Without further ado,
Company Updates -
1) SXSW 2023 is in the books!
The University of Texas hosted Discover Texas, UT at SXSW at Banger's Beer Garden on March 11th. This event brought together creative minds from various disciplines. Attendees had the opportunity to explore groundbreaking research, interactive exhibits, and engaging presentations led by UT's faculty, students, and alumni. From cutting-edge technology demonstrations to thought-provoking panel discussions, the UT at SXSW event highlighted the university's commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration across disciplines. Rainey Street played host to a vibrant atmosphere of learning, networking, and inspiration, reflecting the interdisciplinary spirit of the world-renowned festival.
For us, the event was a huge success! We gathered invaluable user feedback on our prototype, including from the McCombs School of Business Dean herself. We were fortunate to share our story with President Hartzell and many others. We hope to return to SXSW 2024 with an expanded Outmore presence!
2) Outmore has been selected for the Rice Business Plan Competition!
The largest and richest intercollegiate startup competition in the world
Outmore Living is thrilled and honored to be one of the 42 teams, out of nearly 500 that applied, given an opportunity to participate in 2023's competition. Teams from across the country, from schools including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and, of course, Texas, will present the next wave of innovative startups across all industries.
Here is what Rice University says about the RBPC,
"The competition, now in its 23rd year, gives collegiate entrepreneurs real-world experience to pitch their startups, enhance their business strategy and learn what it takes to launch a successful company. Hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship—which is Rice University's internationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship—and Rice Business. Over 23 years, it has grown from nine teams competing for $10,000 in prize money in 2001 to 42 teams from around the world competing for more 2 million in cash and prizes."
3) Closer than ever to production-ready
Areas of Focus -
1) Perfecting the user experience
Our rapid prototyping efforts, enabled by additive manufacturing and our engineers' expertise, have allowed us to complete two cycles of "modify, 3d print, build and user test". We are in the middle of our third currently. Each cycle produces a better and better user experience.
2) Financing Round
We are continually refining the Why, How, and What of our cause at Outmore Living. This allows us to build a GTM framework that constitutes a series of well-formulated, well-reasoned hypotheses for how, where, and who best to focus our efforts. Understanding why a person would choose Outmore, namely that they agree time spent Outdoors is time better spent, gives us agility in doubling down on productive efforts and to rapidly modify ideas that aren't working as well.
We just got our hands on our sample chair from a manufacturer in Vietnam. We will soon share more of the final design in the coming newsletters. But for now, I can tell you that describing this beautiful teak piece of furniture as premium craftsmanship is an understatement!
(Co)-Founder Perspectives -
Why any less than two would be none.
In this post, the #1 mistake, according to Graham, is a single founder. Kevin and I both could not agree more.
This begs the questions, "What's wrong with having one founder?" and "What experiences have you had at Outmore that convince you of the need for a Co-Founder."
Graham lays out four main reasons.
1) It's a vote of no-confidence.
2) It's too hard to do alone
3) Brainstorming and the generation of creative ideas
4) Cheer you up when things go wrong.
It's a vote of No-confidence
Kevin told me about the idea of heated outdoor furniture in a class at McCombs called New Venture Creation. That night, I went home and told my wife Sophie the following: "I just heard the best startup idea yet, and I am going to do everything in my power to convince Kevin I would make the right co-founder." We Passed this vote with flying colors.
It's too hard to do alone
This is axiomatic. No matter how many hours one can dedicate, with maximal focus and superhuman productivity, there is always more to be done and more to that can be done better. A person able to be 10-20-30 percent more efficient than their peers leaves a gap a mile wide between a team of two. Naturally, co-founders must be generalists and do it all, or else it won't get done. A team of two allows for a more optimal division of labor according to strengths. This remains true when growing the team to 3,4 and beyond. This, by the way, is something we have been actively pursuing and hope to be announcing soon.
I remember as a kid spending hours in "Where's Waldo" books staring into a sea of similarities looking for those red and white stripes. Eventually, my eyes would glaze over, and my vision blur only to have a sibling come and point out Waldo instantly. The same happens to us on a confounding problem or impasse. We can become myopic in our approach to problem-solving and need a set of fresh eyes.
Cheer you up when things go wrong
Lastly, but certainly not least. Kevin and I are in the foxhole together. Picking one another up, commiserating together, and driving forward once more. Disappointments, delays, and denials are in no short supply in this line of work. Luckily, when one of us is discouraged by a setback, the other seems to have met the news head-on with the only attitude that can change the world, relentless optimistic resolve.
I feel incredibly fortunate to work with Kevin. We both challenge and support one another every day and every step along the way.
P.S. I am also grateful we live in a world of unlimited phone plans and no longer have "minutes" or get charged by the text message.