Courage to Change the Things I Can

When I got to Shenzhen and started working at my internship I realized I wasn’t getting the experience I came for — I wanted to be deep in the trenches working in hardware and learning how to create a product.

Breathtaking Views

I messaged one of the partners at HAX, the worlds biggest hardware accelerator located in Shenzhen, before coming to Shenzhen who connected me to another partner working in Shenzhen that invited me to a HAX Kickstarter event in late May, called Mastering Kickstarter. During the event, I met with a chain of 5 people each connecting me to the next person. The last person I met later took my Cover letter, and Resume who then sent it in the HAX wechat group where Marios, and Nahuel the founders at Pycno reached out to me. We later scheduled a meeting and the next step began where I mustered the courage to end my previous internship and start a new one.

Marios and I sat down at the factory where they manufacture agricultural soil sensors for Pycno and I told him that I have a product I want to build and that’s why I came to Shenzhen. We continued and broke down what steps are required to make a product — one that is low-cost, and that can be manufactured.

This includes:

  1. Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Layout (designing micro-controllers and peripherals)
  2. 3D design, SLA, CNC, compression molding, vacuum casting and maybe touching on other processes
  3. Sourcing for components, and talking to factories
  4. Software: coding the micro-controller
  5. Ordering PCB’s, assembling them using stencils and choosing the right components
  6. Creating Test Jigs — which requires another micro-controller and a set of test points on the PCB to make printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) more efficient and finding products that don’t work at the factory so they don’t get into the hands of consumers

To summarize in one sentence what I am now doing — I will be going through the process of bringing a product to market, touching on all the things mentioned above. I’m taking an old project that Marios was working on, and learning how to build it. I am not putting together American components but rather leveraging Chinese components that have the same functionality as the American components because they can be 5, 10, up to 50 times cheaper and functionally work the same.

A circuit board ya’ boy is working on. Has a Wifi & Micro-Controller IC, a Thermal sensor, a Light sensor, and some other goodies

I’m not strong in electronics and there’s a high learning curve — I’m putting in 12–18 hour days working every day even weekends, sometimes sleeping at the office to learn as much as I can. I can only work this hard because it feels like I am living a dream — I value the experience of learning from Marios because he’s incredibly knowledgeable in electronics and by the end of summer I hope to have learned how to build a product. My sleep schedules all f*cked up, staying up till 10AM the next day is normal because I stay up as long as I can push my body, and sleep till its good enough to get back work.

Where ya’ boy sleeps

When I told William Yu, the big papa of the Cansbridge Fellowship, about the switch he was able to summarize exactly what I wanted in my summer experience “Just think, another couple of months of this and nothing will scare you. No product sourcing, no minor design, no moulding/casting problems will phase you. When you go back to Western and look at a design project, you will know virtually every step required to bring it to actual life! No theoretical bull crap, no pie in the sky “nice on paper but can never be manufactured at a reasonable price” projects.”

I will going to the RISE Hong Kong Conference tomorrow, which is going to be an unreal experience where there will be over 30K attendees who are from all different industries. I’ll be posting videos today and through out the week.

Thank you for reading!

Follow the adventure on youtube:

Akshay Kumar

#CansbridgeFellowship #CansbridgeFellowship2017 #HAX #Shenzhen #HardwareStartup #StartUp