2021: Year in Review
It is officially New Years Eve, 2021... I don't know about the rest of you, but I am READY for 2022! (Or, as I call it: 2020, attempt #3)
Let's take a minute today to step through the year at tincubate to celebrate some milestones, recap some of the challenges and talk about goals for the upcoming year!
Watch the video, or read the summary below (or both!)
Circuit Boards Designs
In 2021, we designed at least 15 boards, all MCU-based!
5 are our own projects (Spensor v1/v2, Midge, Spider, Power tinc)
2 are partner projects
8 are client projects
For manufacturing, we manufactured through PCB Way, JLC PCB and full CM partners. Some boards were assembled at PCB Way, some at our CM partners and some hand-assembled here in-house at the tincubator!
Unfortunately, for the mechanical designs we did in 2021, I simply can’t count them. There are dozens, and most have several iterations. I think the most interesting/challenging mech design we did was creating the Spider system with a ramp, a core and a lid.
We also added several new 3D printers into the tincubator this year, partially due to COVID work-from-home, where we have more remote team members than ever and we don't always work from the same spot! We also had an increase in mechanical work to do, both for client projects and pet projects internally to put those printers to work!
We joined TikTok this year and somehow over the course of 8 months we have built up a community of 11K followers on TikTok! #techtok is booming, my friends, even when you're old like us.
Our most viewed video was randomly talking about the NMI Feather, with 161K views and counting. Personally, my favourite videos are always the compilation videos that just feel like they match the energy and enthusiasm we have at our work each day!
We have also built up 100 subscribers on YouTube – much less than TikTok but you need to start somewhere! We've been posting weekly roundups (almost) every week for a few months, talking about subjects that come up that week at the tincubator or in our social media community.
We're also still on IG, Twitter and LinkedIn but honestly we may drop 1 or 2 of those this year to focus on where the engagement is. We want to interact more than post pretty pictures!
In March 2021 we officially rebranded to tincubate! I'm not going to mention the old operating name because, frankly, I never liked it and it doesn't need to be uttered again. On the client side we worked with a great mix of different sized companies, big multinational corporations and startups - I love the different challenges that come up working with businesses of various sizes.
Also in March, Sparkfun Electronics launched their LoRa Thing Plus expLoRaBLE product, which we designed for them. That was a very fun partnership that you can read all about on our blog here. We developed so many great partnerships this year that are just starting to get going. If you’re in the business of business, partnerships and open collaborations are so much more fruitful than being closed and competitive in this space!
For our BOWdometer project, which is a commercialized archery tech sensor based on our Spensor sports tech platform, we had a pretty fun year! At least 6 Olympic archers were using our BOWdometer tech product to train for the Tokyo Olympics, including one silver medal winner! BOWdometer helped archers around the world track over a million shots this year, and we're aiming to double that in 2022. In September, our first Open Platform collaboration launched with Artemis, the world's best high-performance archery training app.
COVID-19 has been an obvious challenge for every business, especially small businesses like ours. Particularly, I miss networking events, in-person business development and spontaneous chats that lead to great collaborations. We've put a lot of effort in logistics this year for meetings and development but it's just not the same as in-person. I'm excited about when we can get back to safe, useful in-person mingling!
The global component shortage hurdles just kept getting amplified as the year went on this year. I am hopeful that the end is in sight and the supply chain can catch up to demand. We've spent a lot of time learning this year and we've got a much better handle on how to work within the current constraints now that we've worked through so many challenges.
Amazon’s AWS IOT Core has been the bane of our existence for the last few months, but that will have to be another topic for another day. It's a great reminder of the fact that even the huge companies struggle with consistency, reliability and stability - and relying on these systems can have huge benefits but also add huge complexity for bringing solutions to market.
Most of the team is remote and spread out in the province, which is hard with hardware. We're getting better at it, but without question it's much easier to collaborate, share equipment and work on prototypes faster when people are co-located centrally in the tincubator!
#1 for us right now is growing the tincubate team, including sales leadership and tech tinkerers, especially embedded firmware folks. We're still a small team with huge accomplishments under our belt, but we have some gaps to fill and we're excited to be able to work on that in 2022.
We do tons of clients work that gets to market eventually. But, there's nothing as fun as bringing your own solutions into a new market! Commercializing another product or concept is high up on our list this year. Hopefully it will be our pet project we call the "tincs" concept and/or our Spensor open platform for you all to collaborate in the development process!
Obviously, building up a community of tech and electronics enthusiasts is a huge part of who we are. We hope to get more content on YouTube, especially for the serious hobbyists who want to build things at home or the enthusiastic entrepreneur thinking of starting the fun journey of building a business using tech products.
This just in...
In 2020, some of our tech was featured at CES in the Ambiq lounge. We've just found out that in 2022, there’s a possibility of our tech being there again... so stay tuned in January to see how it all turns out!
Thank you all for being part of our journey, we can't wait for 2022 and beyond! Happy New Year to you all!
tincubate supports a variety of different initiatives all being incubated together. We incubate our own ideas into solutions people can buy, and we help incubate other people's ideas into solutions they can own. We also own and operate a collective space where entrepreneurs and businesses can grow their ideas into reality, called the tincubator.
If you have a project you want to explore, reach out today.