Design Like No One Is Patenting — How SparkFun Stays Ahead of the Pack• Wired.com
SparkFun is a DIY hardware supplier. It makes its living by shipping kits and components like bread boards, servo motors and Arduino parts to a mixture of students, hobbyists, and professionals making prototypes. Most of the stuff they sell is sourced from other suppliers, but where the company has made its name is in a stable of its own custom parts and kits, the designs for which it gives away for free.
“Every time I hear that a class of 8th graders are learning how to blink LEDs I realize that we’re making a difference,” says CEO Nathan Seidle in a post celebrating the company’s 10th anniversary. “I also get the uneasy feeling that I could easily be replaced by a 15-year-old in a few years’ time.”