Tag: Anthony Rodi

Week 3: Reflecting On Writing A Business Plan

Reflecting & Peer Review

When I first thought of what a business plan might be comprised of I assumed that businesses would “sweet talk” and inflate the potential of their business to make it sound as attractive as possible. What I learned was, of course, the exact opposite. It is incredibly important to understand and in fact identify to all parties involved the risks and short comings that inevitably manifest themselves in even the best business ventures. Furthermore receiving feedback from my peers not only allowed me to understand what I thought my strengths and weaknesses are but also the strengths and weaknesses that I would never have considered from being critical of my own work. Likewise reading my peers reports and identifying where their strengths lie made me more aware of other areas where I could improve my own writing.

Successful Business In The Maker Economy

Kano is a DIY computer kit aimed at educating kids to get hands on with building and coding their own computers. The kit uses the famous Raspberry Pi mini-computer and small colorful components that make building a computer both simple to understand and fun for kids. This business definitely falls into the realm of the maker movement by empowering kids to be involved in the technology we are so invented in that we often know little about. One of the weaknesses of Kano is that it relies on the availability and tech of the Raspberry Pi. However, because of it’s smart design, and successful kickstarter campaign, Kano seems to have acquired enough interest to make for a successful product launch.



Week 3: User & Product Testing

User Testing

When user testing it’s important to consider both primary and secondary research methods. Primary methods of research refer to research that we collect ourselves such as surveys, focus groups, interviews and analytics. Secondary methods of research refer to market research that has already been collected and compiled such as public information from libraries and government departments, commercial resources, and academic research from colleges and universities. The reason user testing is so important is because it allows the designer to pinpoint areas in the design that need improvement. Often designers assume they understand what their consumer wants but through user testing consumers may provide insight into areas of design you would have not initially considered. This process ensures that you are in fact making a product that your consumer wants and finds valuable.

Survey Reflections

After having StitchKit’s survey completed by the rest of the class our team was able to compare what was working and what wasn’t working. We were then able to address these concerns. Our team went on to re-asses our pricing model, options that we are providing our consumer base, and how we can make our product more appealing to the beginner DIYer. This process also allowed us to establish a sense of demand and expectation that our team may not have understood before moving forward with the live selling event.

Bad User Interface / Experience Design

An example of bad user experience design can be found in the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 navigation. While the new Kinect 2.0 sensor is much more responsive in comparison to the original Kinect sensor found on the Xbox 360, there are still some fundamentals flaws in it’s design that make the user experience less than desirable. The Xbox One’s voice commands work off of using the keyword “Xbox” to initiate actions, followed by your desired outcome. (“Xbox, go to Netflix) The problem however, is that Xbox One designed a “shortcut” menu that will overlay itself over top of your current screen when you use the necessary keyword “Xbox” to initiate an action. While it is meant to give the user speedy options like “Xbox, go to friends list” often it makes the original screen you were trying to navigate inaccessible simply because you didn’t say “Xbox, Play Forza Motorsport 5” fast enough.





Week 2: Business Plans & Reports

Business Plans

A business plan is a continually updated set of documents used to propose a businesses’s short-term operational and financial objectives, as well as the strategies and tactics they will employ to achieve those objectives. The advantages of compiling a business plan for a new start-up are: understanding potential problems and being prepared to deal with them, being aware of the environment and trends that your business or service is apart of, having a plan of action with clear objectives to follow, and presenting your business or service in a professional manner. From this weeks readings Salhman identified that arrogance was the cause of many business plans failing. Salhman describes that in business risk is inevitable, so, the important element of a good business plan is to address these risks and how your team will deal with them. Salhman’s article, as well as Pirouz’s article concerning business plans for indie game developers will help both identify the crucial elements to include in our future business reports and recognize the weaknesses and strengths of our ventures.


Indie Games

Gone Home was released in 2013 by Fullbright studio, a small team of developers who had previously worked on larger AAA titles such as Bioshock. What made Gone Home so successful was their ability to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. The team at Fullbright identified their financial and operational constraints and used that analysis to develop a well scoped and engrossing game. As a result Gone Home became critically acclaimed by most major gaming news outlets and received a BAFTA Video Game Award for best debut game.



Week 2: Business Structures & Functions

Business Structures & Functions

The first industrial revolution was in 1760 concerning the mechanization of machines where the emphasis of business was on centralized and large scale production. The second industrial revolution in 1850 saw the introduction of steam engines, electricity, and production lines that created the business model for factories and the division of labor. The 3rd revolution refers to the contemporary revolution happening now concerning web culture, e-commerce and DIY & maker culture that empowers the individual in the marketplace. It is important to know the history of business in the maker economy because it allows entrepreneurs and start-ups to understand and investigate the macro-trends of the economic climate.

It is important for a few major reasons to have thorough records of business functions:

1) It allows you to track, and reference all incoming and outgoing payments

2) It allows for more accurate budgeting

3) It keeps you from spending excess in taxes


The four P’s refers to a business tool used to determine the value of the product or service in consideration. These are the follow; Product, price, place, and promotion. It is important to consider all of these elements to ensure that you are properly communicating the value of your product or service to the consumer. It is also meaningful to use a range of marketing communication methods to express the value of your product or service because it allows for you to reach a larger audience of potential consumers. If, as a business, you were to market strictly by one method you may not be effectively reaching the volume of consumers that a range of marketing methods could reach.

An example of an organization with a particularly interesting and effective marketing strategy is Loot Crate. Look Crate uses an ambassador program to provide incentive for their customers to recruit new subscribers. Each Loot Crate ambassador gets a unique sign up URL that gives a discount on their monthly subscription for each successful customer recruited. Then that new customer can do the same, and the cycle continues. Loot Crate subscribers therefore have taken to social media websites like YouTube and Twitter to spread the word and reap benefits, allowing the business itself to have the wealth of their promotion done inherently by their customers.



Week 1: Developing A Business

Idea Development & Generation

The process of idea generation is simple in theory but more complicated  in practice when creating a product for a start-up company. It is important to not only let yourself be creative but also be  mindful and practical about the plausibility of the ideas you generate. While a completely novel idea may initially seem like a good business plan in itself, thoughtful analysis may prove otherwise. Proper introspection into what it takes to produce units, and the markets that business is targeting may actually reveal how viable your novel business venture is. This may initially seem limiting however in my experiences of generating a business doing market research will help focus and scope your idea.

One of the important aspects to consider in the analysis of your business plan is differentiation. Ensuring the product or service you are trying to sell is different from competitors’ can affect many parts of your business plan; Who your competitors are, who your target market should be, how your product or service can fill an unoccupied space in its marketplace, and if your idea is patent-able or infringing on copyright. Doing market research like this can help direct the way your business will need to adapt or change as well as identifying its strengths.

Innovation & Business: NuVu Innovation School

Nuvu is an innovate school for middle and high school students in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their educational model focuses on a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to learning. Rather than separate courses with distinct subjects at Nuvu students work closely in studios with two coaches to solve specific or open-ended problems. Where traditional school systems grade work through assignments and tests, Nuvu does not give grades but rather students document all of their design decisions and show their final products in a portfolio of work. By focusing their attention on their students’ needs and working to solve specific problems NuVu is teaching their students how to solve problems from inception to completion. This focus on creative process, and producing a portfolio or work is an extremely innovative approach to learning, and produces very impressive work as showcased by the students studio work on the NuVu blog.



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