Update 1.11.19

The front cover of “The Little Zen Companion” by David Schiller.

The front cover of “The Little Zen Companion” by David Schiller.

Below is a summary of the week's pursuits. Please feel free to comment or email us for further information.

Workman Publishing

The Little Zen Companion is a staple of the ELT library. Its motivational teachings are invaluable, and we are looking to print the contents in ELIA Frames. This week we moved our conversations forward with Workman Publishing. They own the rights to The Little Zen Companion and had some additional questions for us regarding sales outside of the Kickstarter. We'll keep you updated on our discussions.

Allen Bromberger - Social Impact Lawyer

We are excited to be working with Allen Bromberger of Perlman & Perlman, LLP. He is a nationally recognized leader in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. We met Allen at the Social Venture Network - Investors Circle conference in Brooklyn in December of 2018. He served on a panel about term sheets and social impact. We attended assuming that we would review best practices with respect to traditional term sheets. Instead, Allen and Teresa Pahl of Hanson Bridgett LLP led a discussion about how one could include social impact terms in a terms sheet and how they could benefit both side of the negotiation (both the company and investors). In short, by aligning the expectation of both parties behind future milestones, social impact goals are not just more achievable, but they are an opportunity to focus the company with respect to its social mission. Given that ELIA Life is a PBC, we sought a legal representative who understood corporate law, not for profit law and PBCs (which are a new hybrid). We met with Allen this week to begin the relationship and to begin collaboration. We will continue to consult with Paul Oakley, our lawyer for over a decade, but he is pursuing his own entrepreneurial endevours and encouraged us to engage Allen.

ELIA Touch Printer

HP logo is shown.

HP logo is shown.

The team had a kick-off conference call about the TouchPrinter with our engineering team at Simplexity PD. Simplexity was recommended to us by our partner, HP, which collaborates with them extensively. We chose Simplexity in large part because many of the Simplexity engineers worked at HP for a decade or more. They continue to do so from outside HP. Their experience will be invaluable as we integrate HP components into our printer. (We have an exclusive license from HP for us of the components). Of note, Simplexity's offices are right acrosse the street from their former HP office. We also chose Simplexity because of their company ethos. They share and demonstrate the same core values to their community as we do.

We expect the printer to be available for sale in Fall 2019.

If you are interested in purchasing a printer, please send us an email.

NEW INC logo.

NEW INC logo.

Check-In Session at NEW INC.

As social impact community members at the NEW INC. incubator, Byron and I attend entrepreneurial programming. This Friday we have our first check in of the year. These check-in sessions are a great opportunity for us to practice pitching and also evaluate our recent milestones. Our peers and mentors share their perspectives and insights, offer assistance and ask tough questions. It's awesome. Without a vehicle such as these, getting perspective on our efforts is much more difficult. Through these sessions, we advance with focus and intention.

Peer-to-Peer Discussions with Collecteur

We had a discussion with Evrim Oralkan, one of the founders of Collecteur, which provides digital public access to private art collections. They too are a PBC, and at NEW INC, and as such, they are kindred spirits. Their view of work, public good and the service a compamy can give to society is evolving much like ours. What does it take to build a movement? What does being a PBC mean? How can we use being a PBC to further our mission? If one could rise about IRS distinctions about for-profit companies and not-for-profit institutions, how would a for-profit company serve its community? How do we become a better PBC? We both believe that PBCs are the future of business and, in many ways philanthropy. How do we help make that happen?

T-Shirts

A red shirt with “LOVE” in ELIA Frames.

A red shirt with “LOVE” in ELIA Frames.

A blue shirt with “PEACE” in ELIA Frames.

A blue shirt with “PEACE” in ELIA Frames.

On the Thursday before the holiday break, I awoke with a kidney stone. Holy cow! It was painful. In the doctor's office, I read about an article in Money magazine ablout Merch Amazon, where people sell design intensive T-shirts. Amazon handles everything but the design. I've been wanting to wear ELIA T-shirts with funky saying on them. So over the holiday break, from the comfort of my in-law's couch, while the kids learned how to build with Legos, I learned the basics of Adobe Illustrator. With it, I designed a few shirts and posted them on Amazon. They have words in ELIA Frames, words like love and peace. They could have sayings of your choosing. For example, one person requested a shirt in ELIA Frames that says "All leaders are readers." (Harry Truman) I made one with a quote from Hannibal and one with "Never Quit!" on it. I'm looking forward to wearing these as power t-shirts; they will be something that will set the tone for my days but not intimidate those around me. Both new designs are working their way through the Amazon approval process. Search on Amazon under ELIAFrames for the list of shirt designs we have posted. We'll try to post a new shirt a day. Ping us if you would like a shirt with something specific on it. We'll design it, post it for you, and send you a link.

