How to Run a Hardware Business as an Expat with Sean Hadley

We chat with Sean Hadley, founder of MagicDAQ, which is a professional data acquisition and testing tool that can be scripted with Python. He talks about how he lives as an expat in New Zealand selling primarily back into the United States. Additionally, he tells us what has worked for marketing, sales, and coming up with a good price for his product.
Sean gives his reasons for moving to New Zealand and starting his company, MagicDAQ. He was inspired to create the MagicDAQ after working for companies where many hours of labor were spent on manual testing. The MagicDAQ automates the testing and data acquisition process by allowing users to script the process with Python.

Sean had success making early sales by cold-calling potential customers on LinkedIn. Specifically, he sought out junior to medium-level design engineers to contact. After selling the first few, he talked to other hardware entrepreneurs to learn how to scale. Specifically, he had success sending free samples to influencers and periodicals, like the Embedded Muse.

The MagicDAQ relies on Python for scripting, and Sean chose that language to make it easier to use.

Harris asks Sean about distribution back into the United States, which is one of Sean’s target markets. Sean says that it’s been pretty simple to sell back into the United States, which involves some extra paperwork. Harris talks about what is required to have the “Made in the USA” label.

Sean discusses what the startup and electronics community looks like in Christchurch, New Zealand. He mentions that the community is small but friendly and collaborative.

Sean talks about pricing his product. Specifically, he mentions that many companies have a threshold of $500-$1000 when it comes to purchasing equipment. Anything above that threshold often requires lots of approvals from management. So, Sean prices his product under that amount to make it easier for his B2B customers to buy.

Being listed with recognized distributors, such as Digi-Key, works as social proof according to Sean. He mentions that sells more directly, but being listed on distributors helps with brand recognition.

We want to thank Cyber City Circuits for sponsoring this episode! Cyber City Circuits is an electronics shop and contract manufacturer based in Augusta, GA. Use the coupon code HELLOBLINKSHOW to receive 10% off your order of electronics or mention that you heard about them on the Hello Blink Show for a 25% discount on the assembly costs of manufacturing.
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Guest Information
Sean Hadley is a New Zealand based entrepreneur and design engineer. He has extensive experience in the medical device industry and has launched products in the US, NZ, and the UK. He is the founder of MagicDAQ, a firm that offers radically simple testing solutions for hardware engineers. 
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License Information
“Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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© Skal Risa, LLC and Kenny Consulting Group, LLC | Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)