How Eve was started? Our founding story from unpublished interview :)


Hello Eve Family!

I have recently given a lengthy interview to a German magazine but it takes them ages to publish the story. As you are our community mebers I thought that it would be great to share the interview with you about how Eve was started before the journalist publishes it :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I kept the same Q&A format to make story easier to read:)

So, let’s begin!

Q: tell us something about yourself.

A: My co-founder Mike and I are real tech geeks, every time there is a new device around we are the first ones to get it. We breathe and live tech in that sense. Right now there are 24 people all experts of their field in Eve with experience in Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi OnePlus, etc. And right now our team is more confident than ever that we can change the way this industry works and devices are developed.

About me

I was born in Ukraine and came to Finland to study Business and IT. Things didn’t go as planned with studies and Eve was born.
Actually, I am the youngest guy in our team. I’m 22 and have started Eve while I was studying in the University. The rest of team members have a much longer background in this industry like Michael, ex Art director of OnePlus and our mentors from Intel and other tech giants. I initially came to Finland to study but ended up starting Eve during the last year of studies. I have had a lot of manufacturing and sourcing experience before I started Eve and my studies. I started as an interpreter in international exhibitions, like Hong Kong electronics fair when I was 13. Later I became sourcing director and supply chain manager of a big Ukrainian company. That’s the period when I gathered most of the connections and experience to start Eve.

How the idea of Eve was born?

Well, it all starts with how founders met. I and Mike have met at the poker table! One late, winter day I was playing poker and one guy wanted to join the table. We let him in and he kept winning all night long. That guy was a clear tech geek and economics enthusiast. After a game, we starting bouncing back and forth countless business ideas that we have generated over years. We busted a lot of each other ideas starting from online services, robot pizzas, and electric vacuum cleaners, the discussion got hot. In the end of the night, it was evident that if we would ever start a business together it would certainly be a tech company. Tech is our passion so the tech was the way to go. That’s how I met Mike, my co-founder.

In the end of the day, we still did not have any particular business idea. At some point, I was considering buying a tablet and when I made my research online there were 2 options: tastelessly designed, poorly performing, full of bloatware “affordable” device or Apple iPad. ell as a tech geek with a lot of sourcing experience I know that both options were terrible. Apple products are nice but are terribly overpriced while others conceal all kinds of bugs, flaws, etc under an “affordable” price tag. Why I put affordable in " is because they were not that cheap really. So as an end user I had no other option as overpaying for Apple iPad that had questionable value for its price. I shared my frustrations with Mike and there was our eureka moment! it was something like this:

Konstantinos: Man, I really can’t find a tablet that I would really want to buy. Everything is terribly designed, has miserable performance and comes loaded with bloatware unless you are willing to pay a lot for Apple device.

Mike: I wish there was a company that would make devices not to maximize investor returns but to meet the needs of tech enthusiasts like us. Is it really that hard to make devices that have great performance, no bloatware, and inspiring design.

Konstantinos: Mike, I know it will sound crazy but what if we were the one? But in addition to best performance, design, and no-bloatware policy we would add affordable price!

And that’s how we got started.

From my previous distribution experience, I knew it was possible to achieve substantially better price than the competition by selling devices online only and spending less on ads and long distribution channel. For example, Samsung S6 edge costs approx. 260 USD to produce and retails at 900 EUR here in Finland. Some people would think that it’s Samsung that makes huge profits with their device but that’s not the case. 900 EUR price tag comes out of the sea of the middle man involved in the process. There is a distributor, retailer, whole seller, etc, etc between Samsung and the end user. Each middle man wants to enjoy a meaty margin. Consequently, device ends up being overpriced. Also, Samsung has spent around 18 billion dollars on marketing last year, which also slightly increase the price:) We have Samsung ads all around Helsinki. Feels like Samsung city sometimes:)

And that’s how we got started.

Well, starting a tech company that would compete with Multi-billion competitors is no easy task. We had to start somewhere. We decided to

It was a crazy ambitious plan. It felt like we were David challenging giant Goliath!

