Make Impact Consortium – W8X

Make Impact Consortium – W8X

We are W8X. And we’re introducing a new era
of connected strength training. We have the ability
to completely reinvent what strength training means. Being one contact
device, we enable an infinite possibility of
different resistance based exercises, anywhere, any time. We’re using an electric
motor to create resistance instead of a stack of weights. So that means that
with a device, you know, the size
of, I don’t know, a big shoe box of some
sort, you can create 120, 150 pounds of resistance. And you can control
how much you have. I think for us, the idea was,
one of the biggest challenges was actually to find the right
customer in the beginning. Especially for us as
a hardware company, we can’t just go out and– even if we have 1,000
customers, we would not be able to deliver that. So, the idea is that you
find a customer group that, A, you can learn a
lot from, and, B, that has something else. So for us, with these
strength coaches, they, A, teach us a lot, and, B,
they’re also very influential. You can make it so
that the resistance varies in different ways. So imagine that
resistance increases the more you pull on it. Then that ends up feeling
like a resistance band, right, it’s like you’re pulling
on a big piece of rubber. Whereas, there are
other possibilities, such as being able
to add more weight, more resistance, only
as you’re moving down. And that’s something
that’s been proven by lots of sports
science research to give you better result and
more resistance resilience against injury. First of all, we
took a class called New Enterprises, which Bill
Aulet, the guy who runs the MTC teaches. And that’s where we really
learned the importance of doing all the primary market
research before actually taking the time to engineer a device. Because if you’re
engineering the wrong thing, you’re essentially
wasting a lot of time. That was one big
resource that we used. And then, in terms of maker’s
bases, and all that stuff, ProtoWorks here
was super helpful. It’s a small shop. But it’s surprising
how much you have– how many useful tools
are packed into it. You have a laser cutter,
you have a 3-D printer. And that speeds up
prototyping so, so much. Delta-V throughout the summer
gave us a lot of mentorship, a lot of advice. And it got to the
point where, every time that we talked to a
mentor, they would give us all of these useful snippets
of information that, you know, each one probably saved
us months work of– months of actually figuring out what
we were doing the wrong thing. I mean, just looking at whether
Martin Trust Center here, the entrepreneurship
center is located, it’s right between kind
of the main campus, where all the engineers are, and
the Sloan School of Business. So, kind of– even
geographically, kind of merging
these two together. On the one hand, people coming
in that are really about– have the experience of
building a business, finding a market need,
and really understanding the competition and the
landscape of the market. And on the other
side, people are just really passionate about
building a product and have the skill set
to actually execute it. And then bringing that together,
I think that kind of forms sort of diverse teams,
which we’ve seen many of featuring during the summer. And that’s, I think, a
very unique environment. I think that the integration
of making an entrepreneurship is something that can
really, really make things a whole lot better. Because whenever you talk
about entrepreneurship, you have a goal. There’s something you’re
trying to achieve. There’s a product
that you want to make for a particular reason. And being able to have the
hands on experience at making is something that definitely
makes that a whole lot better. And going the other
way around, if you are trying to sell a product
for a particular customer, or trying to find out what
that is, being able to make it, being able to
prototype it is going to give you a more
thorough understanding of what that needs to be
and how it needs to improve. And not only that,
but being able to make your first prototypes yourself,
you can just really quickly test them out. You can actually
go your customer, you can give them a
prototype that you made, and you can see it in action. And that hands on
experience is what really lets you figure out
how can you make this better. And how can you
get, essentially, an actual product from what
could be previously a project.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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