Manufacturing is changing with us

Back in 2004 I wrote Bill Gates a letter telling him how to compete with the iPod. I said to design it in public view with everyone’s help. I was called a massive idiot back then.

It has totally shocked me that more companies haven’t taken my advice. This weekend shows that things are changing and that my advice in 2004 is now being heeded.

1. Bug Labs is working with famous design firm IDEO and is designing its UI in public eye. VC Fred Wilson reported that on his blog this weekend.

2. TechCrunch is designing a Tablet PC for less than $300. Mike Arrington gave a report on that this morning.

This is huge and is only going to get bigger. Thanks to companies like PCH in Shenzhen, China, and Twitter and friendfeed (where you can have conversations with thousands of people in live time) we’re going to see new companies spring up and design products and build brands.

Is Techcrunch a blog anymore? Or did it just become a consumer electronics brand?

Or, even better, if you read my comment over on TechCrunch maybe TechCrunch isn’t a brand at all. Maybe they’ll charge you to put YOUR brand on the Tablet PC.

After all, you can already get camcorders with your own image on them (Jeremy Toeman showed me his and it’s very cool) so why not get your own brand on everything?

86 thoughts on “Manufacturing is changing with us

  1. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  2. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  3. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  4. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  5. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  6. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  7. Hi Robert,

    I am currently working with a client on their website. They are into lean manufacturing and had no web presence until this past week. Their site (http://micronmfg.net) is in it’s infancy, but the first thing they asked is how can this help us better serve existing clients.

    Their product (they really don’t make end products, but rather components for others) is much different than the “electronic” things you are discussing above, and yet I think that the principles will apply in their industry as well. They make very small metal and plastic parts, but they try to listen carefully to their customers and often suggest ways that they can manufacturer a part with the same results but at lower cost to the client.

    So give me some ideas Robert, what can they do with their web presence that will help others help themselves. It won’t take them four years to act on your advice.

  8. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  9. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  10. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  11. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  12. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  13. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  14. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  15. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  16. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  17. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  18. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  19. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  20. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  21. One doesn’t design breakthrough, highly-desireable, highly-competitive products by counting noses.

    Do you really think the iPhone was the result of a design-by-committee process?

  22. You’re naivety is amazing. Not a single TechCrunch tablet has been sold and BugLabs is hardly a household name yet you’re already making proclamations about the state of manufacturing.

    Do you realize how thin margins are in the hardware manufacturing business? Have you any guess as to how many tablets Arrington will need to sell to have a viable enterprise? Have you paid any attention to the dwindling demand that is hitting chipmakers? Are you aware of the consolidation that will likely take place because of the economic environment?

    Of course not.

    Get a clue Robert. Tens of thousands of new physical products are “invented” every year. Most fail and very few go on to create the foundations for new consumer brands. You need to wake up. Nothing is changing. You’re just getting more ignorant.

  23. You’re naivety is amazing. Not a single TechCrunch tablet has been sold and BugLabs is hardly a household name yet you’re already making proclamations about the state of manufacturing.

    Do you realize how thin margins are in the hardware manufacturing business? Have you any guess as to how many tablets Arrington will need to sell to have a viable enterprise? Have you paid any attention to the dwindling demand that is hitting chipmakers? Are you aware of the consolidation that will likely take place because of the economic environment?

    Of course not.

    Get a clue Robert. Tens of thousands of new physical products are “invented” every year. Most fail and very few go on to create the foundations for new consumer brands. You need to wake up. Nothing is changing. You’re just getting more ignorant.

  24. Another data point that supports you:

    The Pandora open gaming handheld is a cross between a tiny netbook and a Nintendo DS. It was designed, specced built by the members of the retro, emulated and homebrew game community. Similar to some musicians’ recent strategies, they actually sold-out the first run of 4,000 copies before anyone had even seen a dev-unit. Interesting times.

    For more info, see: http://www.openpandora.org/

    I like the CrunchPad but I feel their focus on Flash-delivered video probably ruled out ARM chips with the attendant impact on size, heat and battery life.

    Adobe are working on this, but I’m not sure where they are with it.

    http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/200811/111708ARMAdobeFlash.html

  25. Another data point that supports you:

    The Pandora open gaming handheld is a cross between a tiny netbook and a Nintendo DS. It was designed, specced built by the members of the retro, emulated and homebrew game community. Similar to some musicians’ recent strategies, they actually sold-out the first run of 4,000 copies before anyone had even seen a dev-unit. Interesting times.

    For more info, see: http://www.openpandora.org/

    I like the CrunchPad but I feel their focus on Flash-delivered video probably ruled out ARM chips with the attendant impact on size, heat and battery life.

    Adobe are working on this, but I’m not sure where they are with it.

    http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/200811/111708ARMAdobeFlash.html

  26. Putting your ‘brand’ on something is ridiculous. It lowers the value of the item instantly. Who is going to want to buy that from you when you’re done with your logo all over it? This reminds me of those iPod engraving services. Who would want to buy a used iPod with someone else’s name on it? Just sell a pack of stickers with that laptop or ipod and move along.

  27. Putting your ‘brand’ on something is ridiculous. It lowers the value of the item instantly. Who is going to want to buy that from you when you’re done with your logo all over it? This reminds me of those iPod engraving services. Who would want to buy a used iPod with someone else’s name on it? Just sell a pack of stickers with that laptop or ipod and move along.

  28. I think TechCrunch just became a consumer electronics company. Arrington will need a slogan and a wardrobe for the CrunchWorld product expo’s.

  29. I think TechCrunch just became a consumer electronics company. Arrington will need a slogan and a wardrobe for the CrunchWorld product expo’s.

  30. I think TechCrunch just became a consumer electronics company. Arrington will need a slogan and a wardrobe for the CrunchWorld product expo’s.

  31. I think TechCrunch just became a consumer electronics company. Arrington will need a slogan and a wardrobe for the CrunchWorld product expo’s.

  32. I think TechCrunch just became a consumer electronics company. Arrington will need a slogan and a wardrobe for the CrunchWorld product expo’s.

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