Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Pieri, How We Make Stuff Now

Jules Pieri, the cofounder and CEO of The Grommet, a product launch platform, has written an advice manual for Maker-entrepreneurs, How We Make Stuff Now: Turn Ideas into Products That Build Successful Businesses (McGraw-Hill, 2019). This book should be read by two sorts of people: those who want to become Maker-entrepreneurs and those who love gadgets. I most definitely do not fall into the first category, but I found the case studies in this book fascinating. It’s amazing how many “great idea” products exist. I have no idea whether most of the products profiled here actually work (I looked at Amazon reviews for a few of them and found a lot of dissatisfied customers), but they were intriguing nonetheless.

For those who have a product they’d like to bring to market, Pieri’s book seems incredibly useful. She covers everything from design to funding, manufacturing to packaging, logistics to inventory management. By the way, as far as retail distribution outlets go, Pieri warns Makers to “be very careful about Amazon.” Why? You may never see much volume (Amazon is a site for commodity shopping, serving up the products people are searching for—and, by definition, they are not searching for unknown products), you give it your data, you will expose yourself to counterfeiters and copycats (among whom might be Amazon itself, which uses its data to direct its private label business), you give Amazon control over your pricing, and you have to deal with Amazon chargebacks.

How We Make Stuff Now is both inspiring and daunting. I tip my hat to all those Makers who have gone from idea to successful business. It’s no mean feat.

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