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Joshua Ayres – CEO and Founder at Symbient Product Solutions

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Joshua Ayres, President and Founder of Symbient Product Solutions discusses the inner workings of keeping your products on the shelves of retailers both large and small.

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Eric Howerton – CEO & Senior Consultant at WhyteSpyder

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Eric Howerton, CEO and Senior Consultant at WhyteSpyder discusses the importance of marketing early stage CPG companies.

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The Portable Keyboard, Perfected

6c1d4745797cb30871345cac2bf4e69f_largeA portable keyboard needs to be tiny, but not so tiny as to impair functionality. It should reliably respond to input, without inserting false characters or omitting letters you hit. It should feel as comfortable and natural as the keyboard on your laptop.

Unlike the pop up onscreen keyboard of an iPad or the slide out keyboard of a phone, Flyshark won’t drive its users to indulge in excessive displays of grief and frustration.

In size and shape it resembles a Game Boy, and like a Game Boy, FlyShark fits anywhere, including your pocket. The keys are deep; they sink down with the satisfying *plink plink plink* sounds of typing – like the sound of letters’ tiny feet pounding over the screen. False characters will only appear because you pressed them. True characters will appear because you pressed them. In short, this is a frustration free keyboard.

cd41ee3263d96069efd42fd60f739180_largeFlyshark is a Bluetooth device, compatible with anything Bluetooth enabled. You can even operate screen’s camera and play music directly from Flyshark - certain keys are the controls.

Pair the little keyboard with your phone, your iPod, your tablet, and work as you would at home on your desktop. This is something that idea people will appreciate. Trying to capture your inspiration by jotting down notes on a napkin is well enough, but why not set it down in cold hard print when and where it occurs to you?

 

 

FIXD Tells You What Your Car Is Trying to Say

8d61af399678aaecc4f467b6d85c4187_largeWhen you start your car, do you watch the dashboard like a hawk to make sure all the lights blink off? Do you budge an inch from your driveway when one continues to glow steadily, maybe even accompanied by an ominous beep?

Probably you have no time to track down the cause of your car’s warning. Maybe you haven’t the knowledge either, and who rushes their car into the mechanic every time a light comes on?

FIXD knows. FIXD will tell you. FIXD is an onboard diagnostic system that plugs directly into the dash. Interpreting the lights as they flash and do not fade, FIXD communicates the problem, its severity, and its solution to the driver via smartphone alerts.

942b2ce576d59f4183c887f3613f28bb_largeFor instance: I climb into my two seater pickup truck and start her up. The airbag light flashes, but so do the rest – merely a sign of power returning. One by one they blink off, all except the airbag light. This is distressing. The airbag needs to work. I pull out my phone and find that FIXD is way ahead of me. FIXD will either show me that my rascally truck is issuing false or petty warnings, or that the airbag is genuinely malfunctioning. Say my truck is being true and the airbag is compromised. The FIXD alert, “Airbag Malfunction,” will appear in a red bar to indicate high risk. Below, it will list the consequences of ignoring the warning: in our example, injury in a collision. Finally, it will tell me the approximate cost of having the problem fixed.

The FIXD sensor and app puts all the information needed to make an informed decision in the palm of your hand.

 

 

Redesigning Your Website, and Not for the Reason You Think

Your website is the world’s window into your business. If it is dreary, unprofessional, and outdated, what does that make your product? Your product probably isn’t any of those things, but how else is a customer to know? If your website is any of those things, it may be time to invest in a redesign.

Now, content and design go hand in hand. The content does no good if it’s not well presented, and the design does no good if it only dresses up mediocre content. Worst of all is aimlessness, failure to deliver a compelling message. The purpose of a website redesign is to strengthen your message, as well as its aesthetic appeal.

You can’t strengthen a message until you have one. Before you or anyone else touches the current website, think long and hard about what exactly you’re trying to communicate to potential customers. Strategize. What is the message you want to drive home? What is the feeling you want to convey? What is the desired outcome of a visit to your website?

You want to be sure that your call to action message (buy, subscribe, like, share, etc.) can’t be missed, that the road to your desired outcome – purchase, most likely – is smooth and gently sloping. Someone viewing your webpage should be able to walk your path to purchase in their sleep. The decision not to buy should be a conscious one. No one should have to cast about looking for the trigger. Your website should make clear and easy what you want your visitor to do.

Make sure your customer base is clearly identified and targeted. Redesigning your website to appeal to viewers for whom your product or service wasn’t designed is a waste of time and money. Specific marketing, well presented, well designed, will go a long way in improving conversion rates – the number of viewers you turn into customers.

