Mid 1994 I started with a small developer/manufacturer of add-on cards, data switching and cabling products, tele selling to PC retailers. Catapulted into the sales directors shoes shortly after he left, I needed a new marketing strategy able to run on a very lean budget.
I used product development unashamedly as a way to get free reviews in Computer Magazines, in a time before the formal internet, Google, trending or Facebook. My initial offerings certainly got the company noticed, the second of which could extend a Parallel Data Cable from an industry accepted 10m to 305m+
Working with minimal budgets and needing to increase my odds of success, my products then and now are based upon existing knowledge and available parts. Developing a perspective that sees innovation as a better alternative to full invention.
Able to view the market from the salesman’s/technicians point of view and equally that of design/manufacturing, enabled me to present the case for some very innovative and profitable products. That often included my own unique twist benefiting the customer through improved features, cost reductions or both.
In answer to a custom short order for 4/8 Port Multi-User Serial Card (@£520/ea) in 1994, I proposed a new simplified design that would replace the 26cm long interface card and its 105 operating address selection switches, with a single plug-in programmable EPROM and 1 dip switch.
Dropped into the Project Management role rather than introduced to it, this new product would need to meet budget/resources limitations, a relatively short delivery schedule and be able to convince the customer that this untried product was for them. A guarantee of functionality and significant cost saving, proved acceptable.
Although reducing pricing from £525 to a mere £135, the reduction in component costs, manufacturing and testing resulted in a far more profitable product for us. Adding “design fluff” to improve the products aesthetics could have raised it’s pricing but I did not explore this option.
Completing the initial order on-time and with 6 units spare for evaluation. These were sent to those who had show an interest while doing early market research. However it was pure chance that I dropped upon a requirement for an immediate 160 pieces with 160+ to follow. Making OCTOBUS the companies largest and most profitable new product.