The only thing we knew is that you can’t beat giant like Samsung in their own game. You can’t outspend them on ads and outsell them in retail. To be able to compete we have to drastically change our approach and the way we do business.

We had to start somewhere. We decided that we will create an ultimate 8 inch Windows tablet that will have the best value out there. That’s how Eve T1 was born.
We had to do a lot of things, starting from building our team, securing funding and finding manufacturing partners. I will not go deep into this as I can write a book about our T1 experience. To summarize we were able to build the team, sell a lot of T1s worldwide and get some press coverage. It was a nice start T1s biggest competitor was Dell Pro 8 that cost 300 euros. T1 came at 159 with similar spec:) . T1 proved that a small passionate team can build and launch the device in the market and sell it cheaper due to direct sales model.

How did we arrive at the idea of crowd development?

As you might have noticed I have not said anything about community development in previous sections. It is because it was born after T1 was launched.
As I have mentioned before T1 has received quite a lot of press coverage. And when the news was out we saw that there were a lot of users saying just like me and Mike in the beginning: “great value device, I wish there was … in it!”. After that, we have looked at other products by Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and we noticed the same pattern. Every time a new product is launched there is thousands of tech enthusiasts around the globe that say what they would improve or do differently if they were the original manufacturers of the device.

And here was another eureka moment!
“What if we would make our development process transparent and would just ask the end users how their dream device should look like?”

You see most of the players in this industry were established decades ago and their management is simply not used to the new age of online. Companies like Samsung and Lenovo work under strict NDAs. The way device creating process goes for them is like this:

  1. Define the target market in detail. Who is the target user, what the behavior and what WE think HE/SHE needs?

  2. Then a couple of industrial design teams start working on the project. They are not gathering requirements from users directly. They do it by observing them, interviewing about various stuff. To sum it up, they are starting to play Sherlock Holmes style guessing game like :“What I would do if I was a tech geek?” (In my opinion it is really hard to understand what would certain target group would won’t if you are not representing them. ) Designers think that all you need is great looking slim device and sometimes they simply forget about things such as different viewing angles in the tablet (Dell XPS 12, Tab Pro S, Notebook) Also,they focus on what competitors do too much.

  3. Then the design team comes to engineers and management and tells: "Gentleman, we think we have designed a perfect device for a tech geek!"
    Engineers say it’s “IMPOSSIBLE,” management “TOO EXPENSIVE” and some random VP “Can we add a bit more chrome here?”

  4. After that, there is a battle between designers and engineers. They end up with some sort of Frankenstein, a mix between some baseline tech features and pieces of beautiful design. ( I call it a Frankenstein because at this stage end user does not see the device, they can’t provide feedback. Everything that design team thought is needed to make a perfect is now compromised by engineering limitations)

  5. After Frankenstein prototype is assembled it is once again presented to management and marketing dept. Yet another discussion.

    Management: Better, but still expensive! Can we use plastic instead of metal? Can we put cheaper SSD, etc?
    Marketing team: Can we add more logos there?

  6. And here is how the “flagship” is born!

So the whole thing has been compromised times and times, original intent has been lost and the end user was not understood.

We thought, what if the whole development process would be much more straight forward and transparent? What if we remove all of the bull#$%# from the process?

So here is how community development works:

  1. We ask all of the community members what would the product of your dreams be like? What RAM, ROM, Speakers, Display the device should have, etc.
  2. We gather all of the requirements and pass them to our technical team and manufacturing partners. They tell us what’s possible and what is not.
  3. We come back to the community with answers from tech team and decide which specs stay and which specs have to go.
  4. We do final sourcing and design refinements. Keep showing them to the community and asking their direct feedback refining the device further.
  5. Here is how the flagship killer is born :slight_smile:

The important thing here is that every time that somebody makes some suggestion in engineering, design or some other team, we validate it with the community. And if people really want some feature we will do everything in forces to make it happen. So no compromises at any stage of development!

This way we get the best 2-in-1 out there!

Q: I’d also add to this, how this device would be different if you alone decided about all the parts and not the community.

A: I can’t imagine what it would be really. The only thing I know it would be different and full of compromises! Why?

