Turning Nothing Into Something: Breaking Into Hardware


People often say that building a hardware company is like “playing on hard mode”. Building a hardware company during a global pandemic, with the unpredictability of supply chains and markets, is harder than hard. Trying to penetrate the phone market in particular – where only a few players own almost all the market share – is REALLY hard.

In today’s episode we chat with Carl Pei, founder of Nothing. Between Nothing and previously co-founding OnePlus, Carl has twice managed to do what many others have failed to do. Nothing has sold over 1m units and built a team of over 400. In this episode, Carl chats with us about why he’s at it again, what it takes to successfully build hardware, and how he thinks about making technology fun again.


  • 02:11 – The hardware market
  • 02:53 – Breaking into the phone market
  • 05:19 – Securing factories and stakeholders
  • 07:39 – Differentiating products
  • 10:32 – Hardware design
  • 11:53 – Strengthening software proposition
  • 16:04 – Table stakes
  • 17:49 – Marketing and Youtube
  • 19:34 – Underestimating the value chain
  • 21:50 – Manufacturing
  • 23:27 – Supply chain
  • 26:05 – Remote work
  • 27:36 – The future of hardware
  • 30:45 – Breakthrough hardware
  • 32:35 – Making tech fun again


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