Week Seven Reading Questions

1. Do you think the idea you pitched was “sticky” as described in Briggs Chapter 5? Why or why not? Be as specific as you can.

2. Describe one other thing from the chapter you found interesting or relevant.

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12 thoughts on “Week Seven Reading Questions

  1. Kimberly Exford says:

    1-

    Simple- yes, the WeatherMe app is simple and straight forward.

    Unexpected- I think this could go both ways. In this day and age, with technology constantly changing and expanding, not much can surprise us anymore. I expect Apple to have some new fancy pants idea every year when they release the new iPhone, the same goes for other gadgets and forms of technology. So, although this idea is new and no one has done it before, I don’t find it as particularly unexpected as the man on the moon example found in the text.

    Concrete- I think WeatherMe has the potential to be very concrete. It is easy to use and easy to understand. The benefits can be seen once users are able to access their needs quickly and easily.

    Credible- Although I don’t find my credibility in this area particularly high (i.e. I don’t have any kids and therefore can’t relate to those who might use this for that reason), however, like the text suggests, I think partnering with a credible source could be just the push this product needs to get going. For the WeatherMe app, a local meteorologist or news anchor could be the perfect match!

    Emotional- I think this app can appeal to the emotions because it can solve a problem. It can make accessing such pertinent information easy and quick, especially when you need it in a hurry (i.e. prior to waking your child up for school). By solving such a problem, you are making life easier for your consumer, and this is the goal. Give them a reason to want your product.

    Story- I think many people will be able to relate to the character found in my pitch. She, or he, was a parent seeking information faster than what the television was providing. Depending on what area you live in, the narrative I used could easily be any one of us… mom, dad, Georgia resident or Maine resident, etc. It can suit a variety of people’s lives thus making a better story based on the consumer.

    Overall, I think that my idea is slightly “sticky”. I think that there are still some things to be added to make people desire it even more and to make it feel more like a need vs a want. I think with time, it has the potential to become very “sticky.”

    2- One other part of this chapter I enjoyed was about startup funding. As a future small business owner (my sister and I plan to open a business in the near future), it is always good to read about funding and startup money. The chapter briefly looks at 4 ways in which a new business can find startup cash. Like the quote in the book said, “too often entrepreneurs underestimate the amount of money they’ll need- not just to get started but to keep running.” In my opinion, this is VERY true, you don’t just want to open the doors, but you want to KEEP them open as well. Honestly, in my opinion you need to be willing to spend money to make money. You have to make a name for yourself, advertise, get an audience, etc. and all this takes money. It was good to read that small section on page 154 to jog my memory about options for start up funding. This information is relevant for any of us in this class hoping to open a business one day. Unless we hit the lottery or inherit a small fortune, startup cash is going to be super helpful.

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Very good, Kimberly, very detailed response, and I’m impressed you and your sister are planning to open a business. You should tell us about it someday 🙂 Also, I think possibly your work at the learning center could give you some unique perspectives here on the needs in this area even tho you don’t have kids.

  2. Lori Shull says:

    Thoughts on News Notes’ stickiness:

    Simple – News Notes is definitely simple; it’s point is to simplify news and simplify the manner in which we learn about it. It makes a news story shorter, but doesn’t limit that story to 140 characters, which makes it more versatile and informative than Twitter.

    Unexpected – With so many news apps out there, including and most notably Twitter (which is already making news shorter), News Notes is not unexpected. It’s probably most unexpected that no one else (that I can find) has really done this already.

    Concrete – Yes. Most of us want to know what’s going on the world, or at least pay lip service to it, but who has time? We can’t add hours to the day, but we can make ingesting the news faster and easier.

    Credible – I think I have at least some of the credibility needed to launch this thing. I am a former journalist, though not a well-known one. Since I’m in PR now, that might be somewhat damaging to my credibility so perhaps I need to find a journalist or new media person who can add credibility.

    Emotional – Especially when News Notes gets into local content, I think it will be emotional. In an election year, this kind of app would be a great source for people who want to be informed voters but who don’t have time to sift through candidates’ websites and voting records. I can see people being very interested in it on an international level as well – this would make keeping up with Ebola a lot easier.

    Story – This app is intended for educated people on the go. They are the most likely to want to keep up with the news and least likely to have the time. I am confident that this is a product that that demographic would be interested in.

    Long story short, I think News Notes is sticky.

    I liked the part in this chapter about customer development being more important than product development. Over the course of this semester, we have stressed again and again that you need to build a core of early adopters who will help point out the bugs and help to spread the word about your product. But we’ve never really talked about learning when not to listen to a customer. That can be equally as important, I think, because otherwise you would spend a lot of time reversing decisions that have already been made or investing time into developing a function that no one but one or two very vocal people want, or, worse, developing a function that isn’t at all what you want your product to be.

