Thursday October 19th

Thanks to Jason Vaccarello for joining us in the midterm review.

Here is my assessment of the day:

Everyone did an overall great job. Those of you who pivoted to a new topic or problem area made the right call – of course, you've got a lot of catching up to do. From here on out you are engaged in all aspects of development simultaneously – design refinement, fact-finding with manufacturers, story development, community engagement, cost development, skill development, communication and marketing asset creation – and you don't want to leave any one area untouched for more than a week.

From here on out, update your slide deck every single week. Refine each of the required slides as you develop your design – details and assumptions will change as you learn about costs, constraints, and receive feedback from your community.

Hypothesis Statements: Those of you who creatively dissected your statement to make more room for detail did so in ways that exceeded my expectations. That was great work.

Community Map: Two tendencies here that need adjusting. 1) Pair down the communities to those that will make up your early adopters and get rid of all mention of large, broadly defined groups. The more focussed you are the easier you will find it to create messages that resonate with your target market of early adopters. 2) Develop your value statement by describing the reason why an early adopter wants to give you money for the solution you've developed. There may be multiple reasons and that is okay. List them all in your map.

Animations and videos: These were almost unanimously weak.

Add a slide on cost: Over the next week and a half I expect you to develop your costs in two ways, bottom-up and top-down. The bottom-up approach aims at developing real costs and requires that you fin costs from suppliers and service providers so that you can fill in a sheet like the one we did 10/12 in our break-even calculation session. In my opinion the bottom-up approach is the only way to develop a real cost (and subsequently a price) for your product. The bottom-down approach involves looking at comparable value propositions, products, solutions and figuring how your solution fits into that landscape of prices. At best this gives you an estimate of what people might pay for something based on current market activity. DO BOTH.


10/25 – I will be in China and you have the day to get work done out in the world. Please make the most of the open studio time to visit suppliers, factories, interact with your community, attend a trade show ... anything that is usually difficult to squeeze in during the workweek.

11/2 – Lighting presentations. Include all of your required slides and make sure to add a slide for cost. Even if you do not have all of your cost information yet, you must complete a break-even calculation. Use estimates in place of factual numbers where necessary. Do your best to highlight areas of change in your presentation so that we can easily see what is new. Talk about the things that you've learned and the questions that you have for us. The rest of the class period will be studio time.

ClassesTed Burdett