Develop and Sell a Successful New Electronic Product Without a Big Team, Big Investors or Big Risk!
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"From figuring out how to put together the first breadboard prototypes, to doing marketing and building a waitlist, creating a roadmap and a strategy, and building a functional prototype with a custom PCBs, I've been accompanied by John and the Hardware Academy every step of this journey. I couldn't have accomplished any of this without the Academy."
Nicolas Franco, Creator of the Hex Evo and Academy member since 2020. Blew past $40,000 crowdfunding goal in only 86 minutes!
Introducing the Hardware Academy
Developing a new electronic product and bringing it to market is similar to traversing a minefield. Your chances of making it across successfully are slim if you try it alone.
You need a guide who has done it before, or better yet an entire team of experienced guides!
Unlike many companies out there that claim to help you bring a new product to life, what makes the Hardware Academy different is you get 100% unbiased advice.
I have no financial interest outside of the small membership fee, so the advice you get is unbiased and honest.
Meet some of the experts waiting to help you inside the Hardware Academy:
We guarantee that ALL questions are thoroughly answered by an expert in a timely fashion.
NEW! Get personal advice directly from John Teel
Simply submit your question via video or audio, and you’ll receive a personal video reply from John direct to your email inbox.
If you join the Pro or Premium plans then your question and my answer will be completely PRIVATE and kept strictly confidential. If you are on the Standard plan then your question and my answer may be shared with other members.
Get access to experts, training, and resources in all of these areas:
"What an incredible experience and just invaluable in our journey to understand everything about hardware development. John is truly a master, and just an outstanding guy!"
- Sujoy Roy (Academy member)
Member Story: Nicolas Franco and the Hex Evo
When Nicolas Franco went to bed the night before his crowdfunding campaign went live, he felt sick to his stomach from nerves.
He had worked so hard on his product and put so much of himself into it, that he couldn’t help but be nervous.
There was a lot riding on this launch!
He was confident it would do well, but…there are always doubts.
His product is called the Hex Evo and it’s a totally unique gaming controller.
Nicolas came up with his idea during college when he started gaming using a mouse and keyboard instead of a joystick.
He quickly realized that while aiming with the mouse was superior to using a joystick, using the keys with his left hand was awkward.
The keyboard was large and in the way, when all you needed were a handful of keys.
Plus, it was way too easy to hit the wrong key.
So he of course imagined a better solution - a controller built specifically for the left hand with only the necessary buttons for game play.
Nicolas has been an active member of the Hardware Academy for several years while developing his product.
He posted this message in the Academy community:
“From figuring out how to put together the first breadboard prototypes, to doing marketing and building a waitlist, creating a roadmap and a strategy, and building a functional prototype with a custom PCB, I've been accompanied by John and the Hardware Academy in every step of this journey.”
So how did his crowdfunding launch go?
Well, luckily the next morning his stomach issues quickly disappeared because…
…he surpassed his funding goal of $40,000 in only 86 minutes!
I’m proud to be listed as one of his advisors, and I'm excited to continue guiding him here in the Academy as he sets up manufacturing for the Hex Evo.
“I couldn't have done all of this without the help of this amazing community that you've built, and that's why I made a special section in my Indiegogo page for the Hardware Academy.”
Peek Behind the Scenes:
This will give you guest access to the Academy. You will be able to see the community discussion topics and the course overview pages, but you can't access the actual discussion posts or course lessons.
• Masterclass: From Concept to Prototype to Market for Your New Electronic Hardware Product
• Understanding Certifications and Regulatory Requirements
• How to Design Your Own Custom PCB
• Introduction to 3D Modeling
• Online Marketing and Building an Audience
• Defining and Validating Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
• Introduction to Power Management
• How to Estimate Your Product's Manufacturing Cost
• Introduction to PCB Design Using KiCad
• How to File a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)
• Introduction to Mechanical Design
• Setting Up a Low-Risk Supply Chain in China
• Design Your First PCB Boot Camp
• Introduction to PCB Manufacturing
• 12 Layers of IoT Cloud Infrastructure
• Beginners Introduction to Arduino
• Define Your Market and Find Your First Big Customers
• Product Design Masterclass: From Concept to Prototype
• How to Design Your Enclosure for Injection Molding
• Introduction to 3D Printing
• How to Build a Hardware Company, Not Just a Product
• How to Order PCBs
• How to Select the Wireless Tech for Your Product
• How to Talk to Customers
• Low-Volume Manufacturing Strategies and Methods
• Firmware Programming for STM32 Microcontrollers
• How to Protect Your Intellectual Property in China
• How to Find and Meet Customers
• Introduction to Bluetooth Low-Energy
• How to Build Reliability Into Your Product Design
• How to Achieve Product-Market Validation
The Hardware Academy has expanded my knowledge and understanding of the hardware product development process. It is a valuable resource for hardware developers and entrepreneurs, and provides opportunity for both broad learning, through following the discussions, as well as gaining help with specific questions or problems you might face during an individual project. Worth the price of admission.
