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    element14's The Ben Heck Show

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    Logic Gate Game
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    The team is struggling with their logic board game project so they bring on Hari Kalyanaraman, a product specialist from element14, to help them with the build. He’s going to help them assess the current state of the project and analyze whether it’s actually worth taking to completion.



    The logic board game is a concept the team is attempting to take from concept to product.  It’s made the least progress of the three long term builds they’ve worked on this year and it’s probably gone through the most iterations. Since the last iteration, the team decided to try using toggle switches instead of plugs and wires.  Hari, likes what they’re doing with the toggle switches, but has some ideas on how they can get a custom solution.


    They then discuss the target price they had in mind.  It’s a little hard to get a firm answer on this because the team isn’t sure what this will develop into.  Hari is able to tell them if the number they had in mind is matches what the market they are targeting could support.  He compares what they have with something similar and they ponder how much added cost is justified by the product’s unique features.


    The game was originally mechanical but their decision to include a microcontroller and screen has added heavily to the production costs.  This is all part of the market research that Hari wants them to do.  Once you determine a product has a favorable reception with its target audience you can get a sense of what your overall demand will be.  The obstacle they are facing is that whatever they build would need to also compete with games on smart phones and tablets.


    After Hari’s visit the team goes over what they’ve learned as a result of their effort in attempting to take a build project to market.  They already knew going in that all three of their build projects probably wouldn’t succeed. With this particular project they started with a really good idea but never really fleshed it out in a detailed framework. They didn’t go with their original idea and it seemed like every time they seemed to solve one problem they came up with two new problems.  It’s not enough to have a good idea.  You need a solid plan in place for a project to succeed.


    As the build went along Ben and Karen found themselves kind of fighting against each other in trying to make a product that would work.  In the end, they found that they both needed to come to terms with whether either one of them had any passion left for the project.  Sometimes passion is the thing that helps get you through hard times when working on a project.  The mounting obstacles they faced along the way slowly eroded the passion they required to face the challenges of taking their product to market.  Even had they squared away each and every one of their obstacles, the question still would have remained, whether or not it would have even been worth it in the end.