I think these are good questions Scott. While it’s always hard to know without spending much more time with the product, team, business metrical, BOM cost, etc., I have a deeply-held philosophy that products resemble the constraints of the company that builds them. If you have unbridled constraints (time, cost, people, etc) it’s hard to avoid falling into the “Juicero Trap” of gross excess and if you are over-constrained on those same parameters, it’s hard to build disruptive products and you inevitably become a slow-moving, stale company. Getting this level of constraint right is the secret to building a great hardware company and it’s extremely tricky to do well.

Amazon has nailed the right level of constraint for the smart speaker category: they focused on the part of the product that provides maximum strategic value (software/data) and under-optimized on the constraints that don’t (BOM cost, design, supply chain, etc). Sonos is stuck because their business model forces them to be extremely constrained. This means “well designed” speakers for an efficient supply chain and healthy BOM to MSRP ratio, but it ultimately will loose to the higher leverage of Amazon’s constraints.

Hopefully that clarifies things a bit! Thanks for the poignant questions.

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Product designer and lover of hardware. EIR @EclipseVentures. Previously founded @BoltVC.

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