Academy member since 2019
Member Story: Ronald Wijnsema and the Button+
Ronald Wijnsema was woken up at 6am because his phone kept chiming over and over again with new notifications.
Turns out the notifications pouring in were from people pre-ordering his new product!
Within a couple of hours he had sold about $15,000 from his own website.
Then, within a few days his sales had climbed to over $40,000, and within a couple of weeks it grew to over $64,000!
Keep in mind his product wasn't even available yet - these were only pre-sales - and now he can use this money to fund the manufacturing.
Smart move Ronald! Funding and product validation all rolled into one:)
Pre-selling your product simply means getting people to pay you in advance for your product before you manufacture it.
Without a doubt it’s the #1 way to validate that your product will sell, which drastically lowers the overall risk for your project.
Also, pre-sales produce the cash that you need to then manufacture your product just like Ronald.
In fact, with these pre-sales under your belt you'll have manufacturers begging to work with you, instead of ignoring you.
To pre-sell your product in most cases you need to have at least a functional prototype, otherwise there are just too many unknowns for you to be able to realistically commit to any type of delivery schedule.
Ronald's product is called the Button+ and it's a modular control panel that can be connected to any smart home system.
His project was definitely no overnight success (they never are).
"I'm over the moon by this, but it did not come easy. I spent more than 4 years developing this, of course with the help of John Teel and others in the Hardware Academy."
Ronald got his big break recently when a Dutch tech platform called Tweakers interviewed him for an article about his product.
Obviously the Netherlands isn't exactly the world's largest economy, which makes what he accomplished that much more impressive.
Not only did he raise over $64,000, but the article also received hundreds of comments from people expressing their excitement for his new product.
I'm excited to be able to continue guiding Ronald on the next steps of setting up manufacturing here inside the Academy.
The Hardware Academy has been by far one of the biggest bangs for my buck when it comes to business and manufacturing advice. John Teel has managed to pool together subject matter experts of all kinds that provide meaningful answers through a simple yet effective online interface. There's no hassle. Just ask your question and let the answers pour in.
I was hesitant on joining the Hardware Academy, but immediately first day in there all of those worries were gone. It was completely worth the value to get that knowledge from people that aren't trying to sell you something, and that's very valuable. That monthly fee, it's worth every penny. I already feel like I saved myself tons of headache.
For the first time ever, I have access to a dedicated online community highly knowledgeable in many different areas of hardware development. I can ask questions, see what others are asking which in many ways also applies to my own situations. The answers are always very illuminating. Additionally the platform itself provides technical resources critical to get started and improve on my hardware design and development skills. A dedicated online community highly knowledgeable in many different areas of hardware development, so that you do not get stuck during hardware development.
As a founder of a tech product who doesn't have a background in engineering, John and the other members of the community were really helpful. Their expertise is invaluable. The Hardware Academy is a great source of efficient and informative resources when creating an electronic product. I had a top-notch experience joining the Academy. John is truly an expert in his field and helps a lot of members from solving tough and impactful problems to aid in the creation of our projects. The Academy has provided me a professional, prompt and outstanding experience in my journey to create my tech device.
Anyone that needs to get a hardware project done needs to be in the Academy. lnput from lots of great contributors. I use it as a knowledge base - I probably will not be the most active contributor but I find great value in the discussions. It has already answered questions for me that others have asked.
I would highly recommend the Hardware Academy as a place where the support of any kind, related to hardware design and product prototyping can be found. The Academy contains very useful courses, and the community is very active, there are a lot of actual questions with great, detailed and concise responses and all that is related to hardware design, the issues which everyone who deals with electronics design and development meets. I would especially mention the option of direct communication with John as the leading person of this great community. Not just that, a lot of experienced people who can also help with ideas, evaluation, guides and other things in order to make the reasonable choices in product design, development and marketing.
The Hardware Academy is the place to be if you are really committed to your transformation in order to become a hardware entrepreneur.
