Our journey at the Lab is beginning to feel surprisingly close to its end, but we have yet to even reach the climax. As my team begins to prepare our pitch, the fabric of our product idea is being mended, torn, restitched and perfected before we lay it all down on the line come Nov. 18, Pitch Day.

Teammates Morgan Trachtman, Lauren Merlini and Jonathan Ponciano practice their pitch for the first time in front of the Lab's directors and interns. (Photo taken by Amulya Uppalapati.)

Teammates Morgan Trachtman, Lauren Merlini and Jonathan Ponciano practice their pitch for the first time in front of the Lab’s directors and interns. (Photo taken by Amulya Uppalapati.)

It’s time for me and my teammates, Lauren Merlini and Morgan Trachtman, to utilize the wealth of feedback we’ve received in order to mold our product into exactly what’s desirable, feasible and viable. We’ve been doing this consistently for the past two months; however, the goal now is to communicate these three essential factors in no more than five minutes to a panel of judges who are completely unaware of our product and its goal.

The feedback component is ongoing. We’re building our prototype, adding onto it and still making changes based on what we hear back. The bulk of it is clear; people love the personalized aspect of our book. Creating our prototype has been the most fulfilling part in giving our product direction because this is the type of idea only a visual conception can creatively justify.

Now that we’ve constructed our idea, it’s time to deconstruct it in order to know exactly what components are most vital to its foundation and necessary to communicate in our pitch. The information we’ve learned and continue to learn has been pointing us in a direction we feel best emphasizes the goal of our product: preserving personal memories and historical events in a meaningful keepsake.

Our first practice pitch in the Lab helped us move away from the notion that this is something we “would like to do.” After so much research, this product is very much more than a conceptualization; it’s nearing the stage where we can finally call it an end result, our final product, our pitch. As we’ve mentioned in the past, we know this is a product people want, and how we convey that message is essential in relating the value of our product. The nerves we get from presenting our product are from more than just stage fright. It’s finally come down to the time when every great thought that’s crossed our mind about our product can’t simply be a thought anymore. If we don’t communicate these passing thoughts, they simply just won’t be a part of our product. To me, that’s the scariest part: losing sight of our product because we don’t meaningfully communicate our idea. But as John Clark, executive director of the Lab, and Sara Peach, associate director of the Lab, are stressing at the moment, it all boils down to practice. Over the next couple of weeks before Pitch Day, we’re going to practice our pitch, and we’ll also practice by going over our product and its logistics, including all the problems and questions we’ve had along the way. I view the next couple of weeks as the time to organize the details of our product, the time to truly get to know our product.

Focusing on a smaller timeline, there are a number of goals for this coming week. Near the top of the list is coming up with a name. For so long, we’ve only referred to this keepsake as our idea, but it’s gotten to the point where our idea now has its own identity. It’s difficult at the moment to find a name that captures this identity, but once we do, there will be no question we’ve found the right name.

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