AKA, The Sights, Sounds, (Smells) and Experiences of CES 2018

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CES 2018: Whoa, indeed.

I attended CES 2018 and brought back notes for my team for The Cyrcle Phone. You may be interested in this bulleted summary as well.

  • Spectre and Meltdown flaws in Intel chips and subsequent patches: These were reported on daily by articles and podcasts such as The Daily Tech News Show (DTNS) and it was significant that the first CES keynote was from Intel (complete with a helicopter!) announcing the patches would be rolled out by the end of the week.
  • Environment: It rained the first two days which meant the outside escalators were suspended. There was a power outtage at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday. There were issues with the toilets. There was nearly zero WiFi and cellular connections in Eureka Park in the Sands Expo at the Venetian. …

Think Again…

(BTW, they’re making flex now, too. :)

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OSH Park: PCBs Manufactured in the USA

When I discuss PCB manufacturers with my industry buddies, the conversation always comes to a head when talking about OSH Park’s purple boards.

Me: I think it is cool to order PCBs from OSH Park because they are located in the Northwest and manufactured in the USA.

Industry Buddy: No, OSH Park PCBs are panelized in Oregon and then transferred to China for fabrication…

Me: But their website says they are made in the USA…

IB: That’s because they are panelized there.

Me: ???

I finally took it upon myself to ask directly, and found out SO much more… (OSH Park doesn’t have time for much fanfare, but gave me the go-ahead to post our exchange.) …


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Ed Essey of The Microsoft Garage at the London Plane in Seattle’s Pioneer Square

It all started with my fellow hardware buddy, Mike Grabham of The Package Guard. The first week of September, right before he went up on stage to lead Seattle Startup Grind (featuring Rand Fishkin!), Mike pulls me aside and says, “Hey, I want to introduce you to Ed Essey of Microsoft Garage. He needs a speaker for an event he is running this week, and I recommended you. I’ll email an into.” Relieved that I actually had time that week for once, I thanked Mike for thinking of me, and took my seat.

Fast forward to October 5th, the Friday before Techstars Startup Week Seattle. Despite an exchange of emails, unfortunately for us both the September gig never transpired. But I invited Ed out to meet me at the London Plane in Pioneer Square anyway to find out more about what he was doing with these hardware sessions, and see if we could somehow collaborate. When Ed arrived, I was finishing a meeting with Kristina Colburn, this year’s Hardware Track Captain for SSW[1]. I introduced them and Kristina stayed until her ferry had to leave. It was an awesome discussion. Topics ranged from the Garage to Lean Startup to making an awesome G&T. I wish we could have recorded the conversation, but hopefully this article will suffice for now. …


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Does your demographic view bus advertisements?

As a non-rectangular company, we are always looking for advertising opportunities outside of the Facebook/Google mainstream to collect emails of people who actually care about our product and team so we can send them launch alerts and company news. Our company is named dTOOR and we make “Non-Rectangular Phones for Non-Rectangular People” starting with a phone in the shape of a circle, called The Cyrcle Phone. Here is our story, and the information we have uncovered along our journey as a company. Hopefully some of this information may help your company as well.

Conference booths (~$50/email)


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In the startup world, “who you know” is more important than “what you know” on most days. Although you can find many founders out there with more LinkedIn contacts than myself, if you are just starting out you might be interested in some of my LinkedIn habits. I have learned these hacks along the way and they hopefully they may help you in expanding your network to include people who can help your startup.

“Nice meeting you at <event name>”. When you attend an event, if you can take time to simply add where you met when you invite the person to connect with you on LinkedIn, it will help as context for you both for future messages, introductions, and follow up requests. For occasions when you miss doing this, LinkedIn tracks the day that you and the person connected, and you can look back in your business calendar to see what event was happening around that time. To find this date: look up the person’s profile on LinkedIn, click on “See contact info” under the background photo, and at the bottom of the pop-out dialog box you will find “Connected <date>”. …


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Top Left: Vivo Nex, June 12, 2018, photo: techradar. Top right: Oppo Find X June 29, 2018, photo: The Verge. Bottom: Huawei Honor 7i August 2015, photo: Huawei

One of the interesting trends happening with smartphones today is the addition of pop-out cameras. The challenge of adding and servicing a mechanical feature on a smartphone has not seemed to diminish any of the enthusiasm of today’s gadget lovers. Further, the benefits of keeping your cameras clean (on the recent models) and not feeling “watched” all the time by your phone’s camera, provides a lot of appeal. Here is a side-by-side comparison of three smartphones called the Find X, Nex, and Honor 7i to get you up to speed on the topic.

The Oppo Find X


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Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales 2013–2017. Data Source for Table: Gartner

At dTOOR we specialize in mobile phones and intently watch worldwide handset sales and movement of mobile phone companies in the market. Hands down, Huawei has been the one to watch in the last three years. Here are 4 reasons why your next mobile phone may be a Huawei.

(1) Huawei is killing it globally in sales. And it is not even officially launched in America yet.

Apple’s rocket acceleration has slowed the last two years. Yet Huawei’s acceleration has continued. …


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If you have never been to CES®, this is not like any other conference. There are over eleven venues which span OVER 3 MILES. Even when I just limit myself to the top locations of Tech East (LVCC), Tech West (Sands Expo), and Tech South (Aria), it takes me three days simply to visit every single one of the 4,000+ booths, scouring them for suppliers, software partners, distributors, and industry trends. I’m intense because I map out my day from wake to sleep, with the exact times it takes me to walk from place A to place B, exactly when and where I can eat and for how long, which booth numbers and sessions I must not miss, and which day I will be at which venue. …


Why Our Hardware Company No Longer Hosts Booths at Conferences

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Photo taken at one of our booths, after hours (without the crowds)

As a phone company in our first year we had booths at conferences like MWC and CTIA (now merged with MWCA), to name a few. Although I am grateful for our first booth experience simply to gather data (where else can you ask hundreds of people A DAY about what they think about your product?), and meeting industry contacts is always a plus, our team quickly learned a few painful things about booths.

  1. Booths exhaust our team with all the advance preparations, staffing the booth during the conference, interfacing with hundreds of people a day (we had several people and still had lines), and following up with leads after we return — but only if we managed to scratch notes on their business cards in trying to get to the next person in the lineup at the booth. …


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Image from the article, “Top 7 Benefits Of Having A Working Mom

My co-founder and I were fortunate enough to attend the Connected Women series of talks on the final day of the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. After one of the talks we were approached by an intriguing pair of advisors for an accelerator in Silicon Valley. I was eager to hear about their accelerator because it was considering a different time structure than the others.

As a businesswoman, participating in an accelerator to develop my beloved business and product to its fullest potential would be the ultimate dream for me. Unfortunately it will probably never become a reality.

I have applied to several accelerators simply for the experience and character building that happens while filling out the applications, fully acknowledging to myself that I would be unable to attend because of my responsibilities at home to both my family and business. Not only do I have kids, but I am also the sole advocate for my grandpa whom I visit daily. My generation is aptly called the “sandwich” generation as many of us take care of both our kids and our elders. Logistics aside, it is a lifestyle I enjoy very much. I love getting to see my family every day. It makes me feel deeply connected and grounded, a quality which sustains me through my hardware startup adventure. …

About

Christina Cyr

CEO, dTOOR & The Cyrcle Phone | Biochem, Physics, Engineering & an unrelenting passion for electronics | Have taught >200 people how to build their own phone

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