Phil’s specialty is to advise and lead small and large companies to bring their products to market quickly and cost effectively. One recent client with little product experience was able to introduce a line of products to the market in one-third the time that it has taken established electronics company. Another company with a product idea in the May was able to sell tens of thousands in that same year.
Phil Baker has 35 years experience in all facets of product development, including invention, design, engineering, industrial design, marketing, manufacturing and distribution. He has been responsible for more than 80 products ranging from consumer electronics, computers and computer accessories to mobile devices, printers, cameras, software and more. Phil has extensive experience in utilizing resources in Asia for cost-effective and fast-to-market product development and manufacturing.
Phil has played key roles in developing the innovative flag-ship technologies and products of many leading companies. He developed and implemented both product and market development strategies for Apple Computer, Seiko Instruments, Polaroid, Polycom, Proxima, Think Outside and others.
Phil Baker co-founded Think Outside, inventor and manufacturer of the most popular PDA accessory ever—the Stowaway folding keyboard. At Seiko Phil managed product development of consumer and computer products. At Apple he led development of the second- and third-generation Newton Message Pads, served as director of Entry PowerBooks and orchestrated Apple’s development and manufacturing strategy in Taiwan for portable products. At Polaroid Phil contributed to the development of dozens of products, including the SX-70 camera, professional and consumer cameras, ID systems and more.
Currently, Phil writes the “On Technology” column for the San Diego Daily Transcript and maintains a blog, which feature product reviews, the latest gadgets, travel tech and commentary based on having developed scores of products. In 2008 he published a book based on his professional experience in product development and marketing, From Concept to Consumer: How to Turn Ideas Into Money (FT Press has a free excerpt online). Phil also contributes articles and reviews to journals, including the Huffington Post and IndustryWeek.com.
What are you working on right now?
3 Trends that excite you?
Always-connected wireless, the increasing opportunities for small entrepreneurial companies to successfully compete with the largest ones, doing more with less by leveraging Asia.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Wrote a book about it: From Concept to Consumer that spells it all out.
- Use small focused teams
- Over communicate
- Do what you do best and use others do what they do best
What is one mistake that you made, and what did you learn from it?
Selecting the wrong Asian partner. Insist on the A team.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Small companies developing most consumer products should forget about patents. They provide false assurance, suck up huge amount of funds, and rarely help.
What’s the most important elements to a successful product development?
- A clear product definition
- People, particularly the project manager
- Fast decision making
What makes a product successful?
It provides great functionality that people want at a price that they will pay. It’s reliable and easy to use and is unencumbered with features rarely used or not needed.