Hardware Workshop: Exclusive Bootcamp for Hardware Startups Coming to SF, NY and Seattle

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Marc Barros, the former founder and CEO of Contour and author of some popular posts here on Hack Things is announcing Hardware Workshop, a series of 2-day events in San Francisco, New York and Seattle this fall geared towards learning about hardware startups.  The first  Hardware Workshop will take place in San Francisco on November 22nd and 23rd.

The workshop is a two day event for founders of hardware startups to help you learn how to get from an idea to market fit. The curriculum is broken up into a series of 60 minute sessions, taught by experienced hardware startup operators. This workshop goes beyond “how to crowdfund an MVP” to provide lessons applicable in building a successful hardware startup. We hope you leave the workshop with a deeper understanding of what it takes to turn your idea into a successful company.

Hardware Workshop is accepting applications here for only 75 attendees via a selection committee of industry vets. Speakers include Monisha Perkash of Lumo, Scott Miller of Dragon Innovation, Eric Klein of Lemnos Labs, Aamir Virani of Dropcam and more.  

We spoke with Marc to learn more.

Q:  What was the inspiration and motivation for holding this event?  
My motivation for starting Hardware Workshop was to give back to the next generation of hardware builders, to share lessons I wish someone had taught me when I was building Contour. When I was running Contour, there was very little support within the startup ecosystem for hardware, especially in Seattle, which has always been a software town.
I wanted to create a workshop that wasn’t just another conference, but instead a two day event with real operators teaching important subjects. The key difference is we want to focus on “teaching” and helping founders not only learn these subjects, but be able to apply them right now.
The goal is to help hardware founders turn their ideas into successful companies.
Q:  Who should attend?
These workshops are designed for anyone working on a hardware product. We welcome entrepreneurs who are still prototyping, production, shipping, and even scaling their company. The curriculum goes beyond crowdfunding your product to cover subjects you need to know if you want to turn your product into a successful startup.
Where the startup is in their lifecycle isn’t important, what’s really important is that the people attending are working on a real product. If not, the content will be a bunch of lessons they will forget because they can’t apply them today.
Q: There’s an application fee and a selection process. Can you tell us more about what you’re looking for in successful applicants?
We spent a lot of time talking about to make the event fantastic. In particular what is the right audience size, how do we get qualified attendees, and what does it take for them to fully commit. In the end we found that less than 100 makes the event more intimate and therefore more applicable for teaching. The application process enables us to better understand the audience so the teachers can focus their curriculum. And the price of $50 allowed us to make the event higher quality (better location, equipment, food, etc) and makes sure people show up.
Q: Who is on the selection committee?
A few of this helped to this event together and we will be the ones looking at each application. That list includes myself, Adam Ellsworth, Michael Guerin, Erik Kaz, Robert Han.
The selection process is really just looking for people who are working on a real product/project and are excited to attend. We aren’t judging what people are working on, just want to make sure they are actually building hardware.
Q:  When is the deadline to apply?
ASAP. We didn’t set a deadline, but will be accepting applications and accepting as we go along. We want to give people enough time to attend the event an we are already within three weeks of the event starting.
Q: Where does this go from here?
We are starting with San Francisco, then New York, and finally Seattle. If there is a lot of interest we could hold repeat events and/or expand to other cities. Hopefully we can get this down to a simple process and help others hold similar events. We’re excited to see the demand and people’s response to these first events!
Q: Any final thoughts you want to share with our readers?
Yes, I would like to thank the sponsors for the event. These companies continue to demonstrate their support of the hardware movement and it’d like to really thank them. From the minute we told them about the event they have been supportive in helping us with an amazing location, great food, and excellent speakers. Thank you to Astro StudiosHighway1RelianceCMFlextronicsDragon InnovationGE, and Perkins Coie.
Learn more and apply to Hardware Workshop here.
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