3 Companies Turning Product Challenges Into Product Gold

By Sharon R. Brown

Where’s the pain felt most when you are in the midst of launching a new product or service?  Surprisingly, the challenges typically boil down to one core issue — translating the product vision into verifiable outputs — the deliverables.

We took a look at few startups and SMB’s (small-to-medium-sized businesses) to uncover the biggest challenges that they are experiencing in launching their projects.


Our analysis revealed challenges such as data acquisition, community building, and sensitive data access surfaced as some of the key issues. There are few absolutes in product development.

But, the one constant that is worth emphasizing is that regardless of the industry, if you’re building a product or service from the ground up there will be bumps in the road or potential roadblocks.

Throughout my experience launching numerous products and services across a variety of industries in the corporate sector — and over a decade plus as an entrepreneur — I have always been most surprised that companies often struggle to translate their project vision into actionable plans that can be executed within a measured product development life cycle.

Here is a snapshot of a few companies that are navigating remarkable development challenges in their product releases while launching a unique set of deliverables, despite the roadblocks.


The Data Sensitivity Challenge

LifeSite Vault is a new, secure web-based solution for storing all of life’s vital information and documents. The company’s SaaS platform provides a solution to organize, categorize, manage and safely share information, all in one place.


LifeSite’s Product Challenge:

Gaining the trust of consumers posed the biggest challenge for LifeSite. The confidential nature of the information that the startup’s product was designed to lock up creates a data sensitivity issue. However, LifeSite Vault focused on addressing the safety and security of personal information in the product by engaging security experts during design, development and testing.

The company uses the latest military-grade security protocols, and are continuously monitoring and auditing systems to maintain the highest level of security. The product will be launching a premium paid version by March 2016.


The Infrastructure Challenge

DADA is an online community where visual people draw together. Draw something and someone from anywhere in the world can respond with another drawing. It’s a place to discover that you are an artist, and a place for artists to be discovered.


DADA’s Product Challenge:

The biggest challenge for DADA was figuring how to make it work. Since nothing like the online community has been attempted before, DADA could not translate requirements or adapt the infrastructure from the real or online world. A lot of iteration and experimentation was required to build a system by which people would want to draw.

Getting artist to share their drawings, respond to drawings and create community was a hurdle.  Ultimately, DADA created a community with extraordinary and meaningful engagement.  DADA launched September 2015 and will launch their mobile app March 2016.

big data

The Data Acquisition Challenge

Kehko is a startup that’s building a platform to help socially and environmentally conscious consumers discover companies that are giving back to causes they care about.  The company is in the pre-launch stage.

Kehko’s Product Challenge:

The biggest challenge for Kehko has been identifying social enterprises to include on its platform. With thousands of social enterprises around the world, identifying them has been a real struggle.  The site is expected to launch February 2016.

Over the next few weeks, I will share more of my perspective about some of the best practices for product and project implementation.  Please feel to contact me here and share your experiences and perspectives.


Sharon R. Brown is founder and CEO of eLuminate Network.  Sharon is a tech entrepreneur, product management expert, speaker and author, and regularly speaks on the subjects of product development and project implementation.  You can follow her via @SharonRbrown1 and Facebook.com/eLuminate

eLuminate is the most influential, the most read, and the most popular destination for product and project resources and news for startups and SMBs.


3 Tips Startups Can Use To Stay Agile

Innovation and the idea of creating the next big thing is tantalizing in theory—but how easy is it to do for large companies with layers of product and idea vetting processes, regulatory and political constraints?

In a LinkedIn post, entrepreneur and investor Yann Girard, wrote that corporations are too riddled with red tape, regulations, protocol, politics, CYA and fear of risk for their employees to take on the unknowns associated with the practices of startups, where immense rewards loom on the distant seashore but the waters that must be traversed to get there are laden with sharks.

So, if you want to infuse more of a startup philosophy into your organization, what can you do?

sandbox IT

1. Give employees sandbox opportunities

When we talk about a sandbox, we’re usually talking about an IT area (like big data) where employees can experiment with different theories with the understanding that while a great idea might bubble to the top, more often than not, many experimental efforts will fail.

If employees know that their superiors understand this, it cures the fear that employees have of failure and allows them to create. There is also no reason why this sandbox concept can’t be extended to non-technology areas such as customer service, manufacturing, purchasing and even HR.

2. Reward Creative Work

If an employee comes up with a concept or an idea that brings something new and better into the organization, the organization should recognize it. Employees need to know that the company values creative innovation.


3. Invest In Creative Talent

Individuals who demonstrate remarkable creative talent should be cultivated and encouraged—and not stuck in line functions that bore them until they leave. Remember, your intellectual capital (in the form of people) is your most valuable asset.

