The Magic Bike Company

Innovate

Pain storming, the technique of identifying and developing countermeasures to your customers’ pains. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it is frustration that fuels the fire! Always be on the lookout for the frustration that might fuel your next big idea!
People used to reach for the ketchup bottle with a little dread. Would they have to poke a knife up the bottle's neck to get the ketchup going? Would the first thing out of the bottle be a sneeze of watery juice? Those days are virtually over, and the liberation is especially worth celebrating around Independence Day, the year's peak holiday for ketchup. The condiment's founding fathers were East Asian spice exporters who sold British and Dutch traders something like Worcestershire sauce that they called “ketsiap.” That was in the 1600s. A century later, Nova Scotia farmers added surplus tomatoes and sugar to the mix. The rest is history. According to an industry survey, 96 percent of U.S. households keep ketchup on hand, more than have salt and pepper. But that doesn't necessarily mean thriving sales.
By the late '90s, in fact, with burgers and fries on the outs in a fat-phobic society, ketchup sales were flat. The only way to sell more, decided H.J. Heinz Co., the world's dominant ketchup producer, was to get people to eat more, which was easier said than done. It entailed solving all of ketchup's consumer problems, especially the challenge of getting more ketchup out of the bottle faster. Also key would be overcoming people's reluctance to take all the ketchup they really want.
The answer Squeeze bottle
The result was the massive and much-loved upside-down ketchup bottle, which empties as fast and cleanly as a gas can at a NASCAR pit stop. “Ready when you are,” was Heinz's introductory slogan for it.
Except in restaurants that still use 14-ounce glass bottles, the new version ended the tyranny of know-it-alls who made you hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and tap it in some special place. And it saved shirts and ties while liberating decent people from what humorist Dave Barry might call farting ketchup.
Ketchup's modern revolution began in 1991 in a small precision-molding shop wedged between a scrapyard and a saloon on the south side of Midland, Mich. The key prop in the dingy scene was a molding press that was meant to turn injections of liquid silicone into flexible, one-piece precision valves. It wasn't working quite right, however. Paul Brown, the shop's stocky, bullheaded owner, spent his days sitting before the press on a four-legged stool, chain-smoking and rethinking the valve's design. “I would pretend I was silicone and, if I was injected into a mold, what I would do,” recalled Brown, a computer-phobic, intuition-guided shop technician.
His vision was a dispensing valve for a new kind of shampoo bottle that would be storable upside down on, say, a tub's edge. The valve had to open easily when squeezed and shut securely when the squeezing stopped. No drips, no leaks ever. To that end, Brown, then 48, and his mold-maker, Tim Socier, who's deft at computer-assisted design, came up with a valve that's a little silicone dome with right-angled slits cut in its top. When the bottle's sides were pressed, the dome's slits opened like flower petals and released the contents. When the pressing stopped, the air sucked back into the dome caused it to retract and the slits to shut.
Time was running out, however. Brown had maxed out his credit cards. He was in hock to his mother and 10 investor-friends. None of his 111 prototypes really worked. It was Friday night, and the first potential big buyer was due Monday. So Brown turned to Socier, then 31, who agreed to work through much of the night to craft one more design variant, thinning the dome around the slits. On Saturday morning, Socier called Brown in to show him something. It was the new prototype, and it worked perfectly. Brown sat back in his chair and said: "Holy cow, I just hit the jackpot." He was right. The customer bought in. Eventually, so did baby food-maker Gerber, which uses a version of the valve in its sippy cup. So did NASA when it needed a leak-proof drinking-water system for space-walking astronauts. So did shampoo and cosmetics makers. Years later, so did Heinz and Hunt's, Heinz's main competitor, for their top-down ketchup bottles. Brown sold out in 1995 for about $13 million. He paid off his investors 100-fold and built himself "“a barn that any man would kill for,” complete with a knotty-pine wet bar. He bought a winter place in Key Largo, Fla., and an RV pad in Casa Grande, Ariz., for his Fifth Wheel. Read more here: Paul Brown
Brian Chesky, founder Airbnb speaking at the Start Up Class “I quit my job, I was living in LA. One day I drove to San Francisco, became roommates with my friend from college, from the Rhode Island School of Design, Joe Gebbia, and I had one thousand dollars in the bank and the rent was one thousand one hundred and fifty dollars. So that weekend this international design convention was coming to San Francisco, all the hotels were sold out, so we decided to turn the house into a bed and breakfast for the conference. I didn’t have a bed, Joe had three air beds, we pulled them out of the closet and called it The Air Bed and Breakfast. That's how the company started. By solving our problem it became the big idea.”
Steve Wozniak's problem was that he wanted his own computer. “That was an unusual problem to have in 1975. But technological change was about to make it a much more common one. Because he not only wanted a computer but knew how to build them, Wozniak was able to make himself one. And the problem he solved for himself became one that Apple solved for millions of people in the coming years. But by the time it was obvious to ordinary people that this was a big market, Apple was already established.” reference: Paul Graham

