How to Start a Startup Lecture: How to Design Hardware Products

Presenter – Hosain Rahman

He believes that wearables will be the center of where everything is going. In order to be design great products, you need to have a complete platform: Hardware, software, services, and data.

Everything is a system:

  • Wearables – tracking hardware, sensors, algorithms
  • Engaging application and service
  • Science and Data Insight
  • API partners and signals

How they create:

  • Exploration – broad, dreaming, imagining, futuristic, rigorously defined building blocks
    • What you’re doing: Building and tinkering
    • To move on to the next step, ask yourself: would you invest $50k in this investment?
  • Early validation- proving your thesis like a Ph.D. Outline the story, explore the system
    • What your doing: Checking for robustness
    • Prioritize concepts, approve budget for resulting programs
    • Design Reviews
    • To move on to next step: does it fit into strategic vision, feasible to make, business viability, early experience benefits?
  • Concept – Big, human-centric concepts. Starting on a journey, painting experiences in broad strokes, asking big questions, selling the experience
    • Define the “why’s”
    • Beginning to define the features
    • imagine what is possible
    • Help determine if the product has merit
    • What are the ‘hero experiences’
    • To move on to next step: Highly resolved “whys” and differentiation strategy (from competitors, from other products in the family); product roadmap
  • Planning – Emergence of a product. No turning back, building belief, sobering truths, breakthroughs, diverse input
    • Making a plan, validating and feasibility, beginning to build a story.
    • Drives: the retail calendar, quarterly forecasting
    • Make key decisions around trade-offs
    • Sign off on the plan to move forward
    • To move on to next step:Prioritized features, functionality, and minimum bar; business plan and product roadmap
  • Development – Bringing to life. Anchoring the relay, pride in craftsmanship, laser focus problem solving, shared understanding of what, why and how.
    • To move on: design sign-off; Engineering sign-off; Founder sign-off
  • Continued innovation – Feeding the fire – go from imagination to execution on specific challenges, creating dialogue with the world


  • Why’s – clear, memorable articulation of the human and business problems we are trying to solve
  • Themes – experience-based story tracks that translate ‘why’s’ into actionable concepts
  • Pods – cross-functional teams empowered to explore, act on and ultimately ‘own’ a theme
  • Hero/Sidekick experiences – scenarios that elevate concepts to signature solutions: own able system-oriented, intentional
  • Features – the building blocks or core objects of an experience: scalable, measurable, delightful

Why’s – List of consumer problems we are solving. They use these as a guidepost for their creativity:

  • What is the user problem that once we solve, the users can’t live without

Product run-through

  • The Why’s of UP24
    • Real-time feedback to stay on track with goals
    • Understand data in a more meaningful, relevant and timely context the “so what”
    • Need guidance, including structured and motivating activities to keep you going
    • Ongoing encouragement and in-the-moment validation that you are on the right track and doing well
    • More fluid and frictionless way to manually log activities and never want to “miss” a sleep
  • Their point of view of how UP24 would complete the wearable experience:
    • 24/7 engagement
    • understand and act in the moment
    • Actionable insights
    • Progressive and contextual tagging
  • Behavior loop (UP24)
    • Track – create the habit
    • Understand – lead to the habit of reflecting and learning about what you track
    • Act – combine the three, and the user can trigger action. Ideally, UP will do this as early as possible
  • Users they design for (UP24)
    • Social supporters
    • Suggestion seekers
    • medical managers
    • Appearance enhancers
  • What makes a smart action?
    • Real time
    • Customizable
    • Social
    • Progressive
  • Design a storyboard
  • Secondary experiences get added in afterward

When doing a consumer interview, think about the questions you need to ask that will make you smarter about your thesis instead of asking them to validate what you want to do.


  • How do you look at a tradeoffs as a system? You need to address them and realize there will be tradeoffs but make sure that the tradeoffs still meet the goal that is on the board. This gets more difficult  as you get bigger.
  • Creating competing products in the same space? They have a unifying theory, and think through how the pieces get pulled together. You have to think about your category, replacement cycle, etc. which will be different depending on what market you are playing in.



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