Zach Supalla

Founder and CEO at Spark. Biz + design + hardware.

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Drone Adventures, Pt. 1: Building a drone

I’ve decided to build a drone.

First, a bit of background. I run an Internet of Things start-up called Spark IO; we make development tools and an open source platform for connected hardware products. In particular, we sell a Wi-Fi development kit called the Spark Core, a new one (just announced) called the Photon, and we call our open source platform Spark OS.

photon-banner.jpg

Being a CEO of a start-up is a crazy chaotic job, and while I did much of the early development on the platform (specifically hardware design and front-end development), lately I have had less of an opportunity to do so. This makes sense for a growing start-up, but it means that I’ve grown further from my customers, who are engineers, software developers, designers, artists, and students.

It also means that I don’t have an opportunity to use our development tools and make sure they actually solve the problems we’re trying to...

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Why Kickstarter projects are always delayed

A gantt chart showing the tasks remaining to complete manufacturing for the Spark Core

My team’s project, the Spark Core, just announced our second delay, putting us a total of 7 weeks behind schedule. We keep track of our project status here.

We’ve learned an extraordinary amount since our campaign launched on May 2. We’ve had many breakthroughs, and we’ve made some mistakes along the way too. As we approach delivery, I wanted to take the time to share some of what we’ve learned and help answer the oft-asked question: why does every Kickstarter project seem to get delayed?

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, let me give you a brief rundown. Creatives and entrepreneurs come up with an idea; they throw together a prototype, film a short video about it, and put it online to share with the masses and see if other folks are excited enough to contribute to bringing this idea to life. Contributions are exchanged for “rewards”, which in many cases equate to a pre-order...

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