The Hardware Academy provides a group of highly trained engineers to provide mentoring and an environment to thrive. If you're like me you've already spent endless hours scouring the internet for answers. Its tough to know where to even start. Now I'm surrounded by talented ambitious individuals who love to help others. They help motivate you and hold you accountable. It's so refreshing!
I decided to give the Hardware Academy a shot and was very glad I did. I’ve spent the past couple years working on my IoT side project, spending countless hours researching every aspect of how to bring my boot-strapped product to market, but ran into roadblocks with technical and business issues I just couldn’t find the answers to and I wasn’t in a position to hire one-on-one consulting services. I was instantly connected to like-minded individuals with complimentary skillsets and was able to quickly get solutions to my lingering questions, including from John.
An excellent resource of supportive, experienced people willing and able to give lots of constructive criticism about hardware and business development.
If you are developing a product, it is strongly recommended you join the Hardware Academy to get access to the material and experts for guidance which may save you time and money in the long run.
The people John has brought in to the Hardware Academy to help answer member’s questions are fantastic. They are very knowledgeable and responsive; better than I could have expected. I have learned a lot about some of the details often overlooked when you think about starting a business. Things like certifications, serial and part version numbers and tracking, and how to achieve effective customer support. The members are very helpful as well; the experience of many members is vast, and deep, and they are willing to help. This seems to have been by design. This is community is as advertised from the beginning.
The Hardware Academy has put me in touch with people that I never would have been able to communicate with that have the experience of designing a product or knowledge of the legal issues involved in the process. Being in the Academy has helped in the fact that you can talk to others who have gone through the process and made mistakes and you can gain the knowledge not to make the same mistakes. It gives you a route to take if you are going to bring a product to market, being able to talk to many people in different fields has been a godsend to get their opinions, expertise and guidance.
There is very little that you will find available on the net that matches the breadth and depth of what the Hardware Academy can offer and all in one place. I have been able to find answers to questions that I have not been able to find anywhere else as there are many experts in the Academy from diverse backgrounds. It's getting that 'needle in the haystack' answer to a question that for me makes the Academy worth it even if I don't ask many questions. Sometimes all I want is not a specific answer but more of a reality check on what I am planning to do. Being pointed in the right direction can make all the difference in the world.
Hey there, I’m John Teel, a product design engineer, serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Predictable Designs.
As a senior design engineer at Texas Instruments I designed dozens of successful electronic microchips. My designs can be found in all kinds of popular electronic devices including some from Apple and Intel. You likely own a product or two with one of my chip designs inside.
Before starting Predictable Designs, I founded a hardware startup named MicroLite Tech that developed and manufactured consumer lighting devices. My product was sold in hundreds of retail locations across multiple countries.
In addition to developing the product I also oversaw manufacturing in China, marketing, trade shows, logistics, financing, and sales. I had a team of over 20 sales representatives across the U.S. selling my product at one point.
For the past 7 years my full time passion has been helping entrepreneurs, startups, makers, inventors, and small companies just like you to develop and bring new electronic products to market. Over 60,000 people have subscribed to my Predictable Designs blog.
I received my Master’s in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) degree from the University of Texas with a focus in Microelectronics.
As a member of the Hardware Academy you will always have priority access to me for help and advice.
NOT SURE IF THE Hardware Academy IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
The Hardware Academy is NOT for everyone, and truth be told I'd prefer to help you figure out if it’s not right for you BEFORE you join rather than waste your time. So, let’s cut to the chase...
WHO IT IS FOR:
WHO IT IS NOT FOR:
Some of the ways the Hardware Academy can save you money and time:
How is the Academy different?
To bring a new electronic product to market you will need to work with engineers, programmers, consultants, freelancers, attorneys, marketers, and many others. The more money you spend, the more these people or businesses benefit financially.
For instance, if you hire an engineer at an hourly rate, they will make more money if they design a more complicated product rather than a simplified version.
Or, for example, when you hire a patent attorney they get paid whether your product succeeds or fails. They basically have one shot to get as much from you as possible.
Their financial interests don't align with yours, and aren’t tied to your product’s ultimate success.
Or, worse yet, an invention promotion firm that tells you that your product is sure to be a homerun, because they want to just get as much money as possible from you, so they tell you exactly what you want to hear.
The problem is most of these arrangements are expensive and short-term. Their business models are to get as much money from you in the shortest time as possible.
On the other hand, the Hardware Academy is about providing you independent, unbiased, affordable guidance over the long-term.
I have no financial interest outside of the small monthly membership fee, so the advice you get is unbiased and honest. For example, I don't make more money by convincing you to develop an unnecessarily complex product.