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Excellent. Good detail. Only one that I think can be tricky here is emotion. I think it might best be tied less in desire to be informed and more in frustration with the onslaught of info. Not that people don’t want to be informed, but sometimes I think that desire competes with a whole lot of other pulls on their time. But the sensation of just being overwhelmed is one I think most can relate to quickly and easily. Could be wrong.

  3. 1. YouNews- A news app based on user specific preferences.

    Simple
    YouNews is simple, as long as you conduct the app in the right manner. Since it is directed towards an individual’s specific preferences I think it would be very easy to get an overload of information. The key with this app is to find out detailed information about each user in a very simple and clean approach.

    Unexpected
    YouNews is not unexpected. With steady growth in news apps, it is amazing to me that it actually hasn’t been done.

    Concrete
    YouNews is definitely concrete. News is inevitable to receive, whether a person wants to or not. With an overload of technology it makes it extremely hard not to hear about current headlines. By YouNews priding itself on being user specific, it benefits everyone immediately. YouNews allows people to be more in control of the news they receive by the individual preferences they have.

    Credible
    In creating this app, my initial plan would be to approach News Channel 3 in Memphis as a possible partnership. With my idea and their credible background, it is the most efficient and credible way to reach the maximum potential of this app.

    Emotional
    Our preferences reflect our emotions. Whether a person enjoys watching video based news dealing with sports or written news dealing with medical stories, each time the app is launched, emotions are being brought to life.

    Story
    I think the YouNews pitch story is relatable because the majority of the market in which we are dealing have all experienced this issue. Scrolling through headline after headline and not seeing anything that captures attention is a very common problem.

    I would consider YouNews as sticky.

    2. “Learn when not to listen to the customer.” I found this portion of the reading very interesting and informational. About 200,000 customers were interviewed in the development of the New Coke and it turned out to be a master failure. However, the IPad was created with no outside input. “Listening to customers is a balancing act.” The idea and the company is not anyone’s vision except your own. By receiving too much outside information, it can easily start to alter your idea. I learned a significant amount from this part of Chapter 5 in Briggs’ book.

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Good. I think the section on not listening to the customer is important -although have to be a little careful. Often where the customer input is really important will be in understanding the problem, more even than the solution. If you know people’s problems, you can design solutions they may not know they need and think they need.

  4. Cheryl Hayes says:

    TAM3Alert startup idea is “sticky” because it is simple, unexpected and concrete, and there is a story behind the idea. This startup idea is for the development of a new app that alerts users of school and business closings due to inclement weather as well as closings due to other important reasons like flood and tornado watches, or warnings, and any possible disaster happenings. The name of this startup is simple, meaningful and easy to remember. In translation, TAM3ALERT means [T]ennessee, [A]rkansas, [M]ississippi, three (3) state alert. The single, clear mission for TAM3Alert is to instantly alert registered users in the counties of TN, AR and MS, of school and commercial business closings due to inclement weather and, or other emergency. TAM3Alert startup idea is concrete because it serves a need to enhance the inclement and emergency alert infrastructure for area schools and commercial businesses by smartphone app technology that sends push messages to registered users in the time of inclement weather and a state of emergency in the user’s selected areas. Users will be able to download the app using their smartphone, or tablet, and register their alert preferences. For example, if a user lives in Memphis and has one child in college at University of Knoxville and another child who is still in a Memphis area high school, then the user can set up alert notifications using TAM3Alert for her children’s schools only, the counties that the schools are located only, or state wide alerts. The user will have the option to select alerts for a single, or many schools and, or businesses they desire. When there is an actual emergency due to inclement, or some type of disaster, users will receive notification instantly. The story behind TAM3ALERT is that while the current alert infrastructure uses email and local radio and TV media, the TAM3Alert will eliminate the need for users having to login to check email for notifications from schools, power on a computer to search the web for a local media, or school website to determine if a school, or business will be closed, and it eliminates the need to turn on a television to wait to learn about a school, or business closing. This new app technology will save users important time and frustration from “not knowing” instantly about important things in their life and eliminate the waiting game of learning about happenings in their area.

