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True Believers: The Fettermans Attend Haxlr8r In Shenzhen, China

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The team attended Haxlr8r, a hardware accelerator in Shenzhen, China, and currently have the fastest launching Kickstarter project “Nomku” in the food category to bring sous vide into your kitchen.

By Lisa Q. Fetterman (Co-Founder, Nomiku)

A week into our 111-day hardware incubator program, Haxlr8r, in Shenzhen, China, my then-fiancé and I were living in a world of slack-jawed euphoria.

We had put our beloved full-time jobs on hold and made the leap to work exclusively on our dreams. It felt truly romantic – it was us against the world. We were trying to manufacture our unique product in an exotic landscape. Only I could speak the language and it was as if we had really become each other’s whole lives. The way we co-depended on each other was intoxicating and beautiful.

While in San Francisco, watching Abe tackle the engineering solo as our technical co-founder and going to another full-time job always made me feel helpless. I wanted help him. In Shenzhen, we discovered the amazing electronics market and it laid on me to find the best parts within an insanely tight budget, and I relished the responsibility. Soon I’d be browsing around and shopkeepers would greet me by name.

During our last month in China, we were down to our last $20 and I had trouble keeping down food because I was so totally bombed out from stress. Rapid prototyping took its toll on Abe as well – he had lost fifteen pounds. Miraculously, we received a boost in funding to pull us through our last round of prototyping. At that point, we took a look at each other’s sallow faces and decided it was time to take a breather and go on a mini-break to Thailand.

We called up our only friend there, Bam Suppipat, a maker who attended one of our DIY sous vide classes a year ago at NYC Resistor. At the time, he was training at the French Culinary Institute to be a chef and so we knew we’d have something to bond over. However, what we didn’t know was that he also had an industrial design degree from RISD. We were only supposed to catch up over one meal but we ended up spending every moment of our trip together and Bam become our design co-founder.

Refreshed and inspired, the three of us pulled through the last leg of the program to create a beautiful and functional prototype.

Abe and I raced back to the United States to get married and then to a honeymoon we had planned a year in advance, long before Haxlr8r was even a twinkle in our eye. We arrived back in San Francisco right before demo day. Our Kickstarter for Nomiku also launched that day and we surpassed $100K, half of our goal, in the first three days.

Our livelihoods and our dreams coming true are still up in air, but our marriage and friendships allow us to stand on solid ground. My closest relationship started, grew, and saved my company and I vowed on June 9, 2012 I’d be committed forever.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Lisa Q. Fetterman is the co-founder of Nomiku, the most approachable immersion circulator ever for sous vide cooking in your kitchen. She is an avid homecook and hacker. Lisa came to The States in 1994 and triple majored in Journalism, Metropolitan Studies, and American Studies at NYU. She’s written for Hearst Corporation, New York Magazine, The Daily News, SMITH Magazine, and countless other publications and blogs. Follow her on Twitter at @eatnomiku.