What happened after the Summer?

I've developed a great appreciation of calendar management.
A few people who follow this blog have sometimes asked me, "What happened next? Did you hire the sales guy? Have you put the business on hold? What happened next?" My posts since the end of the 13 weeks of the Summer have done little to explain how things have been progressing with the business. At the start, this was because very little was actually happening. The momentum has, however, picked up.

Ultimately I did not hire for "the sales guy". This was because I was not certain that this would be the best use of the remaining money that I have. Instead, with school in session, in contrast to a summer spent working solely on the startup, the activity around the business this quarter has centered around the group project for one of my classes - MKTG450, "Research Methods in Marketing". MKTG450 is an interesting class, if only because I know of no other class that allows you to reach out to so many potential clients.

For MKTG450, teams have to conduct a marketing research project. Typically these project teams choose to conduct an internet survey. This survey, for example, could be asking peer students about food options at Kellogg (with Kellogg's catering facilities being the client). My project team choose to work on PreScouter, the business that I'm developing. As such, it quickly became clear that we could use this opportunity to approach company R&D labs. Why not conduct a survey of prospective clients? Instead of doing an internet survey, why not talk to them up over the phone and present the product to them?

Fortunately, both the professor for the class and my project team agreed to this approach. As a consequence, my project team has spent a gigantic amount of time arranging and conducting interviews. To think about it is scary. We first reached out to Kellogg alumni in relevant job functions and industries. We then identified a list of executives working in external research / open innovation roles and also approached them. We then scheduled phone interview with all those that responded to us.

So far we have completed 26 interviews. I'll leave it to your imagination to determine how many hours this has taken in email exchanges, phone conversations, write-ups and other activities. However, we only need a few more interviews to complete the survey and it's already been a great experience for me and fantastic for the business. In scheduling interviews alone, I've gained an appreciation of what a hard task that secretaries and PAs have in managing peoples' calendars. I've also learned how powerful it can be to have a great team. I'll expand on this, and share the results of the project, in the next week or two -- as we come to complete the project.