use primary market research to ensure the right product is built for the right customers
  • Manage the transition to manufacturing and operations to produce a quality product
  • Build a high performing cross-functional team to speed time to market

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About the Author:

Elaine is a seasoned product strategist and engineering executive with a rich background in engineering and product development in startup settings.  She is currently the Founder and Managing Director of ConceptSpring, which provides strategic product development consulting services to executives and leaders of product teams.  

Elaine has served at the VP level in engineering and product management at several startups, including Rethink Robotics, Zeo, Zeemote and SensAble Technologies.  She is also a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she teaches entrepreneurship, primary market research, and leadership development.


"Elaine has taken her broad experience and boiled it down to a practical roadmap that can help a new hardware entrepreneur know what to expect and to plan for success. It has lots of wisdom from experience and it brings this to the reader in a very practical and useful manner. An extremely valuable read for the hardware entrepreneur."
- Bill Aulet, Managing Director and Senior Lecturer, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship; Author, "Disciplined Entrepreneurship"

"Elaine Chen brings lessons from years of leadership building hardware to help the rest of us avoid the most common pitfalls hardware startups face. Hardware takes longer, is less flexible to develop and mistakes are difficult to correct. Learning from Elaine's experience, readers will take away practical techniques that she's used to successfully build wireless controllers, quantified self wearables, and industrial robots."
- Eric Paley, Founder and Managing Partner, Founder Collective

"Most first-time hardware entrepreneurs view product development as two steps: prototype then manufacture. Elaine does a superb job of breaking down this false pretense and exposing the complex, multifaceted approach to building great hardware products with a small team. There aren't many books out there that provide practical help for hardware startups; this one is surely a must-read for any aspiring hardware founder."
- Ben Einstein, Managing Partner, Bolt

"Elaine draws on years of experience to provide a clear and concise handbook for companies developing consumer electronic products. In this playbook, she helps companies avoid common pitfalls and navigate the challenges of bringing new hardware products to life. It's a must read for both first time hardware entrepreneurs as well as seasoned veterans who want to fill in gaps in their experience."
- Scott Miller, Founder and CEO, Dragon Innovation; Partner, Bolt

"Most hardware entrepreneurs have experience in software. And software entrepreneurs have been spoiled. With agile, lean, and modern platforms- software moves fast. Zuck's moto of move fast and break things works with software. Hardware is a completely different beast. Breaking things equals expensive recalls! And customers have high expectations for product quality even from first generation products. Elaine cogently lays out how to build hardware. This is a guide that anyone transitioning from software to hardware should keep close!"
- Ben Rubin, Founder and CEO, Change Collective

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