Welcome to our first ever “mega episode” here on Manufacturing Happy Hour, a 3-part interview with Nick Pinkston, one of the more fascinating people in the manufacturing world. If you’re not already familiar with Nick, he has a great track record of leading hardware and manufacturing startups, while much of the rest of the world was preoccupied with the software side of the tech world. Currently, he’s the Founder and CEO of Volition, a marketplace dedicated specifically to industrial components.
Part 1, today’s episode, is backstory. Part 2 will really focus on Nick’s perspective on manufacturing, hard tech startups, and the future of the industry. In Part 3, we’ll hear about Nick’s experience with his previous company Plethora and the realities of manufacturing startups.
In this episode, we’ll hear about Nick’s background and what it was like growing up and being surrounded by manufacturing. Nick shares how he started his career in Pittsburgh while elaborating on his mission for accelerating innovation and the way manufacturing gets done. Finally, we’ll learn about his latest venture Volition.
3 Quick Things from this Episode
- In software, it’s easy to iterate on a product design. In manufacturing, it’s more difficult because it’s a physical product.
- “Technology is tools. Technology is standard of living.” –Nick Pinkston
- Searching for and selecting an engineered component is more complex that buying a t-shirt on the internet. Volition is helping address this challenge by organizing the world’s parts via their industrial component marketplace.
Please Scroll Down for Full Show Notes and Recommended Resources from this Episode
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What We Discuss with Nick
- A big part of Nick’s mission is to accelerate the pace of innovation and hardware manufacturing
- Volition helps organize the world’s parts; searching for and selecting an engineering component is more complex that buying a t-shirt on the internet
- Nick came from a manufacturing background and both of his grandfathers were in the industry
- One of the most formative moments in Nick’s career was moving to Pittsburgh and being exposed to urban life and the hacker movement; later, he moved to the Bay Area
- Volition, making hardware as easy as software, an online marketplace dedicated specifically to industrial components
- Hub that ‘Organizes the World’s Components’ is Coming for Industrial, an article about Volition in Industrial Distribution, written by Anna Wells
- How the World of Hardware Will Soon Transform Like Software, keynote presentation by Nick Pinkston
- Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, by Eric Drexler
- Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop, by Neil Gershenfeld
- Church Brew Works, former church in Pittsburgh, PA that’s now a lofty space for house-brewed beers, plus a mix of pizza, pierogi, and bratwurst
- Grist House Craft Brewery, another craft brewery right outside of Pittsburgh in Millvale with an elite patio
- Dancing Gnome Brewery, industrial brewery taproom pouring craft beers in inviting digs and a “Kolsch Night” on Tuesdays