The journey begins
The journey starts here. In 4 months and 11 days, the journey will be over. Ahead of us lies a road of ups and downs and twists and turns. We have just finished the ideation process. For mid terms, our class divided up into 5 groups. Each group was responsible for creating a business plan, web page, and 3 minute pitch to the class. Next, the class reviewed the ExpoFest 2018 criteria and individually casted our votes for what project to move forward with. Original ideas ranged from an aromatherapy pillow to a non fogging film to a compost chute. However, the project the class decided on did not come without its doubts. We held a team meeting the class after to address some of our doubts. We worked out how we will sell the product to the judges and how we will develop the product in more specific detail. Two days later, we started going full steam ahead. Team leaders, and co-presidents were chosen, and went over the work we had cut out ahead of us. I distinctly remember Mrs. DeGregory handing out a 28 page packet outlining the business plan. Right then it hit all of us just how much time and work will go into this project. After going through the entire packet, the class got to work. Social media and web page were set up. The research and marketing team got started on research and I started blogging. This is just the start.
We are 2 weeks in now. Everything right now is smooth sailing; people have settled into their jobs and are fully aware of their responsibilities. The project will continue to pick up speed from here. We have made a lot of progress this week. Our research and development team is making outstanding progress with conducting essential research. My main upcoming focus will continue to be research. Research is the most important part of the project in the beginning. Research can make or break the project. It can be used to identify challenges and gather important information about our industry and competition. Everyday we learn more about our competitors and where we fit in the tire industry. We finished our general company description, products and services, marketing plan, competition, and some progress under legal environment. Our website is going to be something special, the theme is coming together and it looks very professional. The website development team has finished making the contact us page, home page, and started the tech page.
Along with the website, our company is making good progress developing our theme and online presence. Social media accounts are being made and new content is being created/planned behind the scenes for it. I have designed three logos that have been altered and developed through feedback from peers. We will have a logo set in stone early next week. Check out the proposed logos down below. Overall, nothing major has been accomplished this week, but we are making essential progress. The beginning is always very important. Doing the dirty work like research and general planning can be tedious, but our team has been extremely productive. We cannot afford to cut corners in the beginning or else they will catch up to us in the end.
Work, work, and even more work.
This week was a very eventful one. Many parts of the project now require our attention and everyone has an increasingly vital role to play. The research and development team moved from their computers to saws. Their main focus is now how to create or development the prototype. Our big problem is how to represent our ColorTrak technology the best way. This involves some sort of cutting of the tire which can be a tricky process. This upcoming week they need to find the best technique to cut it and more specifically how to cut it. Another aspect of the project, the mentor and focus group, is requiring more attention. I drafted and edited an email, and researched possible mentors we can use for our project, and sent it out. Next class, we will evaluate our responses. Alexis, the co-president, is asking around for the focus group members as well. The IBM field trip is also coming up, only 3 more days. The presenters have been practicing tirelessly and are good to go. Online presence is also being enhanced greatly. The social media team is putting together a video and more content for our accounts are being created. In addition, we have finally finalized the logo and created banners and profile pictures for all our accounts. So now we can focus fully on delivering good content. Furthermore, banners and business cards are being drafted. Accounting has also been doing some great work, we have finally gotten the complete cost of a tire. Overall, the workload is increasing but our class is responding well.
ibm field trip review
This week was all about the field trip to IBM. Every year, the Skills21 staff host an event to discuss with students about the specifics and helpful advice in preparation for Expo Fest. This year, they held it at the IBM headquarters in Southbury. Each student prior to the field trip was assigned a breakout group to watch and take notes on. For example, there was a breakout session on Online Presence, the In’s and Out’s of Judging, Exhibition booth, etc.It gives the students an opportunity to ask questions specific to their areas. I thought it was very helpful and insightful. It helped clear up the small details and technicalities, etc. In addition to talking with the Skills21 staff, every team prepared an elevator pitch prior to the trip. They do this every year so that the students get feedback about their project. Getting outside output on your project is very important. A fresh pair of ears or eyes can be more helpful than you think. It was also a way to prepare for our presentation at Expo Fest. Everyone was very impressed with our presentation. Our presenters looked very prepared and very professional. I would say all the hard work to prepare for the presentation paid off. The next class we had, everyone shared their notes and important takeaways from the trip. Now, we can focus all our attention on the next trip, Expo Fest 2018.
