Day 26: Keep it Simple, Stupid
25 Mar, Meeting Emily Treptow:
A short and simple meeting that worked out beautifully for all of us. I did want to use every bit of available resources at the University. So when I saw that we had library staff serving as an advisor, I grabbed the opportunity. Here's what the blurb had said on the Polsky website:
"Emily can help you define your target market through consumer demographics and market research. She can also help you define your competition by helping you locate company information and industry analysis.
These were both weak areas for us- and I wanted to focus on the competition section. After all, we'd just been working on these areas three days ago with Laurence's final presentation the last week. Were they really competitors? Was I really missing something in this process.
I showed up and found that I had never met this lady at the library. She clarified she sat in the Business and Economics section- which I admit, I had never visited. I shared the story of phones using us, and she nodded along. She mentioned how they suck away time, but a few like Duolingo were worth the effort. I filed away that bit of information in my head, and continued discussing the core issue.
I began to speak to her about the book How to Break up With Your Phone, and took it out to show her. After a few sluggish starts of my laptop, I was able to pull out the specific slide from the old presentation which talked about competition. I showed her the familiar crosses and ticks. I then shared my apprehensions around the idea of competition. We were after all, reaching out to many of these folks, and manufacturers in the space of digital wellness. ‘I don’t know if they're really competing with us, or just potential collaborators" Beat this coincidence- she was reading a book on a rather similar topic- Make Time. The authors- Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. I was generally pretty well-versed with authors in this domain. How had I never heard of these two? She opened up where her bookmark led her, and then highlighted the section on Social Media and the associated time wastage. So they weren't exclusively about the Smartphone. But there was indeed an entire section on managing or even entirely ditching social media. She then led me to their website (I believe it was the suggested items page) and which seemed to sell clocks too. A different brand from the ones I'd looked at so far. And certainly not as aesthetically appealing. But it was interesting to see that the angle had been explored already, with similar results. So where did this put us? Partners? So I'd like to think!
So then onto Part 2 of this effort- how to complete our currently lacklustre section on understanding the market we were operating in. She showed me UChicago's own search page from the library site- Statistica. And lo and behold- we had figures on everything from smartphone usage to youth demographics. Perfect! I didn't plan to find the numbers just yet. Would consult her in case we couldn't find something later.
And now was the time to pull out that old Duolingo card. I told her about my language learning (mis)adventures, and we ended up speaking briefly in French. She told me how Spanish had been a challenge due to clashes with French. But it had improved considerably after spending some time living in Mexico. I told her about LingWizkids, and told her I'd send along any relevant learning resources. I also mentioned this blog, which is when we got sweet Danielle to click the fake-candid photos.
We were both surprised at how quickly we'd wrapped up. She shrugged and smiled. ‘It doesn’t have to last the full 45 minutes.' I laughed and told her I'd catch up with her when my blogpost (this one) was out. And then I headed out to board the Metra train to the Millenium station. Simple and sweet. Don't you love it when that happens?