Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From Suitcase to Shipping Container

At the invitation of Santa Clara University’s Center for Technology and Society (CSTS), Peter recently treated a roomful of interested SCU students and staff to his perspective on the founding of Driptech. The CSTS manages the nomination and application process for the Tech Awards, the signature program of The Tech Museum, and the organization’s ongoing interest in Driptech as a 2009 Tech Awards Laureate is always appreciated.

Peter addressed the challenges of growing the company from a project for the Stanford University class “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability” to a professional operation employing over 20 team members in India, China, and the US. He described an early prototype of Driptech’s proprietary manufacturing technology, packaged in a suitcase to demonstrate its portability, and he outlined his vision for the future.

The first step toward this vision will be to transition production to where the markets are, establishing the distributed manufacturing model. The “factory in a shipping container” will enable Driptech to scale huge and fulfill its potential for maximum impact.

Peter closed by sharing three valuable insights acquired along the way:
  1. Always bring a prototype. People understand best when they can see what you’re talking about.
  2. Get your hands (and feet) dirty. There’s no substitute for actual experience, and those you meet will welcome you if you pitch in.
  3. Customers are your best salespeople. Keep them happy and they become an invaluable resource.