Risk taking and mitigation, even in startups, should be a regular exercise. If you are in a leadership position, it is important to foster innovation, no matter the size of the organization.

Are Your Mobile Ads Losing to Mobile Technology?

Mobile Ads

Mobile is now a key focus in digital ad campaigns, and has overtaken desktop as the connected screen of choice for 60% of 16 – 24 year olds. according to the Ofcom Communications Market Report.  To maintain the interest of this valuable demographic, advertisers must go further to build  that stand out from the crowd and captivate consumers.

The average UK consumers switching between at least three devices, building campaigns that reach every channel is essential. Advertisers must become adept at designing ads to complement the unique attributes of each channel — including smartphones, tablets, desktop, and Digital Out of Home (DOOH) — and ensuring their campaigns are cohesive, appropriate, and impactful.


Mastering multi-faceted delivery is only the first stage of producing truly effective advertising; the next step is to focus on maximizing the hardware’s potential.

In 2016, advertisers will start to look beyond display optimizing for their creative – and will begin to utilize the hardware capabilities of individual devices. By delivering a tailored experience that immerses, engages and surprises consumers as they move between screens, advertisers can help mitigate the need for ad blockers.

ad blocking

Ad Blocking

The ad blocking issue has brought the importance of ad context to the forefront, especially for multi-screen campaigns. Ad creative is better aligning with and becoming more appropriate for each device. Also, attitudes towards ad formats such as interstitial — which is particularly prone to disrupt and irritate mobile users — are shifting.

The industry is moving towards native ad formats, such as HTLM5, that offer greater innovation and a less intrusive way to make a valuable connection. Constructing dynamic creative that immediately responds to its environment is now vital, and the consensus that one-size-fits-all ads do not meet the needs of multi-screen consumers is building.

mobile tablet

Mobile Technology and Future Device Hardware

The next stage of this advertising evolution is to take ad context further and concentrate on device hardware. After all, if the best design is adjusted to meet the size and connection of each device, why not adapt to specific features to provide an even more engaging experience for the user? Ads that not only blend with, but also complement their environment are less likely to seem out of place — and therefore have a greater chance of reducing ad blocker usage.

Mobile technology is in constant development and as more sophisticated features appear, the shift from static ad content to rich engaging creatives is on the rise. Smartphones and tablets already come equipped with advanced tech, such as accelerometer and gyroscope features that adjust screen orientation as users move their mobile from horizontal to landscape, side-to-side or even rotate.

These features automatically open a whole range of possibilities, including virtual experiences, movement based games, interactive customization and location-based targeting.  Going one step further, ad content can now be crafted in an interactive story narrative, allowing users interact with personalized ads on their tablets and smartphones.


Multi-Screening Ad Content

Multi-screening is an established element of the digital existence and the advertising industry is starting to recognize the need for flexible creative formats that adapt to suit their context. Yet there is more to mastering ad context than producing content that displays well across devices. Advertisers need to get more creative and use all of the tools at their disposal to capture consumer imaginations, which means realizing the potential of the individual capabilities of each device.

By tailoring campaigns to take advantage of the unique hardware features mobile offers, advertisers can deliver extraordinary creative experiences that stand out from the crowd and turn ad campaigns into rich engaging content.



source: Jamie Evans-Parker, CEO & Founder, wayve.

Report: The Future of High-Capacity Drones

High-capacity drones, underwater cities, flights into space and super skyscrapers are just some of the things we can expect to see in 100 years according to a new report by Samsung SmartThings.

One prediction for the future includes the use of drones in ways the average consumer would not envision today. However, it is our hope that the predictions below may start to inspire product management and innovative product development, in the near-term.

Drone-Delivered Holiday Homes

Yep, imagine 100 years from now traveling around the world and having your own personal drone, strong enough to carry and transport your holiday home.  Just remember your friends at eLuminate Network, after moving that vacation spot to the Caribbean, and you’re ready to go to market with that high-powered drone.

drone holiday homes


Super Skyscrapers

Carbon nanotubes and diamond nanothreads will shape architectural landscapes with towering megastructures, well beyond today’s skyscrapers.

Super Skyscrapers

Underwater Cities

According to the report, there will be underwater cities with breathable atmospheres, generated by hydrogen fuel.

underwater city

source: Samsung SmartThings


Is This Product Free Uber or Ad Tech?

WaiveCar is almost like a free Uber, except with a time limit and only one car style to ride.  With a limited product launch, WaiveCar started in Santa Monica and Venice Beach with just a 20-car fleet, and is the first car-sharing program that runs on advertising dollars.

