June 23rd, 2013

ARK Challenge (@ARKChallenge): Week 3

My intense schedule finally wore me and my phone down this week: we both got sick. I caught a cold and my phone complete crashed. But a visit to the doctor and the Apple Genius Bar repaired (or replaced in the case of my iPhone) us both in short order. It was a good reminder to me that I need to pay attention my health (and the health of my technology) in order to make it through the remaining 11 weeks successfully!

The theme (in my notes, not officially) was about data, research and proof points.

This week, PressBaby accomplished the following:

  • Decided on final logos/brand identities for PressBaby, Newspaper Next, ZineDay and VidLibs, all designed complements of our business partner (and my full time employer), Stone Ward.
  • We approved a wireframe for our PressBaby website. Hoping to see the designs Stone Ward comes up with next week.
  • Heard from Clete Brewer about how to scale our businesses.
  • Met with Innovation Arkansas to discuss the pros and cons of our products and challenges our business may need to overcome.
  • We submitted our product to the Invention Evaluator and are awaiting a report on its viability.
  • Moderated a discussion with Forbes journalist Erica Swallow and learned tips for pitching startups to journalists.
  • Learned about UI/UE design from Dustin Williams.
  • Met with a slew of mentors who each provided sound and distinct advice. (Now we just have to decide what advice to follow!)
  • Continued to refine the app in development.
  • Ate dinner at a castle.
  • Learned that “business casual” means something different to me than it does to others in the startup community. And that’s okay. I’ll likely always overdress, given my fashion affections.
  • Added some chairs to my apartment. It is getting less empty.
  • Drove to and from Fayetteville twice.
  • Discovered that setting up an iPhone from scratch (rather than restoring from a backup) is both painful and nice as a fresh start. No more app carryovers from downloads years ago!

Key advice we received this week:

  • “You cannot sell your dream on your pro forma. Results sell.” – Clete Brewer
  • “Think about what drives your end user. What makes them feel good and want to continue using your product?” – Dustin Williams
  • “Data is your friend. It is only going to get more important.” – Dustin Williams
  • Constantly iterate.
The spread of logo drafts.
The spread of logo drafts.
My (self-)assigned reading for this week.
My (self-)assigned reading for this week.
The wallpaper at my apartment, ready for filling in with Post-Its and constant iteration.
The wallpaper at my apartment, ready for filling in with Post-Its and constant iteration.
Presentation from Erica Swallow, Forbes and Mashable journalist.
Presentation from Erica Swallow, Forbes and Mashable journalist.
Joining Stone Ward Friday staff meeting via video conference again.
Joining Stone Ward Friday staff meeting via video conference again.
Jody giving our :60 pitch at the castle dinner.
Jody giving our :60 pitch at the castle dinner.
Jody and I on top of the world (okay, on top of the castle) in Fayetteville Saturday night.
Jody and I on top of the world (okay, on top of the castle) in Fayetteville Saturday night.

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