Getting down to the business end of things...
This week was a very productive one. The research and development team made great strides in terms of prototype design. A few students got in contact with our schools local graphic design teacher who owns a 3D printer. He is helping teach the students how to use the software. They also finalized the blueprint for the prototype. Our biggest challenge still is the mentor. Many of the big tire companies refuse to entertain the thought of being our mentor. The search has progressed, we have found a new set of potential mentors, but the hunt still continues. The media team is doing very well too. They are producing great, new content left, right, and center. They produced 2 mini advertisements and are working on interviews to show our progress in a more intriguing way. They are also working on producing our main commercial. The ideation stage is complete, production is all that is left. With Expo Fest nearing, our booth design is coming along as well. Business cards, banners, and prizes have all been designed and are just waiting to be ordered! In addition, check out the special edition video made by our social media team to go with this blog.
This week was a very vital one if our progress to Expo. 3D design of our prototype is going very well. Our 3D expert, Matt, is tirelessly working to get our prototype done. In addition, we had Mr. Rosen, who works at Keep America Beautiful, come in and give us a presentation on how we can improve our branding on social media, booth design and some other advice on our project. It was very helpful and definitely fueled some great ideas. Mr. Rosen also helped us decide on the business cards and the banner for our booth. However, our class made a very important and ‘game changing’ decision to pivot our product. Before, we were focusing on the development of our technology in a tire, and selling that tire with the technology in it. However, we now decided to focus solely on the development of the technology itself and sell that to companies so they can incorporate it into their own tires. With this pivot, we can focus solely on the technology. Manufacturing tires is very difficult to do and requires expertise we simply don't have access to and wont be able to design a high quality tire that wont take away the quality of our technology. Next week will be even more important, we are deciding how we can execute this pivot in the various areas of our project. In addition, our website is always getting better every day along with the development of our online presence.
Many things are happening in the world of TredTrax right now. Last week was when we decided to pivot our company to solely a technology company and not a tire manufacturing company, this affected every branch our company. Now, we are going full steam ahead. So much has to be done in so little time to execute this pivot. Our accounting team is working tirelessly to recalculate our start up costs. We are also looking into the patenting process in order to protect our signature technology, ColorTrak. ColorTrak are the color stripes we are designing. In addition, we have collected rubber samples from a rubber supplier and performed an experiment on the abrasion resistance of the samples. We are using the results to develop our ColorTrak stripes. Website development is going great as usual. Minor design details are being altered and vital information is being added. We bought the domain name tredtrax.com and no longer have to use the branded weebly domain. Furthermore, our company’s 3D modelling expert, Matt Barros, is very close to finished the prototype design we will eventually print using a 3D printer and present at our booth at Expo Fest 2018. The social media team is also creating a feature video ad along with billboard, flyer, and social media advertising designs. Expect to see those soon on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Links are below.
A lot has happened the past two weeks. We didn’t just get to speak to one mentor, but we spoke with two of them. We first spoke with Frank Gaudio. Frank Gaudio has worked at Richard Chevrolet for 18 years, and has been in the automotive industry for over 25 years. He grew up around cars, and currently works as the acting manager of the Collision Center at Richard Chevrolet. He came into our class and answered some of our questions and offered us advice on the automotive industry. Next, we came in contact with Patrick Keating: Senior Manager, Technical Engineering at Yokohama Tire Corporation. He took a very big interest in our product and even wants to fly down to talk with us! Last week, we spoke with him via Skype for the first time for some basic information. He gave us specific advice on how to sell our idea with a patent and other specifics like that. We can’t wait to talk to him and have him help us. He could be our edge over everyone. Our 3D prototype has begun printing which is very exciting.Our website is being updated everyday and is looking better and better. The big pitch submission and project reel were very stressful to finish in time for the May 1st deadline, but we did it and did it very well. We have also made a radio ad and am planning on making an ad with Patrick Keating when he comes in. Our presentation group is also working very hard to perfect the presentation. Overall great progress is getting made and our two mentors are definitely giving us an edge.