Next Step – Accelerate

Michael and I just got back from a startup accelerator workshop put on by a company called Straight Shot.  Their motto, “Let’s build companies.”

We were given two days to learn from one of the national startup mentors, Shane Reiser, as we were inserted into a 90 day workshop full of promising young startups.  We set our focus and learned a lot of things we haven’t addressed.  Sure we have the Data Streams backbone working, but we don’t have customers, a business plan or revenue stream to keep moving forward.  All that is about to change!

9x Effect

Shane Reiser reviewing the 9x effect.

  • When you describe your business use the format “We help [customer] get [benefit] by [solution]”
  • The 9x Effect  (is your product or service at least 9 times better than competitor X?)
    • Happy Customers overvalue existing product by 3x
    • Innovating companies overvalue their new benefits by 3x
  • #1 Reason Why Startups Fail – Bad Team
    • Team first, then product
    • Balanced team consists of 3 people
      • PM + Tech + Design
  • Customer Interviews
    • Only interview the past
    • Don’t introduce any bias
    • Prove yourself wrong, don’t prove yourself right
    • Don’t assume anything with regards to how people respond
    • Debrief with team after interview/group of interviews
  • Prototyping Tools (MVP)
    • Make it as cheap/simple as possible
    • Wizard of OZ
  • Build, Measure, Learn
  • Pirate Metrics
    • Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referrals, Revenue



What’s your biggest fear about your company?


We have to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew and get down to simple metrics.  What we thought we had down turns out to be just assumptions we’re making.  Its time to go back, Build –> Measure –> Learn  (repeat).

This has provided us with a new perspective on how to solve the problems we’re engaging with.  Standby for more!


Certification Testing

We received our certification letter today!  In this case it is only for light metering.  Light measurements can vary 1%-90% (or more!) even over a short distance.  Also the angle the sensor is place at can have a dramatic effect on lighting values.  We want to make sure the values we are reading are in accordance with ASTM Standards and can be scientifically verified should they be called into question.




Light values from a pre-calibrated TSL2561 lux sensor



TSL2561 and DHT11 Temp./Humidity Sensor break out board. DHT11 to be replaced by DHT22 sensor due to better sensitivity and calibration in future releases.



Measure twice, cut once.  It never hurts to double and triple check your measurements.  While my Android phone from 2010 may not be certified, it can be calibrated to closely match our calibrated light meter.  Triple checked with my more modern Samsung phone using the same Lux app.

Sensor Size

Anything you can do, I can do smaller!

Arduino Minis

The name of the game in electronics, is how small can you make it?  Well, we’ve taken the next step in miniaturization with the Arduino Mini Pro. Its a 5V microprocessor that can do everything its big brother the UNO can do but at a third the size.  Same sensors, but now in something fully assembled in half the size of our entire units from prior generations. What is also nice is the mix+match capability of sensors to tailor to our clients needs. Or better yet, our own needs for testing at this point!  This is a great start for our Phase I rollout.

“The best sensor is the one nobody can see.”    ~Ryan Cameron


New thoughts, new gadgets!

Just wanted to get a quick post in since we’ve gone off the radar for a few months! No we haven’t gone away or stopped. Quite the opposite!  Here’s a recent snap shot of “the lab”.  Can you spot the Raspberry Pi Zero?

New Equipment

Loading up on Arduino’s, Jetsons, BeagleBones and Raspberry Pi’s!


Lately we’ve been noticing that this idea of data and dashboards has really caught on.  If you check kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’ll see personal air monitors, temperature sensors and others have become the rage.  While these are great, we don’t think the average consumer should have to spend upwards of $90 just to know the air they are breathing is non-toxic. Can we have buildings that show us that anyway, for free?

Game on! IoT


“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians, and I’m not kidding.”

                 – Hal Varian, chief economist at Google

Its interesting to think of that image above as a reference for all the things that will be connected.  Look again.  Do you see a building?  I see things that are in buildings but not a building form itself.  Why is that?  Did someone forget that buildings consume around 40% of the world’s energy?  That alone could have dramatic impact in and of itself.  While we haven’t had a post for a few weeks, don’t think we haven’t been busy.

This leads to the idea of IoT for Architecture.  After all – what do you think Data Streams is?  What our industry needs is to close the design loop with real data. Or better yet, real-time data.  Right now, our team hasn’t been able to find a lot of data sources for the documentation on individual buildings from any sector.  We’ve seen an interesting TED Talk on data for cities though.  Architect magazine noticed that tread too. In the January 2015 issue of Architect Magazine, page 104, Roger Chang, the director of engineering for Westlake Reed Leskowsy, says, “Benchmark data in the US is non-existent.

Can we create technology that will change as we do?  What are we doing to collect that data for the purposes of analysis?

Pi2 - Windows 10

If you can make sense of what we’re working on, kudos to you!  Change is messy!


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