Iron renaissance

Original author: Paul Graham
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One of the benefits of Y Combinator is that we see trends much earlier than most people. In the latest wave of startups we sponsored, one such trend is visible. Seven out of eighty-four companies are involved in iron. It's a lot. And in general, their successes are above average.

Of course, iron-based startups run into investor resistance. Investors have a deep-seated prejudice against them. But investor opinion is only a secondary indicator. The most talented founders see the future far better than the most discerning investors, because they themselves create it.

This trend does not have a single driving force. Hardware projects are doing well on crowdfunding sites. The proliferation of tablets and smartphones opens up opportunities for creating devices,controlled by them, or even including them in themselves. The technology for the production of electric motors is improving . Wireless networks are almost everywhere. It has become easier to organize production. Arduino, 3D printing, laser cutters and affordable CNC milling machines make prototyping easy. Distribution is becoming less of a problem as people buy more and more on the Internet.

I can answer the question of why it suddenly became cool to produce iron. In fact, it was always cool. Things that you can touch are wonderful. Just until recently, it was far from such a wonderful way to build a fast-growing business as software. But the situation may change. It happened not so long ago, around 1990. It may turn out that the advantage of software companies was temporary. Hackers love to make physical devices, and consumers love to buy them. Therefore, if the ease of production and distribution of iron comes close to the ease of production and distribution of software, "iron" startups grow like mushrooms after rain.

This is not the first time that what once was a bad idea suddenly turns out to be a good one. And this is not the first time that the founders have taught investors a lesson.

So, if you want to create physical devices, don't let the fear that investors look at you askance. Specifically, we, Y Combinator, will only be happy if you come to us with an "iron" startup.

We firmly believe that in history there is a place for the second Steve Jobs. And almost certainly we know that for the first <подставьте своё имя>too.

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