Author Archives: Matt

Glass stronger than steel?

It may sound like science fiction, but we’re getting closer every day to being able to produce strong, transparent materials. The latest is a glass that may rival steel for strength! Naturally, it’ll be years (decades?) before we see something like this on the market, but it’s exciting nonetheless! Read more here.

The plummeting costs of rapid prototyping

The costs of rapid prototyping machines continues to plunge, with the latest being a $2950 machine from Solido. The Solido SD300Pro uses a subtractive process, cutting layers from a sheet of raw material.

What’s not clear from its low sticker price is the true cost of materials; I have a hunch companies are finally aggressively pursuing the inkjet printer business model, losing money on the cost of the printer and making the profit in the raw materials needed to run it. As such, I think the coming few years will be a confusing time for those looking to buy a rapid prototyping machine, as the true cost of ownership will be difficult to figure out.

Solid State Fan

Researchers are making good progress towards an interesting product…a fan that has no moving parts! It uses an electric field to create a breeze up to 2.4 m/s; potential applications are small scale cooling such as in mobile electronics. You can read more here.

Ten Rules for Startup Success

French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur has come up with a list of ten rules for startup success, reprinted below (see the article in the Financial Times for the full story). Based on our past experience, it’s a very nice list and worth passing along so we thought we’d include it here:

  • Don’t wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible
  • Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.
  • Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.
  • Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.
  • Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.
  • Be the first to recognise a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.
  • Don’t spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.
  • Don’t obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.
  • Don’t plan a big marketing effort. It’s much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.
  • Don’t focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal.