No matter whose name is on the label, Flextronics actually builds most of the electronic stuff in your life — most famously for Apple, but also for Lenovo, HP, Cisco, and on and on. One of its execs spoke at the Wearable World Congress this week and told product designers in the crowd that they should be conservative about what they try to build.
Jeannine Sargent runs Flextronics’s innovation labs. She suggested that including too much functionality in a product may keep users from understanding and appreciating a device’s core functions. Would you rather have a tool that did one thing simply and well, or one that’s cluttered and unclear about function.
Also, Sergent cautioned about managing functionality in the face of the supply chain, pointing out that even Apple, master of the supply chain, wound up pulling functionality out of the Apple Watch because it was too hard to get some features to market. If Apple can be modest about its supply, so can you.
It’s a lesson that device makers ought to heed. We have experience this past year with four or five crowd-funding projects that hit tough sledding because they kept adding “just one more feature,” which they then found hard to build. Keep it simple, Sargent urged, and keep it focused, and you may survive to make a second version.