Factories and Surprises

Haxlr8r is helping us get a head start in establishing relationships with ethical and efficient factories. So far we’ve visited a plastic prototyping company and a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) factory. The level of skilled work at these facilities have blown us away and smashed our preconceptions about Chinese factories.

Me, Sammi, and Ned are opening some plastics fresh from the oven.

We had a race to see who could machine the fastest and LEK won!

You know what we’re talking about—- when you think of China you think of the old cliche of cheap and dirty labor. This is the easiest story to tell because there are still places in China that take a lot of shortcuts. However, that’s becoming more uncommon. The new industry standard is quality and skill over cost because if you do something “cheaply” within your supply chain you will be paying for it with more cost ( i.e. returns, people getting hurt) later. Recently, Chinese customs agents have taken great pains to test consumer goods that go abroad.

At the PCB factory we witnessed that it actually takes over ten teams of workers following hundreds of steps to make a PCB.

Employees at the plant fixed mistakes on the boards with their hands, eyes, and a scalpel— very artisanal. Sorry singularity people, but it’s going to take a little longer than you thought for our robot masters to take over.

Next on our agenda is showing off our Clickr projects at the ShenZhen Maker Faire. Believe it or not, our mentors sprung it on us that we wouldn’t be working on our projects for the first week at all, but starting new hardware companies from scratch. We had to work apart in different teams and we ended up creating similar logos and products quite by accident. Abe and I were just meant to be together.

We’ve had a bit of time to explore ShenZhen and we’re pleasantly surprised by the quality of food and diversity of offerings. We have discovered a cafe with excellent espresso and wifi, late hours, and an English speaking staff. It offers a great respite from the chilly weather in ShenZhen right now. In addition, after the Clickr Project we were treated to famous “NYPD Pizza:” delicious and quite passable as pizza, even though there was a surprising amount of barbeque sauce.

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