Our guest today is Zack Bomsta, CTO of Owlet, which produces the Owlet Baby Monitor. In addition to growing the team, he is involved electronic hardware design and miniaturization, manufacturing, firmware and embedded systems development.  Join us to hear war stories from the founding story of Owlet.

Owlet is hiring engineering leaders in UT.

Quotes

  • I was a hacker child when I was growing up.  I was interested in creating anything and everything.  Its fortuitous that one day I would start a hardware/software company.
  • The second my cofounder pitched me on the idea, I was sold.  It was a problem I’d had just the night before and you’ve got to scratch your own itch.
  • Categorically the biggest challenge starting out was that everyone said what we were trying to do couldn’t be done.
  • In the early days, a lot of the work in product was overcoming cynicism that what we were doing couldn’t be done.
  • A big part of scaling up is building a product that delights and just works.
  • We’ve been focusing on finding a way to make ease of use second to none.  
  • We want to make sure we control the user experience, and we want to make sure that we we are ready for retail.
  • It’s been a pretty wild ride growing the engineering team.  When the company first started, we were able to attract a lot of great engineers who were attracted to our vision.  They were excited about the startup nature of our business.  Yet we’re building a company that hopefully grows out of the startup phase.
  • The exciting thing is the extremely low turnover we’ve had on our engineering staff.  They’re really bought into our vision.
  • A lot of the engineers here are new dads and moms.  They’re dogfooding the product.
  • We’ve received hundreds of stories rolling in from parents where they were able to intervene when their baby was in crisis.
  • Passion is one of our engineering values.  A love for what you’re doing will lead to a desire to create and iterate.
  • A huge value for us is to jump in as soon as possible an analyzing approach to a problem.  Jump into the problem and start getting your hands early.  “Fail Fast”
  • A big engineering value is to build the right product for the customer, not the thing you want to build as an engineer.
  • It’s devastating to find that you’re operating upon assumptions that are false assumptions.  But it was a necessary pain, because it helped us to overcome our design flaws.