Because, as I have already described before during development when you come up with your perfect design/ spec, there is a huge amount of suggestions coming from designers, engineers, and business guys on what changes need to be made to make the device cheaper or easier to manufacture. And you can’t really argue with higher profit, and less engineering hours spent by saying “We can’t compromise this feature as users won’t like it” - this logic simply doesn’t work in big corporations.

In our case every time engineers say “IMPOSSIBLE” and our CFO says it’s too high BOM we tell them "Hey, let’s ask the community!"
And community always makes the right choice forcing engineers to work harder:)

For example, we had a huge internal “battle” going internally about active stylus pen. engineers said it is easier not to have it. Designers said that we don’t need it as we would rather make it 0.1 mm slimmer than add an active pen. Mike said he likes it but not sure if others want it. So we asked the community! Guess what, when we asked whether they would buy 2-in-1 without a pen 81% of people said NO! There was no reason to argue anymore. It was clear that pen is a must. It has been like that with most of the specs :blush: As it is very easy to figure perfect spec but veery hard to make actual trade-offs of each decision internally.

Q: Was it sometimes hard to accept that the community wanted a part and you thought differently about it?

A: Nope, never! Users always wanted features I was personally excited about. Maybe for engineers yes as they had to work harder :blush:

Q: Then, I’d like to ask about the idea and how you’ve achieved to get something useful from your community. Asking someone on the internet for an opinion is usually the worst thing to do. Why would you let users decide to build your product and how did you make sure that is really becomes something that is possible to build and still better than the average device built by other manufacturers?

A: Don’t offend our community, please! :blush:They are not random people from the internet. It feels like a big family. is packed with people who share the same passion for tech and want to create something meaningful. If you go to the community you will see that people provide very deep answers about why they would or wouldn’t like certain feature to be implemented.

Let’s say, if you were asked what would the perfect amount of RAM be for you in ▼. I am sure you would be able to give a concrete answer provided we gave you enough background info. We don’t have average dudes who are just hanging out in the community to kill time. We have people enthusiastic about tech and they know hat device they need.

The reason our device would be better than average device build by manufacturers is easy. Check out some average device customer and reviewer reviews and have a look how much things to improve it has. We eliminate those with the community. So if anything our device will not be average.

the way we get actual data out is by introducing the topic in details and then asking peoples opinion about it. Have a look at this thread as an example.

[STEP 2] Form factor chosen! Help us … - Eve Community
40 Community members invested their time to help us proceed with the development of Pyramid Flipper the way Eve Community wants. YOU ROCK guys!

[STEP 2] Form factor was chosen! Help us … - Eve Community
40 Community members invested their time to help us proceed with the development of Pyramid Flipper the way Eve Community wants. YOU ROCK guys!
Also in our community, we don’t have some random dudes.

Q: It would be also very interesting to know, how did you convince ODMs and hardware-manufacturers to actually build your hardware and trust you in that regard.

A: It was actually quite challenging. We ended up partnering with biggest and most experienced ODM in China. We also got offers from Pegatron, Apple vendor but we refused. So the way we did it was by good networking to get the doors open (we have some senior Intel executives and other experieced tech rebels in our team) and after that we told them “What if the end user would be in charge of the development? What if you would make the best device in the world with us?”. ODMs are in a very price sensitive market with our business model they have a chance to experience explosive growth.

Q: Later I’d like to talk about specifications of the device and also about the decision to use Windows. Why did the community choose it this OS etc? As we’re a Windows forum this question is obvious.

A: we went with Windows since we already had experience with it. Also, we believe that 2-in-1 devices are the future of computing. We agreed that it will be a 2-in-1 shortly after we launched T1 in a closed Whats App group with most loyal Eve fans. We just asked what device we should make next and people suggested a surface killer:) then we check market data and it became obvious that users were right again, it is a very interesting market segment.

As I said guys it’s quite long:) Feel free to share your thoughts!

Already a year ago, this article was published in Finland

Thanks for the likes guys :smiley: Let me know if you’d like to learn anything else!