Hardware product development

Blog also posted at our company website.

There has been series of delays in our product release, we thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know what is happening and how our journey has been so far. We are really close to the finish.

When we first believed in the Track Every Coin idea, we started prototyping it.

We bought some ready-made, off the shelf LCD displays. These displays were just numeric displays, so one had to select the category from the list given. Never the less we were able to enter the expenditure and categorize it too. The system would talk to a computer through USB and transfer all the data successfully. And yes… the product was HUGE! 😀

After this we decided to work on the LCD part a little more.

We got rid of the numeric display and got an LCD which can display numbers and text at the same time. This gave us options for many more features like someone owes you, you share a trip with a friend, track reimbursements, etc.

After this we further worked on the size of the PCB and finally reached a small size of the PCB.

We got our first plastic prototyped and now working on reducing the form factor and making it smaller and sleeker. After that we have to think of some colors and some cool graphics on it.

Here is the rough size of the device with two buttons on top. The final size will go down further.

The experience has been great so far and all of us are really excited to bring this product our for everyone to use. We are hoping the product will help everyone to get financially organized and “Track Every Coin“.

Coming soon – New product – Track Every Coin

It has been almost an year since we quit our regular jobs and have been working on our new product TrackEveryCoin. The product will be out in July 2009.

This is a pre-launch site, we are letting everyone know what the product is all about and we request everyone to signup if they are interested in the product. This will help us to be better prepared when we launch.

Track every coin is a personal financial tool that will help you get organized in your financial life. If you ever thought you had no idea how much you were spending per month, what were you spending it on, or how much is your saving, then this product is for you. It also helps you do a lot more than tracking your expenditure, like goal setting, reminders, sharing, events etc.

We appreciate it if you blog about it, tweet about it, let all your friends know about it. Let people know that such a product is going to come soon to solve their financial management problem and help them.

Pre-book the product to get special offers when we launch it. 🙂

Please visit: www.trackeverycoin.com

Having the right thing Vs Doing the right thing

 

Should you have the perfect business model to become success?

Should people like your product before you launch it?

Should everything be perfect before you think about starting a venture?

 

Here are my thoughts on this, please feel free to comment on it or add your own views.

1. Idea

It is not important to have the right idea. It is important how you execute it. As engineers we always focus on the idea, we wait till we get the best idea and then think about jumping into it. I feel that should not be the case. Even if you have a simple idea and you think you can do it better, then you should jump into it. Consider the case of Cane-O-LA, all they do is make sugarcane juice. The idea is so simple, people made sugarcane juice for years. But still we have a whole new venture out there with sugarcane juice!

2. Design

Once you have selected your idea, focus on getting the best design. When we are making a product you should not neglect the design. “First impression is the best impression”. You could have the most useful product but if the look and feel is not good, then it is hard for people to get started with it. Good design will help you overcome people’s resistance for trying a new product.

3. Engineering

For most of us this is our domain. Lets make no mistake here. Finally we are building our own product. It is time to bring the passion out. Make sure everything in the product goes well. Give your best here. There is no manager’s pressure to just finish the work. Give your best you can’t go wrong.

4. Packaging

We have learnt the hard way here. We have done repacking of ION, USB Charger. Never compromise on the packaging. Different things that can be done here. 1. To do what everyone else is doing. Follow a standard packing. 2. Make something totally different. But understand the minimum requirement of your product packaging. Eg: If you are a small electronic product make sure you have provision to hang the product.

5. Sales

Lot of times people will say no one will buy your product. I don’t believe in this. No one will buy your product if you don’t know how to sell it. The key is to sell it right. You need a good sales person if your product is bad or your pricing is bad. But for a good sales person it doesn’t matter. Again if you have screwed up in the above 4, then make sure to get the best sales person. 

Conclusion:

It does not matter if you have the perfect things to start or not. It is ok if you are not able to prove in the beginning that people will like your product or not. Just make sure you keep your passion together and do the right things. Things will fall into place!

How to handle new ideas?

Often in companies we always hear about new ideas. If you are brain-storming for an idea there are many ideas tossed around, how do you develop all these ideas? How do you make sure there is no ego conflict of ideas?

Here in this post I have put down my thoughts about new ideas and how one can manage it and develop these ideas in a team.

1. Never criticize: 

It is very important to listen to what the other person has to say. Hear the idea out completely. DO NOT critic it. Not matter what you think of the idea DO NOT put it down. A person must have put in a lot of effort/courage to talk about it. The culture of thinking new ideas is good. If you criticize all the ideas, all the time, he/she will not come up with new ideas anymore.

2. If you can’t appreciate it, improve it: 

This one is my favorite. When you hear to an idea and you don’t like it, most of the time we want to put the idea down. We say “No it is not a good idea”. “It will not work”. “That is a bad idea”. Instead of putting out these negative thoughts, think about why do you think it will not work, and find out for your self how you can address it to make it work. It doesn’t matter if you cannot come up with a solution to fix it, throw it out there, may be someone else will think in the same direction and fix it.

3. Always complement good ideas:

It is important to complement good ideas and good thought flows in a discussion. This helps people to think better. When a persons idea is appreciated he comes up with better ideas.

4. The EGO

This is the worst nightmare of ideas. Most ideas are shot down because of personal egos. The big question is, How do you handle this. i.e. If you have an ego clash with someone in the team and he/she gives a great idea, don’t think about criticizing the idea or ways to put the idea down. Instead detach the idea from the person and imagine the idea being out there. Now develop it! 

 

After all an idea is like a seed, waiting to be nurtured and taken care to become the a big tree one day!

I wished most VCs thought this way 😉

Last day at Continental

Today was my last day at Continental. This has been a very short stay in a company for me, but I had to make a move now. I had realized that there was no point in working on something that you are not passionate about. If earning a pay check at the end of a month is not my motive in life I shouldn’t be doing that for the heck of it. I shouldn’t be going to work every day dreaming of the day I would make the move to start our own company.

I’m headed back to Bangalore, India to work for my dream company 😉 The company we always wanted to start. Some of my reason to start our own venture:

  • To get a feel for working for yourself.
  • To get a feel for hard work.
  • To get a feel for creating jobs for others.
  • To truly love the company you work for.
  • To get a feel for being responsible for what you create.

As of today I have no idea how things will fall into place, but I’m really excited about the fact that we will work towards making things fall into place.

Relaunch of ion – next generation ipod charger

We have re-launched ion. It took us a lot of time to get it up and running again. But with a lot of patience and following up of things we have done it again. I would like to congratulate the team for it.

ion2

In any start-up I feel it is very important not to loose hope and stop. There are many times we feel so low about things not moving, or doubting our self, our ideas, if they are good enough to make it big. But the key is to believe in the idea and execute it, make it work. It is also very important to have couple of like minded people to keep each other motivated.

The ion is our first baby. We have lots more to come and we believe in it.

Why do we think ion is a good product?

  • We will not need multiple chargers anymore, as all devices are USB powered in the future.
  • It is small and compact.
  • It works anywhere in the world.
  • I know for sure my ipod is safe charging through The ion.

As for me, I’m right now in Detroit, Michigan and counting my days to move back to Bangalore on July 1st to pursue my dreams. 🙂