This is an article written by Florent M. Locatelli
Florent is the mind behind the MARES XR range of products that compliment our SSI eXtended Range courses.
Brainstorm and define the project. Experience is key here.
Identify exhaustively what exists globally on the market: spend time in shops and dive centers worldwide, travel to the main dive shows, collect brochures and catalogues, check/touch/feel/dive other products. Google/Yandex/Yahoo/Mozilla etc… survey partners/opinion leaders/sales teams worldwide.
Brainstorm again, observe, listen, invent.
Involve as many people as you can and select your team well. Listening is key, but being able to only take out the best/real/true/useful is essential. In technical diving, 10 people usually express 25 different opinions. Some have egos… some believe they are experts…
Define key products/features, priorities and deadlines. Define capex, return rate, cost targets and RRP targets.
And then for each product…
Design, draw, 3D print, hand make a prototype.
Coordinate production or find a sub-contractor or a supplier.
Find new and/or best materials.
Travel the world to visit and qualify sub-contractors, suppliers, materials and production.
Make a “diveable” prototype and give it to the torture machine (UV, salt, sand, water, heat, cold…).
Modify the prototypes.
Make shallow dives with a back-up and test prototype.
Re-test prototypes. Re-Analyze. Re-modify prototypes. Re-re-test prototypes…
Experience both deception and satisfaction.
We all have that friend that breaks everything he touches. Give it to him/her. Wait. Collect it back. Analyze. Modify the prototype.
Make deep dives with a back-up and test prototype. Analyze. Modify the prototype.
At the same time, design work is in process. Provide guidance.
Duplicate prototypes, apply designs and make test units. Give test units to the test team all around the world in various environments. Wait. Collect back the products and feedback. Analyze. Make final modifications.
Work on all certifications, norms, REACH, magnetic, electromagnetic and obtain adequate documents, certifications, approvals…
Work on packaging: develop, create, source, manufacture, test, validate…
Work on brochures/manuals/labels. Translate in 26 or 28 languages (thank you CEE).
Create codes and references. Make the BOM if needed.
Face a bit of stress. Enter the QC/ISO office and hope to pass…
Order samples. Receive something different. Re-order samples. Now you are late…
Prepare and/or make yourself and/or supervise: technical drawings, pictures and photo shootings, PPTs, texts, catalogues, press releases, advertisements, videos, POPs, tutorials…
Present and explain to internal teams: marketing, inner sales, planning, production, purchasing, to all sales teams worldwide, to all distribution teams worldwide, to all opinion leaders, partners, sponsors worldwide, to all key customers worldwide, to the public at the main dive shows worldwide.
Re-present and re-explain to all those above who were not listening or paying attention and to all those above who had no clue what you were talking about or/and who did not understand the first time.
Answer email questions from those above about everything you already presented and for the same reasons already mentioned, but again.
Make an FAQ book or a video.
Finally production arrives. Control, check, scrutinize…
Face the unexpected. Analyze and take corrective actions. Manage delays. Inform. Answer questions…
Now your baby is public!
Answer all kinds of questions nicely: the good, the thorough, the legitimate, the technical, the detailed, the naïve, the unexpected, the useless, the egotistical, the ones who want to show you that you are talking to an expert, a guru, a bathtub world champion, a martian...
Discover how many totally “unexpected” ways to use your product can be “invented”…Explain, answer, and repeat.
Once in a while receive a compliment, a nice comment, an encouragement. Read nice articles in magazines. See the products living their own life. See the sales growing.
One day, you go diving on a boat and someone you never met before is using your product which they bought, with their own money, based on their own choice, and they seem happy and even start to explain the features and benefits of the product to you…
Enjoy, go to sleep eventually and start it all over again!