Adam Wilson is the Founder and CSA of Orbotix Inc., maker of Sphero, an app-controlled robotic ball with 20 apps, a full SDK and accessories.
At first Sphero was looked at as a simple “gadget” and the friction was relatively high. We worked hard to build more apps, hold more hackathons with our open API/SDK and really focus on analyzing the data we have about Sphero to produce apps that do what people wanted their Sphero to do.
We are highly involved with what we call “hack friday.” On Fridays we have a company meeting, our CEO updates everyone and we show off art and apps. We also use that day to work on anything we want, things people ask for and crazy stuff! Things like the Sphero Peacekeeper (a 3 foot wide giant Sphero), Sphero chariots and our augmented reality games came from hack days. We just let people explore with no limits.
In hardware, things happen…. a few thousand Spheros were produced with a slight issue that we only discovered just as they landed in our distribution warehouse. We solved it quickly for the rest of the production run but this one shipment required us to send a crew to the warehouse, drill a tiny hole in Sphero to vent it and fix it. The shipment was due in 24 hours and we pulled it off! Our team will always go way out of our way to make sure the first time you experience our product it is exactly what we designed.
You must be passionate and you have to actually believe what your saying. I really believe you have more success if you focus on the “why” instead of what you will actually do during a pitch.
In the hardware world our customers are still the brick and mortar shops, the retail stores, etc. Our first interaction with a retail purchaser was at CES in Las Vegas. It was expensive to get a booth, but well worth it for our line of business.
Sphero itself was a pretty “ballsy” move, but the fact that it is so unique and universal gave us something to start with. My vision is to change the way people interact with Robotics and to make that experience fun and unique.
It may take a lot of no to get to a person that will ...