In Detroit’s heyday, automotive manufacturers built generations of vehicles with intentionally limited lifespans to encourage new vehicle purchases on a regular basis. In today’s world of connected hardware, leading vendors like Apple are pursuing similar strategies based on rapid obsolescence.
What’s different this time is the role of Moore’s Law and software – rapid innovations in faster wireless protocols, higher power processors, lower power budgets and better battery lives are forcing consumers, designers and businesses to view hardware as a service rather than merely as products. However, unlike the decisions that eventually led to Detroit’s downfall, planned obsolescence is a good thing for both consumers and hardware vendors alike. This talk will explore how designers can create products that ease rapid transitions from generation to generation of product, and how businesses can benefit from planned obsolesence while still delighting their customers.
Rob Coneybeer is a veteran venture capitalist who approaches start-up investing from a product perspective. At Shasta Ventures, the Sand Hill Road firm he co-founded in 2004, Rob focuses on hardware and mobile startups. Rob is particularly interested in startups that have discovered creative new approaches to connecting the “real world” to the internet, whether via smart phones, low-cost sensors, or other innovative, new devices.
Rob started his career working in the Astro Space division of Martin Marietta, where he helped build the first EchoStar spacecraft. Some of Rob’s notable investments include smart-thermostat company Nest; Relay Rides, the leading peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace; and Mocana, which provides security for smart devices. Rob earned a master of science in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
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