Developing Factories to Accelerate Building Hard Things | Hadrian

Episode 32 of S³

Industrial power is the base of any great civilization and Hadrian, our feature for Episode 32 of S³, is building the future of manufacturing in America.

A quick note on the growth of S³… It’s happening!

Last week we gained 5,000+ YouTube subscribers alone and this episode has >16,000 views in under 24 hours of being live! After 32 weeks of consistent and hard effort, it’s incredibly gratifying to begin to see S³ grow at a faster rate.

It’s even more gratifying to see brilliant people in the replies and comments of episodes sharing their opinions about the problems our featured startups are tackling — conversation and candid encouragement are the way.

Thank you all for the support and belief that we can build a better future. Now, let’s enjoy what appears to be an infliction point in growth for S³ and the deep tech community at large!

Imagine there was no AWS

For the unfamiliar, AWS (or Amazon Web Services), is a cloud computing platform offering a wide array of services, enabling startups to large enterprises to build, deploy, and scale applications quickly and efficiently. In effect, you don’t need to build and maintain massive servers and compute systems to deploy software applications to the world — AWS handles that for you.

I would argue that the software boom of the 2010s was driven in large part by AWS existing and making it a non-worry for developers, it freed up developers to solely focus on software and product versus server deployment.

In manufacturing, there is no AWS equivalent — that’s what Hadrian is aiming to build.

Even if you have the money to buy various components needed for your hardware getting the parts you need can be very difficult, sometimes impossible. If you are able to get your parts they'll likely take a long amount of time to arrive and will likely have defects due to the complexity of the parts.

Today, by creating a general automation and quality control solution for metal machined parts, Hadrian is working to (1) drastically speed up the time it takes to make (2) verify quality and (3) deliver parts quicker to customers.

From software to hardware

In my interview with Chris, he talked about his background in deploying software to assist with load-balancing large workforces for industrial companies. That experience was important for Chris to understand where and when software should be deployed to solve real-world problems.

As a storyteller of deep tech, I see one of my responsibilities as inspiring others to go build and work on deep tech companies. However, I often caveat this with "But you should probably get technical skill in your field of interest first,'“ I say this because many of the founders that I've met filming S³ who impress me most have done this. However, some haven't — for example, Elon Musk knew nothing about rockets before founding SpaceX. 

Chris doesn’t have direct hardware or manufacturing experience, yet he's tackling the massive and hairy problem of creating a fully vertical solution to automating CNC parts machining.

Reshoring manufacturing requires superpowers & a full-stack approach

We were lucky enough to release our episode on Hadrian the same week John Coogan released his in-depth video about Hadrian! I highly recommend you watch both our episode and his video as John goes in-depth about other Hadrian employees as well as the history of Hadrian.

“If you want to re-shore American manufacturing at a cost basis where you’re still able to pay Americans a good wage you have to give Americans super powers so they can compete globally. It’s not enough to give people tools to help automate the thing, you need to build full-stack manufacturing,” Chris explained in the episode.

Why re-shore? Because the industrial base of any great civilization is industrial power.

Why full stack? Because if you’re not building software solutions for your own use you’ll almost certainly build the wrong product. Also, you can go way faster in a closed-loop, single-customer (yourself in this case) solution.

In a nutshell…

Aaron Slodov, who I mentioned in the outro of this episode for his brilliant article on Techno Industrialism in Pirate Wires, brilliantly and succinctly summed up this episode in a single tweet:

4 days ago (February 21, 2024) Hadrian announced their $117M series B to majority fund their next large milestone of “copy-pasting” factories all across America.

Hadrian has a hell of a road ahead of them but after meeting Chris, watching John Coogan’s video, and seeing machines whir despite it being a Saturday morning I’m confident Hadrian will become a critical layer in the future of American manufacturing.

Keep on building the future,

— Jason