The Good, the Bad, and the Deck

I started by creating a plain Jane, blank deck with a title at the head of each major category: Problem, Solution, Competitive Landscape, Product, Market & Market Strategy, Team, Traction, Roadmap. These are the ultimate categories that got me to my happy place. Some of it can be mixed and matched but from the research I’ve done, the most successful layouts go in a similar sequence; but you have to feel out whatever it is your pitching and assemble it kind of like a book — so it flows and makes sense. The last slide eases you into the next.

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Audio From The Boss

Nowadays we listen to music over tiny Bluetooth speakers which are being pushed to the limit of their sound volume capacity, disregarding the quality of sound. Still, when we turn on one of those small speakers - say, a JBL Flip - we are initially amazed by how many decibels can come out of such a small package. Yet, we soon understand that there is no magic bullet - that thick volume of sound comes with tremendous audio compression blurring all sound frequencies together, into a dull mono-like effect peppered with a punchy but all too irrealistic bass effect.

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Coffee, Coffee, Coffee?

The first step was the Boss. He started by showing me the ropes in China. He set the ground rules. How to do; why to do; what is possible, in a sense. He told me that what I accomplish in my time in this country, is entirely dependent on the amount of work I put into it. Nothing will happen for me. No one is going to hold my hand, not even the Boss. I was lucky enough to have the Boss to consult in my first trip here, but although it sounds completely obvious, you really are at the behest of your own work-ethic. So get right. Set your mind to a number of goals. Not just one. If you limit yourself to one goal you will be restricted to the workflow we’re plagued with in the States. 55MPH. Shenzhen, China is like driving on the Autobahn. You choose the speed.

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Ways to get Shit Done, and Ways to Not get Shit Done.

I’ve had a lot of people wonder how I’ve gotten to the point I’m at now, pretty much alone, and with no prior knowledge of how to make a product. One thing I’m good at is the art of YouTube and Google. That’s where I start for pretty much anything I’m working on; be it building a restaurant, construction, working on HVAC-r equipment, or building a product. I mean, we’re in the age of information right now. Just about anything you’re after is literally at your fingertips.

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The Tireless Pursuit

Let’s talk branding. Let’s talk marketing. I’m obviously a force to be reckoned with in these respects (peep my 200 followers on insta!). It’s tough. It’s a mystery. One of those great questions that only that one super annoying person you meet out at happy hour can seem to answer. The person that everyone thinks, “yeah, okay, you’re in marketing. Of course. You have your own business. Oh, I can work from home, you say?” You know, that person.

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Step One: Make It Sound Pretty Good.

Let’s talk about how I’m developing a product that pretty much revolves around great audio, being someone who has no background on anything of the sort apart from liking music — well, yeah, I love music, but I’m not an audiophile or anything. When I first started Wawlee, I rounded up as many speakers that I thought either sounded good, or were industry leaders.

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Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

Early on in Wawlee’s life, while I was designing the early 3D models and testing any components I could get off-the-shelf from places like parts-express.com, I would go through bouts of doubt and denial. Every other day I would ask myself why I’m putting so much time into disciplines that it takes people their entire careers to learn; like industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, audio engineering, and so on. I even signed up for online courses in some of the fields like electrical engineering — just so I could at least understand what’s going on.

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The Assembly Ghost is out to get Me.

Assembly is a BEAR. Grizzly. Each and every time I’ve assembled a model of Wawlee I’ve met a number of SNAFUs. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just in my bones, but every time I plan out the process before the glue and RTV caps come off, and somehow, something always goes horribly wrong.

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I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty.

Since I’ve began my trip in China just two weeks ago, I’ve already iterated the Mechanical Engineering and chassis design of Wawlee about 4 times. My process looks a little like this: CNC file, check tolerances and fit, check for acoustics, check for durability, make changes to 3D file, send back to CNC. Then it’s just rinse and repeat. Over, and over, and over. When I was in China back in July, most of the trip consisted of finding components that I wanted to work with, getting those in my hands along with a good caliper, and then incorporating all of those things into my 3D file in prep for sending to the CNC factory.

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Shapr3D, Will You Marry Me?

At this point in Wawlee’s life, I had nothing to show but scribbles in sketchbooks and a couple blurbs about what I think it should be able to do in my Notes app. I needed to take these things from those ideas, to something physical. In order to utilize my shiny new 3D printer, I needed to be able to design in three dimensions (obviously). After doing some research on different programs, I decided on Shapr3D. Mainly because It’s an iPad based 3D program and I’m portability’s #1 Fan.

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Where in the Wawlee?

Where in the Wawlee did Wawlee even come from???
I cofounded my second restaurant last year and it was a doozy; from cutting 200 pounds of meat in the morning, to working in front of an 1100 degree french top all day and night, to scrubbing what felt like a million pots and pans until my fingers more resembled prunes; It’s safe to say last season put me through the ringer.

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Trials and Tribulations of a One-Man Startup.

One other thing i would like to get off of my chest, is I’m not such a gud riter. I love the comma, and my run on sentences run for days, much further than i can run, and I’m supposed to meet up with a running club tomorrow (man, I’m gonna be humiliated). You’ll see that i try to substitute my comma with semi-colons, colons, hyphens, parenthesis, literally; anything: that — can (help me to continue this sentence without needing a period) <— no period

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