Brooklyn

Update 1.18.19

ELIA Frame individual adhesive labels with “baking”, “soda”, “powder”, “sugar”, “socks”, “choco”, “under”, and “shirt”.

ELIA Frame individual adhesive labels with “baking”, “soda”, “powder”, “sugar”, “socks”, “choco”, “under”, and “shirt”.

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We have always been a lean company. We stay this way by building relationships with professionals and teams who can collaborate with us when we need them, and when we don’t need them, they are lending their expertise to other organizations, or working for themselves. Many of our collaborators have been with us for more than a decade.

We also employ the practice of working with people and organizations on small projects first, wherever possible, before engaging in longer-term projects or employment (we learned from ReWork, by Jason Fried). This week’s work highlights our company’s efforts to build our internal and extended team. We will collaborate with them to help our community.

This week we had a meetings with:

  • Our consultant Adam Linn, who will be coming on board as a full time employee
  • Our product development partners, Simplexity PD
  • Our public relations and community development collaboration with Alex Daly and the Daly PR team
  • The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
  • Conversations with current and potential future investors

Adam Linn

We have been collaborating with Adam Linn for one day a week since May of 2018. Originally, we reached out to him to see if he would be interested in learning ELIA Frames and helping us with a pilot reader program. Through it Adam became one of the fastest ELIA Frames readers. And through our interviews with him, he began advising us on everything from strategy to font design.

This week Adam agreed to join the team as a full-time employee and serve as our head of community development. He will lead efforts to build relationships within the consumer community and to institutional partners. He will also continue with his role on our corporate strategy team.

Read more on our team page.

Simplexity

This week we reviewed Simplexity’s design input requirements (DIR) documentation for the TouchPrinter™. A DIR provides guidance for the advance development of a product. It includes technology to be used, required performance of the end product, end user requirements, etc. To give you some examples of what is considered, this week we discussed the performance of components that will be in the printer, what sizes and weights of paper would be accepted by the printer, its physical footprint requirements, desired print speed, firmware needed to integrate subsystems, and the prioritization of features and benefits. The DIR will be updated throughout the development process. It will guide each of the ELT team as well as Simplexity’s team, all the way through to the printer's design-for-manufacturing.

Daly PR

We completed negotiations to work with Alex Daly and her team at Daly PR. During our Kickstarter campaign (in the spring of 2018) we were fortunate to work with Alex’s crowdfunding team (known then as Vann Alexandra). They were a major part of the success of the campaign. One of the signature successes of the campaign was the dozens of articles in the press we were able to attract.

We valued her collaboration and reached out to her in late 2018 to see if she would be interested in working together again outside of a Kickstarter. Fortunately, she was!

Once we have raised our next round of financing, Daly PR will help us 1) form new stories for press coverage, 2) find corporate partners to grow our movement, 3) engage target and impact audiences in an interactive and meaningful way, 4) introduce us to audiences with whom we can share our work (e.g. design teams in companies that seek to better serve marginalized communities).

The collaboration we sought isn’t what one would expect of a traditional PR firm. And as Daly PR has so much more capacity beyond just traditional PR, we felt it would be more rewarding and enjoyable to work with them as a more integral part of our outreach efforts. So we gave them a wish list of all the ways we would like to work with them and where we felt they could help make our movement happen. We discussed it with them and they shared their thoughts, and together we made concrete realistic plans for a new kind of partnership. It might be called a PR partnership, but we both expect that it will be much, much more!

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

Thanks to an advisor of ours, Anthony Woods of Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, we were introduced to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. This past week we met with them and began discussions regarding how ELIA Life can collaborate with them, federal, state and local government, and local organizations to help our the city utilize ELIA Frames. We brainstormed about what avenues we might take to serve the Brooklyn community. It is the early stages of our relationship with the Chamber. We’ll keep you updated.

Financing Conversations

We had a number of conversations with investors and advisors regarding our current round of financing. These centered on the amount of financing we should raise. We have set milestones and we’ve estimated what capital we will need to reach them. Some are longer term than others. Our advisors have shared helpful advice in this regard. We are still forming a consensus on whether to raise a round that is enough capital for a national initiative, or one through which we can demonstrate more regional adoption.

Label Development and Production

Adam Linn has invited a baseball teammate of his to join us this current week, with the goals of teaching his teammate ELIA Frames and of providing the gentleman with labels that can help him do his professional work more easily. The specific task he would like help with is labeling folders. This week Byron created label sets using adhesive transfer samples from 3M. We shared them with Adam, who critiqued them. All went well, there will be some minor adjustments, then we will print the requested labels for our new contact. It will be exciting to see how he feels about the labels.

3M adhesive transfer being applied to ELIA Frame adhesive and hanging label prototypes.

3M adhesive transfer being applied to ELIA Frame adhesive and hanging label prototypes.

Testing ELIA Frame adhesive and hanging labels.

Testing ELIA Frame adhesive and hanging labels.

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.