“…partnerships and having an ecosystem are far more important today…”: Q&A with Kevin Sellers, Avnet

How a partnership is aiming for a new level of engagement with makers and engineers

Editor’s Note:  Recently Kevin Sellers, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Global Marketing & Communications, Avnet, spoke with EECatalog about why Avnet has partnered with Not Impossible Labs to sponsor Podcast: Not Impossible. Podcast episodes explain how engineers and makers are changing lives, and no, that phrase is not being used lightly, as I learned in listening to the podcasts. Edited excerpts of our conversation follow.

EECatalog: What has been the reaction to the Not Impossible Labs podcast from the element 14 and hackster.io communities?

Kevin Sellers, Avnet: One of the guys that runs our hackster.io community sent me a note saying, “this is like manna from heaven.” When you engage with something like this, when you bring a social cause to bear by leveraging technology to solve that problem, it is such a different level of engagement for engineers. What we are highlighting with these podcasts is the idea: “How can we use technology to solve some of the world’s biggest problems?”

EECatalog: Something I picked up on in listening to the podcasts is the realization that problems are being addressed by individuals who come together to figure it out—it’s not about the lone genius.

Sellers, Avnet: I am glad you bring that up because it is so endemic of the world we live in today and the way that technology has evolved. While the opportunity to solve problems has never been more readily available, given the level of complexity, take IoT solutions for example, the idea of partnerships and having an ecosystem are far more important today than even a few years ago.

A music concert for the deaf this September will be sponsored by Avnet, which also sponsors Podcast: Not Impossible. (Source: https://www.podcastnotimpossible.com/)

EECatalog: How does Avnet’s support of Not Impossible Labs fit within Avnet’s strategy?

Sellers, Avnet: Sponsoring the Not Impossible Labs podcasts and the Not Impossible Awards supports our strategy because it allows us to talk about what we do very authentically and in a way that generates a lot of interest.

Not Impossible Labs is a company that I have known about, and they were looking for a partner. They have these amazing ideas, but they are in the same situation that many Avnet customers are in, which is, “I have this great idea; I have proven that it works, now how do I get it to market?”  They do not know how to scale the solution. So [Not Impossible] came looking for help and when they saw what it is that Avnet does and the ecosystem of capability that we have assembled, they were very enthusiastic.

We are equally excited to work with them because now we get to demonstrate our capabilities to create solutions that are going to have real human impact.

EECatalog: What else  do you see taking place as the Avnet and Not Impossible Labs partnership moves forward?

Sellers, Avnet: My goal is to change the way people think about what Avnet is and what we do—moving from the point of view of thinking of us as a hardware distributor to  realizing that we are a full solution provider that brings products and solutions to the market that have a real impact on people’s lives.

We have products in development now with Not Impossible Labs, that you’ll be hearing about this fall. Plus, in addition to sponsoring the podcast series, Avnet will be sponsoring a music concert for the deaf with Not Impossible in September. It’s going to be really cool and again underscores our objective of working together to bring about life changing solutions.

EECatalog: What do you want design engineers, makers, and other stakeholders in the Avnet community to take away when they learn more about how and why Avnet is supporting Not Impossible Labs’ mission?

Sellers, Avnet: We want to give engineers and makers the vision that they can apply their craft to do things that change the world and that we will be their partner all along the way. We will guide them through the process and help turn their idea into a real product and then scale that product to market.

EECatalog: Anything else to add before we wrap up?

Sellers, Avnet: One of the reasons I was excited to get the podcast series started was to bring this unique content into our own engineering communities, hackster.io and element 14, to inspire and motivate them to reach further in exploring new designs and solutions to improve the world.

Their numbers are growing; with hackster.io and element14, we recently crossed the one million members mark. We are hitting a critical scale number. Content that is interesting and motivational also attracts new members. When engineers and makers see the types of projects that are happening on these community sites, it gives them a reason to join and motivates them to engage with others, making the communities more interactive and beneficial to all members.



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