March 4, 2024

“First Month Retrospective”



7:53 PM

I got my usual late start today and went on a hunt for some pieces I need to advance my exploration of the prototype. Packaging is an issue, and it’s one that I’m not familiar with. I’m back now, though, and it’s time to assess the overall situation.

Thirty days have passed.

I’m one third of the way through my self-assigned concept-proving period.

The general idea was (and still is) to see if, in ninety days, I can have something that looks like a viable product. Something that I think I can sell, and something I can feel proud to stand behind. Something that I won’t lose my shirt on, too!

It’s looking promising, honestly.

I’ve achieved the following milestones so far:

  • Proved the initial concept (which didn’t take long).
  • Designed the first prototype.
  • Manufactured the first prototype.
  • Built the first take of the server side software.
  • Built the first take of the firmware for the prototype.
  • Refactored both into something vaguely professional looking.

This is… honestly quite a bit farther than I expected to be by now. I seriously thought I would only now be starting to get the hardware designed – and that the software would be a crappy hack job – but here we are. The software is remarkably well developed for only a month, and the device is sitting on my desk, and it’s working!

Much more importantly, it seems like it’s going to be useful.

There is still a major missing piece in the software to ultimately prove the end goal out, and that’s the next task. Everything leading up to this point has been putting the framework together, using some low-hanging fruit as a test point. Now, though, I need to do the slightly more complex part, and meet the original goal instead of a prototypical one.

And that’s going to be one of the next tasks.

I think, at this point, I’m tentatively looking at a set of goals that looks like this in the next thirty days:

  • Build the most useful software features.
  • Figure out the hardware packaging (both the case for the unit, and the simple things like cardboard boxes to ship ’em in).
  • Get a prototype together for the casing (the cardboard boxes can wait).

I expect especially that latter two points to take all month; I’m not versed in mechanical design or manufacturing, so there’s going to be some research involved. Not to mention, trial and error. It’s a critical piece of the puzzle, though.

Once I get those pieces together, the following month is likely to be largely business-related exploration:

  • Determine the proposed business structure (legally) and the cost for setting it up
  • Find out how much it’s going to cost to get the device FCC certified (and confirm that it’s actually necessary, though I’m fairly sure that it is).
  • Determine if we need any similar international certifications to sell into eg. Europe, and if so, what the cost will be.
  • Figure out cost of manufacturing, web sales, fullfillment services, etc.
  • Put together a fully qualified cost for the product itself, with all of the above included.
  • Flesh out the options as far as the business plan goes. Most notably, how do I market this thing, and how do I ensure that it stays profitable?

The list probably goes on.

At the end of that thirty days, though, I should have a very good idea of whether or not I have a shot at a viable business. I’m expecting that I will; the product speaks to me (metaphorically, of course!), and I think it will speak to others. It’s only a matter of getting it together and getting the marketing right.

That latter is another area that I’m not well versed in, so mileage may vary a little.

At the end of that ninety days, we’ll see if I’m willing to fully commit. If so, then from there I’ll move into “set up the business and develop this thing into production” mode. That will be fun if it happens!

I hope it does. I’m really excited about this thing!

And now I need sleep, because I didn’t get any last night. And then, tomorrow, it’s back to the grind. I have lots of work left to do…