When the first consumer internet wave hit, I was part of an early stage start up called WebTV Networks. We designed a tightly integrated product with software, hardware and internet services.
We sold over a million units and Microsoft acquired the company.
During those days we saw other startups building ambitious consumer electronics as well. Companies like Palm, Handspring, 3DO, Danger just to name a few.
Since then I’ve been smitted with consumer electronics. If you listen to any of our podcasts, Nabeel and I talk about hardware in pretty much every episode.
A few years back another fellow geek friend Antonio and i were talking about how back in the day we had much more hardware to play with. But at the time all the best hardware/software was coming out of a single company — Apple. That felt discouraging.
Well, what a difference a few years make. Now we have startups building extraordinary consumer products again. Things like Nest, August, Oculus Rift, Myo and many others have been introduced and are simply mind blowing.
I’m thrilled to see founders and investors getting inspired again to build these products. There is no doubt that hardware is hard. But it’s also awesome and I hope this trend is here to stay.
(Oh and yes, we will soon announce a some new consumer electronics investments as well. Stay tuned!)