5/15/2016

Andrew J. Dupree
2625 20th Street, San Francisco, 94110

Regina Dugan, VP of Engineering, building8
Facebook, Inc.
1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Ms. Dugan,

I’m getting in touch because I came across your posting for a project lead in the new building8 division. I was electrified. New hardware product development is what I do, and “a clear mandate to ship ambitious products at scale” sounds like the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I’ll tell you a bit about my background in leading hardware development efforts, my impatient and entrepreneurial spirit, and my love of business strategy and design thinking. I think you’ll agree I could be an excellent fit for the TPL role.

I’ve spent the past two years working at Mindtribe, a hardware product development consultancy. At Mindtribe, we engineer and ship products for hardware startups, innovation groups within massive companies, and everything in between. I began there as a hardware engineer, and leapt into the technical trenches. I’ve developed consumer electronics hardware from whiteboard concept to high-res prototype to high-volume manufacturing. I’ve seen the challenges of electrical, mechanical, and firmware engineering of ambitious, design-driven hardware firsthand, and I know how to push for top quality. Before long, I started to wear multiple hats as an engineering lead and project lead. I’ve collaborated with external design, manufacturing, and engineering partners, and managed teams of engineers. I’ve developed product requirements documents, translated that to an engineering spec and schedule, and then switched gears to architect, develop, and test the PCBs and embedded software myself. It’s been a wild ride.

 The Lyft Glowstache was the first product I worked on (and shipped!) at Mindtribe.

The Lyft Glowstache was the first product I worked on (and shipped!) at Mindtribe.

My “slight impatience” has had a chance to shine at Mindtribe. We hit a slow spell a year ago, and I wasn’t content to sit around and wait for work to come in. I designed, pitched, and executed a business development/marketing campaign involving outreach to local hardware startups. I hit the street all up and down Silicon Valley, finding teams that needed help and offering our services. We made countless great connections, and I’ve brought in two projects (over $30,000 in revenue)…and counting!

Before Mindtribe, I did a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at Stanford. My goal there was to learn everything it takes to make a great hardware product. I studied embedded hardware and software, mechatronics, and more. But more importantly, it was at Stanford I learned that it takes more than great engineering to create a great product. One class, Business Management for Engineers, opened my eyes to bigger questions critical to product success. We analyzed strategic positioning, markets, competitive forces, and more, and drafted strategic recommendations for companies like HTC and Nissan. I aced the class, and the professor invited me to TA the class next year. Another course, Design for Extreme Affordability, was equally eye-opening. The class’s crash course in Design Thinking truly impacted me. Design Thinking gives you the tools to deeply understand your user and to rapidly iterate on product concepts until you arrive at a creative solution. I had the opportunity to apply these learnings while conducting user research in India and prototyping a connected ag-tech product.

I have a strong entrepreneurial streak, which manifested during my last six months at Stanford. I applied my engineering, business, and design experience to launch a startup concept. It began with the idea of an inexpensive smart outlet and grew quickly. I recruited friends, and together we developed a basic strategy, business plan, and prototype. We pitched our startup to several incubators and were accepted into YCombinator’s summer 2014 class. We ultimately ended the project, but it was still a thrilling taste of new product development.

Our early prototype of our inexpensive smart outlet.

I’m not just getting in touch because I love hardware and feel qualified for the TPL role. I’m also a huge fan of Facebook’s mission to “help people connect and share.” Connecting people worldwide has been my passion since I was 11 years old and running a web community out of my basement. These aren’t just words – I can back it up. First, in 2011, I wrote a proposal to the National Science Foundation to develop an inexpensive smartphone to connect people in developing countries. I was awarded their Graduate Research Fellowship, which afforded me the opportunity to go to Stanford. But before I went to Stanford, I took a year off and went to Haiti. There I worked for an IT non-profit called Inveneo. We built out Internet infrastructure (an inexpensive, long-distance WiFi backbone) all over the country, installed computer labs in schools, and connected those labs to the Internet. Finally, I’ve already mentioned my experience taking Design for Extreme Affordability at Stanford. Once more, I worked to apply my engineering skill to bring great hardware worldwide.

Facebook is an amazing and inspiring player in connecting people all over the world, and I would be honored to be a part of the team. Additionally, I believe my experience leading multi-partner product development projects, analyzing businesses and opportunities, and engineering hardware makes me a very strong candidate. I’m excited to learn more about the TPL position. At your convenience, please e-mail me at ajdupree@alumni.stanford.edu or call me at 301-219-0272.

Yours Truly,
Andrew J. Dupree