Week 7


This morning began with our usual meeting where it was impressed on us how horrifyingly close D-Day (Demo Day) is. We gave our 60 second pitches, and I stumbled through ours without prompts this week. I think I am more of a shoot-from-the-hip sort of orator. Learning pitches hasn’t been my forté.

After that, Vinni, Margaret and I had our weekly planning meeting. This week we asked Charlie Tomlinson to join us. We have had difficulty lately in determining our priorities, and as the pressure increases we have had difficulty even communicating about them. Charlie was there to provide some feedback on our communications.


Everybody out

I spent a bit of time programming, trying out new acceleration and momentum characteristics of our chair to reduce motion sickness. We’ve had some success in keeping the frame rate high, and removing any jitter in the display. Its a much more comfortable experience for most people now.

Monday 2

Another false alarm in the Dux

Just to keep us on our toes there was a fire alarm and evacuation. Christchurch fire service was on the scene shortly thereafter, and after some time we were allowed back in. I don’t know what happened but it was something at the Dux Central in the rear of our building.

The official part of the day finished with a talk by Charlie Tomlinson called “Investment 101”.  It was a talk to help us get investment-ready.

Monday evening Margaret and I spent a couple of extra hours in the lab, me working on motion sickness fixes, and her working on presentations. We’re off to Melbourne and Perth next week (7th) to present to researchers in Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Royal Perth.

We left around 7:30 to get to Margaret’s band rehearsal. Mondays are exhausting.


Tuesday we had no meetings and no interruptions. We got the wheelchair simulator to a point where we were ready to show Minister Nicky Wagner. The doors open smoothly, there is minimal jitter and we have the problematic areas catalogued for further development.

Margaret created an information sheet that describes MTech Games, and we sent that on to Karl Varley, who passed it on to the minister.


We started off this morning with a visit from Nicki Wagner the minister for customs, and also minister for disability issues. The meeting was arranged by mentor Karl Varley, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of ours since we met him in the early weeks of Lightning Lab.


Minister Nicky Wagner tries our virtual wheelchair software

We were able to put Nicki into our virtual environment and allow her to drive the virtual wheelchair through TransitioNZ house. She was robust to any motion sickness effects and seemed very positive about the project. She asked some in-depth questions of Jo Nunnerley, BAIL researcher from Burwood hospital

Nicki 5

Karl Varley had a go

The meeting went well and hopefully we can follow this up with a demo to ACC Minister Nikki Kaye.

Our project requires the support of disabilities issues, health and ACC to get traction in New Zealand. It was great to have Nicky Kaye support us in getting better known in government circles. It would be stellar to have the trifecta before pitch day.

Karl Varley also had a go with the wheelchair trainer. Karl has been a good supporter of our project and we have asked him to join our advisory board.


Thursday we were building up to our advisory board meeting, ensuring we had all the information to hand that the board may require to help us out. It is frustrating for us that we don’t yet have a  validated business model.  To push us down the path we are planning to approach two potential customers in Australia next week and to demonstrate our system to them.  We have a hypothesis based around our assessment of value propositions for researchers that we will test with this approach.

Once again there was a fire alarm and evacuation.

Thursday 1

Another fire alarm


There were three trucks in all

We had a talk from Andy Lark of Xero. His session was pretty informal with people asking him questions about marketing and him giving answers from his experience. He alked about MODDD (Moments of Doubt, Desire and Dissatisfaction). He also shared one great insight, “Don’t try marketing until you’ve sold something”.

The board meeting itself went well, but we were given an emphatic push by the board members to resolve our value propositions and sales models soon. As usual they stepped up and provided ideas and contacts to help us complete that step.

We were fortunate to have Trevor Dickinson, one of our advisory board, travel from Wellington to be at the meeting in person.  After we finished for the day we took him out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We swapped stories and learned something of each other’s backgrounds before driving him back to the airport.

Andy Larkin

Andy Larkin


Hectic and frantic would be a good description of today. We have to arrange some marketing collateral for our trip next week. We also have to arrange a laptop that can drive the oculus rift, flights, hotels and appointments.  We’re also preparing to show the wheelchair trainer to Minister Steven Joyce at EPIC on Tuesday.

We had a meeting with Alex Lam about our crowds, our potential supporters and advocates out in the community.

We found a nice gaming laptop for our trip so we’ll skip Good Bad and Ugly session to go pick it up.

Good: Excellent meetings with Nicky Wagner and Bruce Davey from Aranz Medical, and we managed to arrange demos in Australia at short notice.

Bad: We printed our banners with the wrong wording, and no time to change before Tuesday.

Ugly: Frustration and communication breakdowns within the team as we were trying to prepare for Australia, and determine how best to utilise our board


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