Although the text is minimal in this blog post, the steps we have made in the last week have been huge!
Minimum Viable Product Update:
- We have completed the physical construction of our MVP and are on our way to making a fully functional MVP. We may not have a send/receive signal by the end of the semester like we wanted because we have some exciting news below (in “Other Updates”) that may put us a bit behind schedule.
Lessons Learned Reflection
This entire semester has been a huge learning process and we are all grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the pilot Hacking for Defense team at Boise State University.
Major Lessons Learned:
- – Working with/for the military is much different than working on a traditional commercial product
- – Plan for everything to take longer than expected
- – There’s a reason the current products are insufficient – this product space is complicated!
Obviously, we knew there were differences between working on a product for military application than the typical commercial product, but I think it is extremely difficult to understand just how different the processes and complications are. We were fortunate to have retired Lt. Col. Brian Von Herbulis with us in class to help interpret the information we received and help us understand structure and terminology, but without him, we know that progress would have been slower and it would have been more difficult for us to gain as many contacts as we did throughout the semester. We are also grateful for new channels to acquire funding, such as H4D and DIUX because if we had to wait 12-18 months for all sources of funding, like many of the BAAs, we probably would not be able to sustain progress on the product.
Another thing we learned was that everything takes longer than you expected. It is important to remember that there’s a reason no one is doing what we’re doing – it’s hard and there are hurdles, some anticipated and some unexpected. Parts break, supplies takes longer to ship than expected and designs change. With an open-ended problem statement and product development plan, we learned both the importance of creating a plan and being okay with changing it constantly.
We have been asked to interview at Y-Combinator next week for their Summer 2017 cohort! For those of you that don’t know, Y-Combinator is a startup accelerator that has provided early funding and support to hundreds of companies, including airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit, Corey and I will be flying down next Monday and will return in time for our final presentation on May 1st.