I also don't make commissions on any products or services I recommend to members. In fact, I instead pass all of those commissions down to you as a discount!
Also, with a starting price of only $97 per month, my business model depends on honesty and ongoing quality, otherwise you will just leave (which we make super easy to do).
I'll be right there by your side throughout the entire journey, helping you avoid many of the pitfalls and obstacles in your path to market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter where I'm located? I'm not in the U.S. so will I still benefit from the Hardware Academy?
The Hardware Academy is a global platform with members from around the world. You will benefit from joining regardless of where you are located.
In addition to the U.S. we also have members from Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America. To my knowledge we don’t have any members yet from Antarctica, but otherwise we have members from every region of the world active in the Academy.
Most discussions, courses, and resources are completely independent of your location. Some topics like regulatory certifications are location dependent, but even then the requirements are very similar regardless of the country.
Can I get private one-on-one help with my project?
Yes! With the Pro plan you get private access to John Teel for advice via text or video. With the Premium plan you also get private engineering support (text only). If you would like to work more closely with John Teel then see his private mentoring program.
How far along do I need to be with my product? If I only have an idea will I benefit from the Hardware Academy? What if I'm much farther along, will I still benefit?
Regardless of where you are on your journey with your product the Hardware Academy is a hugely beneficial resource. If you don't yet have a definite product idea you wish to pursue, then the academy will help you select the best idea to pursue.
If you instead have a definite product idea then you'll learn what steps come next. If you have a proof-of-concept (POC) prototype already, then you'll learn how to migrate it to a manufacturable product.
If you already have a manufacturable prototype, then you'll learn how to partner with manufacturers, do online marketing, find customers, connect with investors, etc.The Hardware Academy is focused on every aspect of launching a new physical electronic hardware product, regardless of where you are in the process. You will learn about everything from product design to marketing to manufacturing.
What type of products are right for the Hardware Academy? Is it only for electronic products or any physical product?
The Hardware Academy was created primarily for electronic hardware products. However, outside of the electronics design, the other steps and challenges are pretty much the same for any physical product, so the Academy can be a good fit for non-electronic products too.
Obviously the content and discussions on electronics design won’t apply, but everything else applies almost equally well for any physical product.
How do you handle confidential information when questions are asked? Can other members view my questions?
On the Pro and Premium plans anything you share privately is kept strictly confidential and is protected by an NDA. All intellectual property remains 100% yours.
When posting in the open community area you can get support and feedback from lots of other engineers, experts, and members. But what you share here is not private and all other active members can see it.
How is the Academy community area different than any of the many available free forums on design and entrepreneurship?
Anyone can post in a free forum so how do you know you can ever trust any of the advice? A lot of the information in a free forum is garbage. Everyone thinks they are an expert, but very few really are. Public forums can also be very unfriendly places where you may get verbally attacked for asking the wrong questions.
That is not the case at all with the Academy community! First of all, it's a private forum so only Academy members can access it. This alone filters out a lot of the bad stuff because only more serious people are allowed access. It also means that the general public can never see your questions or any details about your product.
Secondly, John is in the community nearly every day personally answering questions and sharing advice. He also heavily moderates the community so the quality remains very high.
Finally, we've hand selected over a dozen experts to help answer your questions in the community. So you know you can trust the advice you are given in the Academy. It really is much more than just a community, and it's a place for you to get low-cost, low-risk access to me and lots of other trusted experts.
You can now also get personal advice directly from me via video, audio, or text.
How are courses structured? Are courses live or recorded, text or video format? What topics are covered?
The courses mostly consist of recorded video content. Each course is broken down into multiple lessons which you can watch at your own pace. A new course is released each month, but members have access to all of the previous courses. Total course length is usually between 1-4 hours.
We also sometimes host live workshops. You are welcome to attend any workshop live or the recording will be available to you afterwards in the course library.
The course topics vary considerably between technical and entrepreneurial subjects. Take a live peek inside the Academy to see the courses currently available.
Can I get a design review of my product in the Hardware Academy?
Yes, and there are two options for getting a design review.
Option #1: If you share your design in the community area of the Academy you will get a high-level review by at least one engineer, likely by multiple engineers. Keep in mind this will require you to share your design so other members can see it, and private design reviews are not included in the subscription. This level of design review will only typically highlight any major design issues.
Option #2: For a more thorough design review (including checking all of the potential minor issues) we offer paid design reviews starting at $399 on the Predictable Designs website. However, members of the Academy Standard plan get a 10% discount on all design reviews, and members of the Private plan get a 50% discount.