Suboptimal equilibrium

Suboptimal equilibrium refers to a situation where the customer experiences a pain (or inconvenience) with the product/service, and continues to engage in its use.
The customer may or may not be conscious about the existence of the pain, the customer may view the situation as an acceptable inconvenience or a part of getting the job done. An innovator sees an opportunity of moving the equilibrium to a higher value proposition by addressing the pain.
For example, tape measures would kink when pulled out to make extended measurements. This pain was solved by adding a concave/convex shape to the tape. This flexible metal rule is coated with a plastic film, which is noticeable mainly because it is peeling away in places. A pain solved by coating the fleible metal with “linear polyester film, specifically polyethylene terephthalate, which has proven particularly suitable for this application.” retrieved from American Scientist the magazine of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

 

Fat tape

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. The term was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in the 1953 book Applied Imagination. Generating ideas, sharing perspectives, and gaining stakeholder buy-in are lofty goals. To achieve them with brainstorming requires careful planning. This flow chart from Wikipedia provides a path for your Brainstorming activity. Using Edward de Bono's six hats methods will help the facilitator manage the process more effectively.
This Fast Company article, “A Designer’s Guide To Brainstorms That Are Actually Useful” provides more example of the use of the technique. They comment that it can be a little jarring to adopt a collaborative mindset—and hard to ramp up your energy level accordingly. The facilitator should spend a few minutes getting everyone acclimated. Two of my favorites tools to get the team warmed up are these exercises:

 

Great Products

A great product is the only way to grow long-term. Eventually your company will get so big that all growth hacks stop working and you have to grow by people wanting to use your product. This is the most important thing to understand about super-successful companies. There is no other way. Think about all of the really successful technology companies — they all do this. You want to build a “product improvement engine” in your company. You should talk to your users and watch them use your product, figure out what parts are sub-par, and then make your product better.
“Understanding user motivations, daily habits, and patterns helps create insight that informs and inspires teams to create better solutions for people. And it doesn’t only benefit designers, but it benefits the whole company. The most common gap for entrepreneurs is around the use of design research. Design research is all about understanding who you’re building for and what their needs are. With design research, we seek to understand ‘What are the users’ behavioral patterns and motivations?’ and then ‘How can we anticipate their needs, solve problems for them, and build the experience in a way that fits with their workflow, mental models, and usage patterns?’ Companies don’t invest enough in user research because they don’t realize how important and useful it is.” The exercise of developing a customer journey map leads to insights on the customer. Journey.
Some Entraprenuers have an opportunistic mindset that helps them identify gaps in the market. Realizing that there was an opportunity to rent air mattress and scaling that idea to other people renting the house or a room to strangers lead to the creation of AirBnB. Steve Jobs dropped out of college but audited classes in calligraphy that taught him about typefaces. Paul Brown demonstrated a high degree of persistence and an ability to visualise the possible. Brown patented the single-bar facemask, not long after jury-rigging a lucite mask to protect his injured quarterback, Otto Graham. He went on to develope a helmet based radio communication system that would allow Brown, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, to communicate with his quarterback during games
Other Entraprenuers display an enormous amount of grit and persistence in creating a solution to a problem. Dr. Brian J. Druker, an oncologist at Oregon Health and Sciences University and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, was one of three winners of the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, often called the “American Nobel Prize.” for the development of molecularly targeted treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia, converting a fatal cancer into a manageable chronic condition. In a NY Times interview he was asked “Your friend Avice Meehan of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute says that you have the most amazing perserverance. Is that what it took to make Gleeves happen?” Dr Druker replied, “There’s a basketball player who says, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Well, I work hard. I understood that this project was too good to give up on. My patients needed me to do something to help them. I did everything I could by getting them a drug I thought would work.”