I am currently doing some work with a budding entrepreneur looking to use drones to assess agriculture and other tasks.
They are still in the evolution stage, but I am providing technical and management support as needed to help boost them along.
They might actually be able to form a business eventually, but time will tell.
I wouldn't describe myself as an entrepreneur now, but definitely in the past. I'd certainly be interested in listening in on the group. I'd love to quit my job and start something with a mix of hardware and software, but there's nothing coming to mind right now though.
I having been doing some leg work in this direction for the last 3 years. But something concrete is yet to come out of it.
Sounds like a superb idea.
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Thanks for responding to my discussion.
What I found really interesting in the brief stories you all told is that one-size-does-not-fit-all for anyone interested in doing something entrepreneurial.
Don appears to be the furthest along. He is working with someone or for someone. He has a target industry: agriculture. They have a target product: drone. I'm not sure if he is going to be providing a drone service for agriculture or building a drone solution to sell to agriculture. Important difference and the financials could be quite different. I've seen some videos or read some stories of drones used in agriculture so my question is what would make this product/service unique? And what about need? How needed is the service in real and concrete terms? How big can this business be? It sounds regional. but I don't know.
David has some business development experience. A big plus. But he's working now and looking for something (a mix of hardware and software) to pursue. That's a pretty broad range of things. So it appears to me where he stands is a pretty common place for a lot of entrepreneurs: an issue of focusing. Writing up a business plan is one way to get focusing, albeit often a painful one! Attending a few hardware/software conferences in his area might be a good way to see what people are now doing and a chance to talk to people. I have found that a lot of businesses organically grow out of what the individual is currently doing. In other words: all business is local. That's where it begins and then it expands out under the right conditions.
S Nidhi has done some "leg work" for 3 years but nothing has materialized yet. What have you discovered from this leg work? Is there anything that sounds more realistic than other ideas? It's been my observation that people are always looking for that "disruptive product" or "killer app" that will totally change the world. But these things are rare. A good example to me is home automation: it clearly could be described as disruptive. It can change all kinds of businesses: OEMs, building contractors, architects; it is growing but it hasn't taken off so boldly that everyone is dying to have smart homes. So what is practical or realistic? Then build on that.
my few cents,
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To be precise,
I visited some tech pitching events in Northern Germany to see the real deal. We have CeBIT every year in Hannover. I participated in the CeBIT entrepreneurial workshop last year. to discuss ideas and meet some like minded people. Going to networking events in the city.
To see the business side of it all. One has to be a good talker and presenter which is clearly not my strong suite. Also to know the GDPR (new EU rules on data protection) and the legal obligations with starting a company.
In Germany the laws are a bit weird regarding startups. I am not sure how it works in other countries but in Germany income taxes are pretty high and enforced to the point.
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I have started and had several small businesses related to electro mechanical technologies over my lifetime. I am currently officially retired though I still spend many hours each day experimenting and dabbling with different aspects of electronics. I have always been market orientated but I haven't always been successful. Success has a lot to do with finding the right niche at the right time and this is often a combination of luck and inspiration. I think your idea for this group could be useful and interesting. It would be great to have element 14 showing some interest in the entrepreneurial ideas of the members. If you set it up I will follow it.
I'm currently developing the firmware for a fleet control system with some entrepeneurs. I think creating a new group is a good idea!
I would describe myself as entrepreneurial but not necessarily an entrepreneur these days - although never give up on finding the next big thing ;-). In the past I have participated in several large start-ups and would follow a new group avidly.
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This is an interesting proposal, but I can see that you will have data sharing issues if the group deals with specific information. Not sure if it is within scope to have NDAs and a private group not visible to the rest of the community. I'm currently helping a friend who is developing a server/client application for Windows and iOS (so all software). The technical stuff is well developed, but the business part is not. I guess this is typical of an engineering driven startup.
Sounds like an interesting group, and just the sort of networking help a startup needs.
While I agree with ralphjy about sharing the IP part, there are many other things that a startup needs to learn.
Marketing, Pricing, protecting their IP, supplier chains, design for manufacture, packaging, warranty, lead time, customer support, quality control, repair strategy .... etc.
Some of these may break a startup right after they think they're doing well.
So the ability to reachout or network and gain information might be one of the benefits where the NDA is not required, it can make a world of difference.
I recall some very useful advice we got way back when two of us were working for ourselves doing repairs.
1. Never ring the customer the moment you fixed it, as that may establish the time it took for a repair ... in some cases the charge was more than a couple of hours work.
2. Always include a small misc charge to cover incidental materials, cleaning products, etc ... we were doing a few pcb repairs, so it was necessary.
Just these two items helped with the number of small jobs we were doing that weren't really paying the bills.
Please count me in as well.
I am interested
This is really a good, great idea. Seriously. As you probably know I am - maybe - a lot of things, mostly an engineer, by past June working in AI and computer learning projects with a Belgian company. This is only of my activities. The other is related to the projects I build with Element14 as well as the technical articles and books I write with some editors around the world.
Then - here it is the interesting point for the group - I am also a small entrepreneur, owner of an LTD in Spain (Balearic Dynamics SA). With this company and a couple of other Hungarian guys I am approaching the development of a new product series, mostly open source, related to the camera motion and other stuff connected to photography and video shooting. So the group is welcome, I am sure that this will become a great source of inspiration, knowledge sharing, and self-help. At least it is the philosophy I like and until now I show in the Element14 community managers.
A group like this would be great, I've been looking at doing my own thing for a few years, and read various things on the internet but have generally "settled" with working is easier. Advice on accounting, marketing, what to expect and preparing for the quiet times would be invaluable. Time saving advice would be great as well and advice on software to use. I was looking at various open source accounting / stock control packages when I was looking into it for myself as I didn't want to spend a lot of time on administration and didn't want the expense of a commercial system. (We use sage at work for stock, BOM's, and accounting and even that doesn't really do what we want, so still have to keep excel files and access up to date.)
This does sound like a good idea. I have ideas for potential products to develop quite often, but usually I don't have the time/resources to see them through. I think a group like this would help encourage people to pursue things and maybe make a success of their ideas rather than hold off and lose the opportunity.
I think it would be great to set up such a group. In the past, I have participated in a few start ups and dealt with putting together business plans and planning funding rounds. I would be interested in being part of this new group.
My name is Randall Scasny. Many people know me on the community through RoadTests, webinars or the Essentials programs, which I manage. Through these roles, I am in contact with a lot of members. I've gotten a chance to know many of them, whether they are students, hobbyists, makers, working engineers, or etirees. But I haven't connected that much with members who define themselves as entrepreneurs, whether they are hardware or software focused, or are even entrepreneurs in another area who are element14 members to learn how to use technology in their businesses (i.e., vertical farming, would be an example). But I'd like to connect with and get to know our entrepreneurs better. I have owned two businesses in the past and I know how hard it is to get started, to get your marketing right, and to develop a customer base, so you can make a go of it after your financing runs low. I'd like to form an entrepreneurs group on element14. What form this informal group would take depends on what the group defines as important to them. So, leave a comment here, or message me at rscasny if you are interested.