Bre Pettis at HIW: “If you just listen, and iterate, you move forward faster.”

It’s amazing how hundreds of people can come together from all over the world for a single day — and common themes emerge.

One of those themes, at today’s Hardware Innovation Workshop, was iteration — how products benefit from the ability to make new versions quickly.

Another theme that’s emerging is the importance of experience — how the real product in many hardware devices is the human experience of it. Carla Diana, founder, of the Smart Interaction Lab, talked about how smart objects can deliver not just data, but knowledge.

The two speakers from the home security device Canary, James Krause and Jon Troutman, hit the “experience” theme hard, advising hardware entrepreneurs to sell the vision and the experience first, not the features.

Later, Sean Petterson, president and CEO, Strong Arm Technologies, and Bre Pettis, of MakerBot, returned to the idea of iteration. The vest Petterson invented to help people lift safely turned out nothing like his early prototypes. The idea gelled only after his tested it, and tested it, and tested it.

“Get your end user to design your product for you,” he advised.

Pettis showed how his line of 3D printer products have evolved through frequent iteration.

“If you just listen, and iterate,” he said, “You move forward faster.”