Book: The Lean Startup

I’m halfway through the book The Lean Startup by IT entrepreneur Eric Ries. He applies the popular “Lean” concept to the discipline of starting and growing a company, something that peaks my own interest.

The idea is to avoid wasting effort on misdirected ideas by making reality checks early and often. A perfectly created product is still worthless if it turns out no-one wants such a product. Almost worthless — you have now gained valuable information about the market and that is in fact the goal of the start-up enterprise. But that wisdom could have been won cheaper than through a full development cycle and a wasted product.

Go check the real reviews, the web site or the book itself for more information.

Just a few taglines that stuck with me so far; Every start-up has a number of leaps of faith. Assumptions are best tested by “go and see for yourself”. This might be very easy with some ingenuity! Validated learning is the goal of a start-up. The relevant metric of the endurance of a start-up is not time or money, but the number of strategy pivots the start-up still has room for.

Bluetooth adapter teardown

Researching Bluetooth modules, it’s evident how darn expensive they are. $30 and up, usually. This is for small quantities but the regular stores don’t give a reasonable price even for larger quantities. I did find the aptly named Wireless Bluetooth RS232 TTL Transciever Module at DealExtreme for $6.60 (free shipping, of course). I haven’t got around to evaluate it yet.

But I also noticed these mini Bluetooth USB adapters for ridiculously low prices. DealExtreme has one for $1.80. I got two from eBay for $3.50 plus shipping. How can a retail product sell for so low compared to the main component inside??

Anyway. The dongle was easy to pry apart. It contains a bunch of 0402 passives, a BT chip, probably a USB interface chip and a SOT23 voltage regulator. On the top side, a single LED and through-hole 16MHz(?) crystal. Then I realized I wasn’t the first to take one apart: http://www.sparkfun.com/news/282

Then again, the dongle I got uses an entirely different circuit…

On private projects

Today I stumbled across the animation short “The Passenger” on YouTube. An Australian animator spent eight years of his life and all of his private savings to complete the project. He described the process on his site. It’s an interesting read of a man who pursues his creative vision, determined to do it all himself and never compromise. I can identify with the strive to realize ideas , but it’s also a lesson to keep the scope within the manageable. With electronic devices, time to market can also be essential. As he points out:

“During the making of this film, A Star Wars trilogy, a Lord Of The Rings trilogy and a Harry Potter trilogy were made (not by me).”

Another project with undefined time schedule that comes to mind is Duke Nukem Forever

After one week

How’s the first full-time working week been?

I’ve enjoyed it and small tasks that I haven’t got around to fix for months are slowly being resolved. I’m learning more about different components and the industry. On the other hand:

  • Time spent on circuit board CAD: zero
  • Time spent on programming: zero

In spite of this, I’ve been occupied pretty much the whole time. Getting bored from oceans of free time seems remote. Actually I’m almost as stressed over all things planned as before. Staying occupied is easy; but is the time well spent? That’s something I’ve started to ask myself.

Heltia

Måndag 16 april: På besök hos elektronikmontering Heltia i Linghem. Mycket intressant att se hur de jobbar och vad man bör tänka på vid elektronikkonstruktion. Om kortet är svårt att montera kan hela produkten bli omöjlig att sälja.