July 15th, 2013

ARK Challenge (@ARKChallenge): Week 6

If you would prefer to listen to this blog post rather than read it, please scroll to the bottom to hear me read it to you.

Photo courtesy of Amy Robinson.
Photo courtesy of Amy Robinson.

The pressure is on now with only eight weeks left to get our pitch perfect and our product demo-ready. I can’t believe how much I have learned and how much I have still to learn. I filled a complete Moleskine notebook and started on my second this last week. That is a lot of note taking.

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Here is what PressBaby accomplished and/or learned this week:

  • At the advice and counsel of Innovate Arkansas, we have tweaked and re-submitted our Invention Evaluator information for a second review. We are still awaiting the second report.
  • We have decided that our main focus is going to be on the software platform that publishers can purchase and subscribe to for self-serve purposes. We will still offer production of the news for publishers that are willing to pay for it, but we realized that the software platform is more scaleable.
  • We have received advice from several mentors that we should offer a tiered-pricing model for the software subscription, with a VIP option for publishers that want to pay for our production services on top of the software subscription.
  • There is still a lot of conversation happening around audio vs. video. We are offering both, but are considering making the video production optional. The concern is that watching someone read a teleprompter may not be interesting and some people are not comfortable on video.
  • Talent is going to be hugely important. Everyone we meet with reminds us of this.
  • We need to think about the data that we are collecting and what we can do to monetize that data.
  • We met again with Amy Robinson, whom I admire more each time I meet her.
  • We had a great presentation from Luke Coleman on A/B testing and a mentor meeting with him to get advice on the functionality of our site. Luke provided guidance and recommendations on tools we could use for testing and learning.
  • We had a group presentation from Shan Pesaru, then had a one-on-one mentor meeting with him. Shan is going to be a great technical resource and advisor in the coming weeks.
  • We concluded the week with a visit from Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean. Each team presented their lean canvas to him for feedback and critique. This was invaluable time with the man who literally wrote the book on creating a lean canvas. Ash emphasized the need for metrics and evidence that readers will use our product when it comes to demo day. Showing case studies will address this with investors.
Jody presenting our lean canvas to Ash Maurya.
Jody presenting our lean canvas to Ash Maurya.

My favorite lessons and quotes of the week:

“You train people how to treat you.” – Amy Robinson

“Just because one big company is doing something doesn’t mean that it is working.” – Brian Henley

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Jody and I figured out that daily to-do lists really work for us (shocking, I know).
Working it hard in the Iceberg.

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