I'm an engineer that wants to learn more about product development, but I don't have my own product. Is the Hardware Academy right for me?
Yes, probably. The Academy was originally created for those wishing to learn about product development in order to bring their own product to market. But there is also a ton of value for those who design products for others especially since you can get quick feedback from other experienced engineers.
I have no technical background or experience with anything related to product development. Is the Hardware Academy right for me?
The simple answer is maybe, but only if you are open to learning new technical skills. If you have absolutely no technical background, and you have no interest in learning new technical skills, then it will be extremely challenging for you to manage the development of a complex new product.
I don't yet have a product idea, or I have multiple product ideas. Should I join now or wait until I have selected the product idea I wish to pursue?
You definitely should join now, because the more you know and the earlier you know it, the better. Understanding the steps it takes to get a product developed and on the market gives you the knowledge to select the best idea to pursue.
Do not wait until you have your idea finalized before you begin the learning process. The earlier you begin the learning process the more likely you are to succeed.
How do I cancel my subscription if I no longer wish to remain a member? Can I rejoin later?
Obviously I'd love it if all our members stuck around forever - but I know that is not realistic and things change! So, if you do decide to cancel obviously I'll be very sad, but if you're intent on leaving then you'll be able to do so with just 2 clicks of a mouse.
I don't hide the cancel button, nor do I require that you get my permission to cancel your subscription. You can cancel at any time. In fact, here’s a video showing you how to cancel your subscription.
Yes, you can rejoin at any time. However, if the membership fee has increased you will have to pay the new higher price.
I'm in secretive stealth mode, can I be anonymous and still gain benefit from the Hardware Academy?
Yes, absolutely. Whether you want to keep your product a secret, or keep your identity a secret (from perhaps your employer), you'll still gain a ton from the Academy.
You can remain totally anonymous inside the Academy if desired, so no one except myself (and any employees) will know your true identity. We will be as secretive with your idea and identity as you wish.
However, we always encourage members to not be overly secretive (especially with their identity) so they can receive the maximum benefit possible from the Academy.
If you want fully private support from John Teel and other experts then we also offer our Pro and Premium plans.
Is all of the content available straight away or is it time-released (drip fed)?
You get access to everything already inside the Academy straight away. We don't artificially delay anything just to hook you into staying longer. Instead, we hook you into staying longer by giving you tremendous value!
Each month a new course or workshop is added to the database, so over time the amount of content you can access increases.
Can I upgrade and downgrade between plans?
Yes. You are allowed to upgrade and downgrade between the different plans as needed. Although, we do ask that you plan to stay on the new plan for at least 3 months. Please email us for help switching plans.
My startup consists of several people, do we each need to have a separate membership, or can we all share the same account?
You can all share all the same account as long as you are all a part of the same startup/project.
Does the Hardware Academy make any claims to my intellectual property?
Absolutely not! All of your intellectual property remains 100% your property. We claim absolutely no rights to your intellectual property.
For more details see the section titled “INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS TO YOUR MATERIALS” in the terms and conditions for the Academy.
Once I join will the price ever increase?
Absolutely not! As long as you stay an active member your price is guaranteed to never increase. Any price increases will only impact new members, not existing ones.
However, your current pricing is only guaranteed if you stay on your current plan or downgrade. If you wish to upgrade you are subject to the same price increases as new members.
Also, if you cancel your subscription you are subject to all of the price increases and you will need to join at the current rate.
The price for the Hardware Academy is constantly increasing so the sooner you join the more you save.
We are pre-revenue so we need to keep our expenses to a minimum. Should we wait until we have revenue to join the Academy?
This is kind of like asking "Should I wait until my project is successful before I ask for help?".
So the answer is no, and you need to get help first in order for your project to be successful. Helping you reach the point of generating revenue is one of the main goals of the Hardware Academy.
I always encourage you to strive to keep your expenses to a minimum, but the cost to join the Academy is so low it's really insignificant compared to the cost of developing and selling a new product.
The small monthly fee for the Academy will likely save you thousands of dollars and months or even years of your time. There is no better Return On Investment (ROI) than joining the Hardware Academy.
The earlier you seek help from those that have done what you seek to accomplish then the faster you will reach your goals!
Get help now in the
Cancellation Policy: We make it super easy for you to cancel at any time. In fact, here's a video showing you how to cancel. You will also get a receipt every month so you won't ever just forget you are subscribed. We're not happy if you are not making progress!
All prices in US Dollars