Tag Archives: job

Falling back in love with my product

19 Feb

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It’s been a long year. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve had the trials and tribulations, I’ve faced having to give up on my dream, and I’ve really come to find what start-up stress can be.

Over the last six months my mentors at Accelerate Cambridge have pushed me hard – marketing, team building, raising finance, developing sales pipelines, market segmentation, partnerships and product development – something I will be forever grateful for.

Thanks to them I’ve been able to concentrate on not only creating an amazing product, but at the same time a sustainable business. A lot of people believe that if a product is incredible then there’s no need for a business. I’ve found this to not be true. Creating value propositions, promotional documents, websites, sales structures and pitches – these all help you to identify, reach and streamline the purchasing experience for the customer, helping them from “Oh I’ve never heard of this!” to “This product is awesome”.

Without defining your customer, how you will find them, how they will find you, how you will make enough money to keep improving the product, etc – much less people will be able to enjoy what you create.

That being said the last two weeks I’ve been slowly realising how I’d gradually been falling out of love with my product Rize – (app integrating therapeutic concepts into interactive exercises to support mental well-being). My thoughts have been engrossed for months in deadlines, strategies, timelines and milestones. I had barely spent any time appreciating the quality of what I was creating for myself (beyond thinking “What would the user think of this?”).

Now, we have reached the big milestone – The launch of Rize is at hand! Rize will be ready on iPhone, Android, Tablet and iPad for the 5th March..just a few weeks away. I’ve had a small bit of space to think. At first I panicked – thinking I should be filling this space in my brain with sales, marketing, strategies for maximising downloads – and although believe me I’m filling a lot of my time with this still I’ve found that these parts of work just won’t fit in the space I’m describing.

So I took the advice of my ever patient girlfriend and tried this relaxing thing all the kids are talking about. I started to reflect on every thing I’ve achieved (and admittedly began to stress over everything I haven’t).

The most important thing is that I’ve come back to looking at my product – the app – and have started congratulating myself on getting here. I’m now starting to get great feedback from the beta testers of Rize. Through the talks I’ve been giving to large audiences people have reached out to me and suggested potential partnerships with existing health platforms. I’ve even been invited to pitch Rize to the Duke of Edinburgh at an event called ‘Pitch at the Palace’! We’ve been featured in Cambridge News and the Huffington Post and our twitter followers increase steadily by the day.

I may not have started to generate revenue yet – I don’t have an apartment of my own like I had hoped for, I’m still considering the sainsburys meal deal as the treat of the week, but I’ve still come a long way. For that I’m proud.

And into the future I plan to walk forwards, hand in hand with my new tool for mental well-being. And together we will see what the world has in store for us.

[Rize will be available on all major iOS and Android platforms on 5th March. In order to stay up to date and be the first ones to download it please follow us on twitter: @rizenow]

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Return from holidays, recent achievements

12 Aug

Hey guys,

 

Just got back from very nice, well-deserved (if I do say so myself) holiday away from phones, meetings, and computers for a bit of R & R.

While I was away it gave me a chance to look back over the last few months of work, and I’ve realised that although day by day it feels like I’ve accomplished very little, using my holiday as a point to measure the distance between where I started and where I am now I’m able to see that I have achieved a number of things.

With BlueSkies we’ve now successfully held three collaborative events – producing reports for the conservation organisations asking for help, and creating partnerships with them each time. We’ve now worked with organisations in the UK, Nepal, India, and Iran in wildlife conservation. After my first three events I said to myself I’d start branching out to the big local conservation organisations in Cambridge and see if they can help me to develop, so I’ve arranged a meeting with one of the best for this goal – Cambridge Conservation Initiative, to discuss BlueSkies and how it can better achieve its aims.

As for the game I’m working on I now have a very talented team of designers, programmers, and mental health professionals who are happy to work for shares to create this game because they, like me have an optimistic outlook for the success of this project. Not only this but the Cambridge Accellerator program (http://www.accelerate.jbs.cam.ac.uk/accelerator/timetables-dates/) heard about my work from the Enterprise Alchemy event I attended (see previous post) and have asked me to pitch this project and my team for potentially being a part of the accellerator program in September.

What does this mean? It means three months of mentorship from already-successful entrepreneurs associated with Cambridge University, free office space, potential investment capital, and a 10k open salary to continue the project if they believe the game has potential to make it in the market.

Unfortunately I’ve received no reply from the app guy after I told him I wouldn’t pay in money for his programmer’s license, and wanted us to secure our agreements in a contract, so potentially this project won’t be carried forward..no worries plenty more ideas up my sleeve that I have more space to do now! ..

so now that I’m not working on that app it means that I’ll be starting a new project, which I’ll be unveiling in the next post so make sure you tune in!

 

Finally my music. This isn’t going too fast at the moment. The blues band is going slowly since we lost our bass player and we’re trying to get the band regrouped so we can’t focus on getting gigs. The new band I’ve started is really fun, with two very talented people, learning and composing a lot of great songs. So although that’s going well in terms of enjoyment I have to be very patient as we probably won’t be giging for a while. I’ve set up our first gig for Sept (non-paid) at a pub just to get us some experience, so we’ll see where it goes from there.

In terms of the acoustic music I have one or two gigs a month but nothing really special. I’m not sure how to take this to the next level now. I’ve contacted all of the pubs, bars, and a lot of restaurants and already gotten a clear yes or no, so I’ve run out of venues to ‘sell’ to.
Although thinking now, I guess once that’s been done I can try and re-sell to those I’ve already played at, and offer lower price packages to those who rejected me. There we go! There’s always something more that can be done.

So here we are – through the months of hard work I haven’t made any eye opening developments but I’m developing in confidence and skills, and my projects are now showing potential to be sustainable and strong in their applications!

Where there’s a will there’s a way!!

Happy progressing.