Fundraising and Strategy

As we start the year, we are evaluating potential goals, needs and initiatives, in addition to internal practices and professional goals. Earlier this week we continued our conversation regarding fundraising and strategy. We will delineate each of these initiatives in later posts, but the initiatives we will focus on are:

  1. Fulfilling Kickstarter Reward Delivery
  2. ELIA Frame demonstration events in NYC
  3. Building relationships with strategic partners
  4. Finishing the ELIA TouchPrinter
  5. Mechanical Keyboard Beta Testing
  6. Sharing our creative assets (testimonial videos and the game).

Update 1.4.19

“Welcome to our blog!” in ELIA Frames.

“Welcome to our blog!” in ELIA Frames.

Printer Troubleshooting and Maintenance

This week we resolved a minor glitch with Bessy, our main Tektronix Phase 300X printer. It was built in 1995 and we’ve used it since 2003. Parts wear out. Recently, it had not been feeding paper correctly. We had to stand over the printer and mother it to print content for a single page. Even then, it was mis-feeding. Perhaps one in four pages successfully fed. Both of Byron and I were triaging it ad hoc over the past month as we juggled other tasks.

This week we sat down with Bessy and tried to figure out a long-term solution that would get her back to health again. The major issue was that the rubber rollers had been worn down and were not grabbing the paper from the paper tray. In nerd terms, the diameter of the rollers was less than it once was. So we looked for ways to increase the diameter. Our short term solution was to disassemble the paper feed assembly and add rubber bands to the rollers (see photograph below). In the medium term, we will cannibalize one of our printers in storage, removing its paper feed assembly and swapping that in for our current assembly. In the long term, so that we can utilize all 14 of our printers, we will address these roller challenges by fabricating new rollers with rubber rapid.

The rollers are a certain density that allows them to grab the paper in the desired way. For rapid prototyping, we would need to fabricate the correct density materials or at least a close proximity to the density. In technical terms, we would find a prototype method that could utilize materials with the right durometer. If this is your area of expertise, feel free to ping us.

Andrew wraps a rubber band around the rollers.

Andrew wraps a rubber band around the rollers.

The print chassis was reinstalled with three rollers with rubber bands.

The print chassis was reinstalled with three rollers with rubber bands.

Goal Setting for 2019

The New Year is here and we are goal setting. You are welcome to join us.

Our priorities are:

  1. Fulfilling Kickstarter Rewards
  2. Launching the ELIA Starter Kits to the general public
  3. Further beta testing both the ELIA Keyboard overlay and the ELIA Mechanical Keyboard, then launching both of them.
  4. Launching the ELIA Frame Game
  5. Launching labeling solutions and helping our community to utilize them for independent living.
  6. Expanding the pilot program in NYC and launching it elsewhere. This includes a pilot with an assistive living organization that has residents who have a visual impairment. In the assistive living pilot, we would measure the effect that ELIA Frames has on independent living.

These are worthy goals. They speak to building a movement, not just a business. But, at this time, the goals do not have specific metrics attached to them. To ensure that our team does not chase our shadows, we will be talking within our team and to our advisors about what these initiatives will require. You are welcome to share your thoughts with us, or ask questions. We will generate estimates for the costs of these initiatives and share them with you.

We will share another post about our professional personal goals for better work in our next posts. We are still discussing them!

Additional goals include:

  1. Completing the TouchPrinter’s development and launching it
  2. Submitting and winning an SBIR grant to build foundational design tools for tactile character and graphics generation.
  3. Communicate with you, our community, weekly.
  4. Advance the technology platform we have developedfor a tactile refreshable computer display.
  5. Through technical LinkedIn posts, advance our impact audience’s and target audience’s understanding of visual impairment and how we can improve the ELIA (Education, Literacy, Independence for All) in the community.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

Logo for Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Logo for Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Next week we will meet with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to discuss how we might help Brooklyn companies to better serve people who have a visual impairment. The discussion will include how to help health care providers, property managers, and government to better understand and serve the needs of folks who have a visual impairment. A friend of ours who serves on the Chamber, Anthony Woods, connected us to the Chamber.