Beware an overhaul for the sake of overhauling. Just because you’re bored with your website of several years doesn’t mean the whole thing needs changed. If your message is strong and your conversion rates high, don’t be too quick to fix what isn’t broken. Customers dislike sudden and wholesale change. If change is needed, be focused and effective with it. Be incremental, if possible. Redesign with a strategy.

Ashley Morgan Penn is the founder of M.A. Design Firm and a mentor at Selling to the Masses. 

 

 

Pocket Tool Thin as a Credit Card and Infinitely More Useful

1379974_215012588622939_289233868_nSome people are born mechanics, even if they never pursue that field. We call them handy fellows and sometimes burst out singing the chorus of “Bob the Builder” when their pocket tools make an appearance.

Yet not as many handy fellows carry pocket tools as you might think, because so few pocket tools are truly handy. Unhandiness is the last charge anyone would ever think to level against the PocketMonkey.

pocketmonkey-closeup-inWallet-bgIt’s as thin and flat as a credit card and fits into a wallet the same way. Nate Barr, the handy fellow that created PocketMonkey, designed it initially with twelve uses in mind. Other handy fellows are constantly discovering more.

The PocketMonkey is three different kinds of screwdriver: the customary flat tip screwdriver, a miniature screwdriver like the one needed to repair eyeglasses, and a Phillips screwdriver. All consist of simple blades, without handles and without jutting edges.

Any multi-tool worth its salt includes a bottle opener, and the PocketMonkey is emphatically worth its salt.

pocketmonkey-orangePeeler-260You would expect a tool with the shape and face of a monkey to include fruit functions, wouldn’t you? PocketMonkey peels oranges and slices the tops off bananas, things not even the long-fingernailed among us always accomplish with ease.

How about lock-picking? Remember, a door’s lock only prevents the door knob from turning; the latch is still free. The PocketMonkey’s thin frame can slip between the latch and its corresponding hollow in the doorframe and force them apart, opening the door without even unlocking it.

The built-in letter and package opener rips through paper and tape as easily as a pocket knife would. Two rulers, one metric and the other standard, are printed along the sides. Five different sizes of hex wrenches come standard: find a bolt and slide the wrench hollow over it until one size sticks.  To top it all off, the PocketMonkey combined with a credit card makes a really great phone stand.

 

 

Scott Morris – Co-Founder & President at Freshpet

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Scott Morris, Co-Founder and president at Freshpet talks with Derek Ridenoure about his company’s journey from product development to retail shelves across the country. Continue reading

Tom Muccio – President of Global Customer Teams (retired) Procter & Gamble

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Tom Muccio – President of Global Customer Teams (retired) Procter & Gamble, talks with Derek Ridenoure about early stage CPG strategies that work.

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Blink: Effortless and Affordable HD Home Monitoring

a455c5167dabbc818eb4aef2d1a632c4_largeBlink, the up and coming wire free HD home monitoring and alert system, promises a new day in affordability and adaptability for home monitoring systems.  Crowdfunding on Kickstarter has been a smashing success,  attracting over 5,500 backers and raising more than 4 times their goal with only a few days left in the campaign.

The genius lies in its simplicity of use and versatility.  No wires or outlets are necessary, save one outlet for the accompanying Sync Module.  That’s one outlet for the entire system, not one per Blink box.  The Blink itself is powered by two regular CR123 batteries that last up to one year.  Information is displayed through the Blink app on your iOS or Android, and there are no monthly fees.

The Coolest Cooler

869d96b44377164366c7c4ef6beac4c4_largeThe man who set his mind to building a new kind of cooler wouldn’t have had to do much to improve on the old one. Short of accidentally omitting its insulative properties, any change to your average cooler would be an improvement.

But in adding features and improving old ones, something amazing happened. The resulting cooler was cool. It was the Coolest Cooler there had ever been.

The Coolest Cooler has wheels big enough to be called tires. Pulled along like a suitcase, this cooler will bounce along over obstacles like a Jeep.

faf63cb91e9f4005df4bbceca1489e36_largeYou know the feeling of opening a refrigerator door late at night and being bathed in its angelic glow? LED lights built into the Coolest Cooler’s lid achieve the same effect. You might start singing.

A removable divider separates the ice from the food, preventing sad and soggy drowned sandwiches. Slots in the lid perfectly fit plates and silverware for easy take along.

blender_smI’ve saved the best for last. The Coolest Cooler includes a blender that operates on the lid. You have ice, you have drinks – it seems meant to be. Slushies, smoothies, mixed drinks, shakes… The pairing of cooler and blender seems like it should have been obvious; that’s how we know it was such a great idea.

On the Coolest’s front, a Bluetooth waterproof speaker brings the music with the food, another natural pairing.

All of this is USB rechargeable. Are you rushing to the Coolest Kickstarter page yet? At the time of this writing, it had raised over eleven million dollars and had thirty-six short hours left of its campaign.

 

 


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