“WaiveCar rides are free because the cars work as mobile billboards. You’re paying us just by driving the cars,” said the startups CEO Isaac Deutsch. “Our motto is: We waive the fee, you drive for free. All you need is a smartphone, a clean driver’s license and a credit card.”

WaiveCar’s fleet of compact, four-door cars are 100% electric and 100% emission-free. And they are zippy: going from 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds, with 141 horsepower. Each car is outfitted with Bluetooth and has an 80-mile range per charge.

Product – Service Experience

Using the mobile app for iPhone or Android, drivers can find a car near them, book it and start driving — no cards or keys necessary. WaiveCar will unlock the door for you remotely, and the keys are inside.  Insurance is part of the all inclusive-deal.


Once your driving time is up, a map will show where you can drop off the car. Depending on where you leave it, you can earn extra rewards. And the company has plans to establish valet stations throughout the area to make drop off a breeze.

“We pride ourselves on providing a top-of-the line driving experience that is kind to the environment — and to our customers’ budgets,” Deutsch said.


What’s The Advertising Product?

WaiveCar’s launch sponsor is Oscar Health Insurance Corp., the innovative, Google-backed startup that is using data and technology to make health insurance simple, smart and friendly.

“This presents a unique marketing channel for advertisers. Dynamic ads driven around town are guaranteed to be seen,” Deutsch said.

Sponsor messages are displayed on each of the startup’s cars in two places: On the body of the car and via a digital display mounted on the roof, creating an ideal platform for reaching professionals, tourists, students, and shoppers in high-traffic areas.

For example, in just one month, eye-level media moving through the densely populated areas of central Los Angeles provides 26.5 million impressions.  And the multimedia “mini-billboards” allow for efficient, super-targeted advertising.

“WaiveCar’s advertising technology allows advertisers to not only show ads on a particular day or time, but also in specific GPS-defined areas,” said CTO Zoli Honig. “This is a new, innovative advertising product medium for companies, and a powerful way of fostering green, renewable energy in our communities.”

Is This Wearable The Beginning Of Augmented Reality Product Development?

Product Development Profile: Startup, DAQRI uses Intel to power next-generation Augmented Reality smart helmet for the future of work.

DAQRI, the Augmented Reality company that is transforming the future of work, unveiled the next-generation DAQRI SMART HELMET™ today, powered by the 6th Gen Intel® Core™ m7 processor and Intel® RealSense™ technology.

The helmet is an industrial-grade, human-machine interface that inserts real-time information – including Augmented and Mixed Reality work instructions, safety information, mapping and more – to maximize safety, productivity and well-being for workers in a variety of industrial settings.

DAQRI founder and CEO Brian Mullins gave attendees a first look at the newest product and its capabilities with an on-stage demonstration during Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s CES keynote. DAQRI SMART HELMET has been in the pilot phase with Fortune 100 partners across industries including aerospace, construction, oil & gas and more, and will be available for purchase beginning in Q1 2016.


Core product development features:

  • Sixth Gen Intel Core m7 processor
  • Intel RealSense technology
  • DAQRI INTELLITRACK™ computer vision and navigation technology
  • Industrial-grade, 360-degree sensor array with high-definition video
  • Thermal vision sensors for predictive maintenance and enhanced worker safety
  • 4D Augmented Reality displays offering an industry-leading field of view
  • Designed for comfortable, all day wearability
  • Live equipment data visualization
  • Integration with DAQRI 4D Studio augmented work instruction platform

Powered by the 6th Gen Intel processor, the newest version of the product now has five times the processing power and improved depth sensing capability, making it the most powerful Augmented Reality wearable device on the market.


Product development future

“We have already demonstrated how the use of Augmented Reality hardware and software solves problems for our partners and, with the addition of Intel technology, we are supercharging DAQRI so that we can continue to drive the future of work,” said Mullins.

“The future of smart and connected devices includes Augmented Reality,” said Bridget Karlin, managing director of Intel’s IoT Strategy Office and CTA board member. “The DAQRI SMART HELMET is a great example of integrating advanced human-machine interface into existing devices to make something smart and solve a potential problem.”



DAQRI LLC is the world’s leading enterprise augmented reality company powering the future of work through innovative hardware and software products. Its flagship product, DAQRI SMART HELMET, is improving efficiency and safety for workers on the job and providing unparalleled cost savings for Fortune 500 companies in industrial and manufacturing settings. DAQRI is headquartered in Los Angeles, with an R&D facility in Sunnyvale, CA, and a development center in Dublin, Ireland.

Intel, Intel Core and Intel RealSense may be trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel in the United States and some other countries.


Source: Business Wire