People are a resource too

Oct 27 2015

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Lauren Merlini works on page layouts for the prototype. (Photo taken by Morgan Trachtman.)

The Pitch Day finish line is quickly approaching, and our group is chugging along to make it there with our sanity still intact. My main role in my group, with Jonathan Ponciano and Lauren Merlini, is to do research on our product and the feasibility of accessing the information we want. Before working in the Lab, research to me meant sitting at a computer reading articles, maybe even venturing to the library to read a book. In the Lab, research means talking to people, and I’ve quickly learned that people can be the best resource out there.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve sent countless e-mails to people working at various news organizations about gaining access to their archived information. For our original idea of incorporating news articles into a book, this was vital. For the most part, people have been more than happy to help and offer their time and assistance. I’ve received e-mails filled with links to more information and had great phone calls with potential business deals.

Our idea has drastically altered around feedback. We sent out a form to gauge interest in the product and realized the small prototype we included didn’t communicate¬†our exact idea. People said they kind of got it, but in order to get reliable results, we would need better page examples.

So that is what we’ve been working on this week. We have been using content that we can legally, and with no cost, have access to (it isn’t much) and are building page layouts to send out in a second form to better gauge our next steps. We’ve researched the cost of building our product, and we constantly think of new ideas for the book.

For example, originally the idea was a personalized ancestry book. That morphed into weddings, then births and now graduations. We see a lot of options with our idea, which is great, but at the end of the day it’ll come down to what people want and are willing to pay for.

So now it’s back to utilizing people as a resource. We are getting more and more feedback on our idea and making sure that we’re tailoring it to what people really want. There’s no point in building a product that no one will buy. People are the best resource out there, and I’ve learned that to build a successful product, it’s important to utilize people as a resource.


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