I can’t believe its been a year already!
Last September, Steve and I were chatting on Skype, it was probably one of our standing twice-a-week sync up calls. And if I had to guess, we were chatting about my progress and his wrap-up at work; about the cool features we could someday build, and the tidbits of market validation we had found. It was very big sky. Insanely positive, and hopelessly optimistic. I loved those calls. Those early days. Anyway, this particular call was pretty special, because we had just found out that THREE HUNDRED people PAID to get together in New York to chat about something they were starting to call Open Source Hardware. Something that had never existed before, was badly in need of tools, and based on the concept of collaboration, reuse, and sharing.
If you know our history, you know that we started Upverter very much to solve our own problems. We weren’t really sure if anyone else cared. We weren’t really sure where it was gonna go, or if we could ever turn it into a business. More than once we figured we would need to give up on the dream and learn how to build a mobile app instead. haha. But we took baby steps forward, all the while looking for validation, and we continued to find enough that we just kept on going. And here we are, a year later, and this time around there are as many as a thousand people showing up, including us.
At Upverter we are trying to become the platform for collaboration on electronics, and the aggregation point for hardware on the web. It’s ambitious. But we are humble enough to know that it all starts with making things a little bit better, and building something people want. In this case, a community of Open Source Hardware pioneers who desperately need a way to work together. And so we’re here, trying to figure out how close we are, hoping that we have solved part of the problem, and eager to get started on the rest of it.
And, in that vein, I have questions, questions I hope will start a discussion that will enable us to build answers. I’ve tried to keep the list short for now, so here goes:
- Why are there no large or distributed open source hardware projects?
- What does collaborating on a hardware project mean?
- How important is ownership?
- What is the most painful part of your design workflow?
- Could it be crowd-sourced?
We are here, in New York, at the Summit, hoping to begin asking these very questions.