    Briggs Chapter 5 discussed a lot of important information about how to turn an idea into a business. However, the most relevant to anyone interested in a startup is anyone can come up with an idea, but the execution of that idea is what it takes to make a startup idea a startup company. Briggs talks about discussing ideas with others, but not just one category of persons, for example, friends and family that may provide position feedback only, but offers the importance of presenting your idea to other category people that can offer different feedback about the idea that may be positive, or negative. For instance, to receive important feedback on the TAM3ALERT startup idea, an entrepreneur would what to talk to someone who has some background in application, or software development as well as someone who has background in news media and advertising. They should also discuss the idea with random people while out and about running errands to gather feedback from a general category of people. Relevant also is the point about making something people what and will customers pay for the product, or service. After talking with several customers about their experience with their child, or children’s snow days, some expressed no problems with the current alert method they receive. However, there were some customers that expressed that they had issues with the current system of alerting parents of school closings. These customers in particular expressed that the majority of the time their child’s school would issue an alert, they never receive it. It took a friend, family, or their child to contact and tell them of the school closing. TAM3ALERT is something these customers need as they realized after the idea was introduced to them. And, TAM3ALERT will fix this pain for those customers who tend to not receive alerts using their school’s current alert method. When asked if they would be willing to pay for the TAM3ALERT app, the customers expressed that they were not interested in paying for the app and that such an app should be free to them as parents can get the important alerts regarding their child, or children’s school closing.

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Good – and I think the difference between idea and execution is really key, I like that you picked up on that. So this was the startup you were going to pitch the day you weren’t in class, right? Haha, looks like you ended up in the right group then, with a related idea. Nice!

  5. Andrew Doughty says:

    1) Minnow’s stickiness is interesting and certainly debatable:

    Simple: Minnow had a very clear mission of helping consumers cut through news to help them find the stories, categories, authors, etc. that were most important and relevant to them. Could the concept have been simplified in order to avoid user difficulty and confusion? Possibly.

    Unexpected: Consumer expectations are arguably higher than ever before and oftentimes unobtainable. With the advent of Sparknotes, Wikipedia, news tickers and Twitter, among numerous other devices, consumers were given more summaries of information in a shorter amount of time. I believe that people expect something similar to Minnow, largely due to current competitors such as Flip Board, Circa News and News Whip, but none are expecting something that is perfectly tailored to their needs without sacrificing time or simplicity.

    Concrete: The goals were defined and concrete, but the overall parameters could have been better identified. Honestly, the entire idea and package of Minnow may have been overambitious. The potential is there but in order to achieve the level of desired personalized, the parameters must be better defined to avoid frustration and missing those unobtainable expectations.

    Credible: I have no credibility to speak on the needs of news consumers therefore tried to draw on Nielsen numbers as much as possible by pointing to the number of apps downloaded per phone per age group and how much each age group is using each app.

    Emotional: Anything that intends to make one’s life easier will have at least a sliver of emotional appeal. The pitch could have pulled in additional emotion during the introduction instead of solely presenting the facts. The idea itself includes plenty of emotion.

    Story: I believe a large number of consumers can relate to the story of Minnow and place themselves in a situation in which they’d like to sift through hundreds of media sources and thousands of stories in order to save time and potentially money.

    2) Market validation is a fascinating concept and one that could terrify new or inexperienced entrepreneurs. Although there remain numerous ideas, concepts and products that would be the first of its kind and find little or no competition, there are likely many similar projects or ideas floating in small communities, other countries, or simply in the early stages of development and these can be used improve your idea. People find niches often, but not everyone attacks it in a way that no one else can. Minnow would have dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors, many of which have similar goals, but this idea would bombard the concept of personalization like no one else has. Is there anything proprietary about your idea? How does this relate to the market and how can you exploit that market?

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Good, Andrew. I like that you used Nielsen numbers in the pitch. The questions you are asking at the end are good ones that will come in handy as you are developing the pitch.

  6. Nicholas Beshiri says:

    1. Simple: The pitch had a clear mission to replace older technology and improve data collection.

    Unexpected: I do not think this idea was unexpected, it has been needed for years and there are several other ideas in the same mold.

    Concrete: The idea was not very concrete and many aspects could be open to interpretation.

    Credible: The product is credible because it was created by a teacher working in a school system that deals with these problems every day.

    Emotional: The idea appeals to the emotions of teacher all over that spend countless hours developing spreadsheets and compiling data on students.

    Story: Although the story is not overly compelling it does appeal to teachers. They would be able to side step several obstacles and focus on the goal off brings the best education to all of their students.

    2. Another part of the reading that I found especially relevant was the section entitled “Ideas are cheap; execution is everything”. This section pointed out one of the toughest problems in becoming a successful entrepreneur. Which is the fact that anyone can come up with a great idea but it is following through with the idea that really counts. Without the drive to work long hours and plan accordingly a business will never succeed. This also leads into the aspect that an entrepreneur needs to be truly passionate about their idea. You can have the best idea in the world, but it is extremely difficult to put in your full effort day in and day out if you do not care about the subject matter. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, as it takes the willingness to continue through the ups and downs of starting a business from just a simple idea.

    • Carrie Brown says:

      Good, seems as though many of you had similar thoughts on these. I think leveraging your insights into what teachers have to deal with is a great idea for making a viable startup.

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