Wednesday, June 24, 2009

China Ready?

China ready? Are we having a fancy dinner or what? Not quite.

When Nathan Seidle asks the question - Is it China ready? - it pertains to a new product. Can he produce 10,000 units for this giant in the world market? There is even a website dedicated to this: areyouchinaready

Nathan shared lessons at the 2009 EntConnect conference of SparkFun’s recent China tour. His group learned such lessons as how their manufacturing works and the scale of it. They discovered new products and how they were done.

Often hardware and software are protected by patents and copyrights. But many, like SparkFun, take the OSH - Open Source Hardware - approach. OSH, for example, openly shares documents that illustrate how to make their electronic systems. In additon to OSH, creating modular electronic building blocks helps the hobbyists and designers to more easily develop their own gadgets.

This OSH strategy of putting their hardware designs in the public domain encourages the world to use and improve their products thus spurring ingenuity and innovation.

Nathan’s company, SparkFun, has benefited from the China - USA OSH cycle. USA design-> improved by China -> China design -> improved by USA -> …. And the improved products, which originated from OSH, are not the property of one particular entity. They are open to all to use, improve and enjoy.

One fun example of applying OSH is the first annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition - a higher tech version of match box car races. Check out the YouTube video: SparkFun - Autonomous Vehicle Competition - Course Preview

Both SparkFun employees and their customers participated in this race which put the “Spark” and “Fun” into SparkFun.

What does this have to do with writing? Writers often check out websites and blogs of those who offer their wisdom to improve the craft. This is our OSH - Open Source Help. And the bloggers also benefit by gathering a following and getting their name out there.

Two examples of such "open source help" sites that I follow for help are:

The Denver Writing Examiner:
Prose from the Pros:

What are your OSHs? Are you one?

Related links:

EntConnect website:

SparkFun - Autonomous Vehicle Competition - Course Preview

The Denver Writing Examiner:
Prose from the Pros:

Photos from
China ready:

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