"Learning to code at a young age opened my eyes to the incredibly exciting world of technology and entrepreneurship. Our youth deserve the opportunity to learn the skills that will enable them to succeed in our connected world."

- Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com

My oh my! We’ve been hard at work here at HAX, so my apologies for being late on this blog post. It’s been quite the couple of weeks here.  On top of the usual day-to-day, we’re regularly meeting with mentors, potential partners, vendors, buyers, and going to local events to promote Robolink. So there’s much to juggle, to say the least.  It can often be difficult to juggle, and during Week 2, it certainly felt a bit overwhelming.  That said, after some pep talk between Hansol and myself and a weekend of rest, we were able to get into a much better stride by Week 3.

We’d gotten into a groove by Week 3, being better prepared for our meetings, having much more productive days, and prioritizing.  Our retail pitch has been refined, and we feel much more prepared for our meetings with retail.

We’ve also been able to spend some time socializing with folks in our cohort, which has been great. Many of them have knowledge in areas that our team would certainly like the strengthen.  The folks at Néit Luggage, who make a collapsible and trackable luggage, are really great at the technical aspects of digital marketing.  Kiband, a child-safety platform, has awesome package design, and we’ve gotten a reference so we can re-examine our packaging.  Octopus by Joy, a children’s habit forming smartwatch, is awesome at running crowdfunding campaigns (they raised nearly $1 million!). It’s been great sharing ideas and spending time with other folks that are working hard at their passion.

Here are a couple neat things that have happened.


MIP Finalist trophy

We made it as a finalist for CONNECT’s 2016 Most Innovative Product Award! We submitted CoDrone in the Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles category. Props to Carl for handling the pitch while we’re in San Francisco!

Eddie with CoDrone

We’ve asked Eddie, a longtime friend of Robolink, to join our team at HAX to help out with media and design, which has been a joy. He’s the man behind many of our Kickstarter promotional videos and photographs.  We’re happy to have him around more often!


One of our founder talks was by Charles Huang. No big deal, he’s only the co-founder of the infamous Guitar Hero, one of the greatest video game company success stories. Turns out he’s also a really lovely guy. #starstruck

Wes pitching at Highway 1

Here’s me doing a 2-minute pitch at Highway 1, a hardware accelerator in San Francisco! Holding a moving robot in your hand definitely drives the point across, it turns out. It was pretty awesome!

TEDxSD tabling

I drove down to San Diego last weekend for a TEDxSD event. We tabled at Innovation Alley, where we showed off our robots and drones with a great response.


Retail Packaging is a Different Game

One of the priorities from the feedback we’ve gotten here at HAX is that retail packaging is an entirely different mentality.  Since most retail settings are unassisted, shoppers can only rely on the packaging and display to learn about your product.  The idea is to draw shoppers in, have them be able to understand your product in a few seconds, and be interested enough to turn over the box to read the details.  The priority is to convey: “I need this product.”


We’re going to Minneapolis!

One of the highlights of the HAX program is a visit to Minneapolis, where we’ll be meeting with Target and Best Buy.  That’s where we’re headed next week, where we’ll be pitching to representatives from both retailers.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve learned that pitching to a retailer follows an entirely different structure than the usual startup pitch, which is geared towards investors.  We’ve been polishing up our pitch over the last few weeks, and we’re pretty excited for it!

Overall, it’s been an incredibly educational experience.  On a personal level, learning how to prioritize tasks, delegate items to teammates, and shuffling around your schedule has taught me to be more organized.  As a detail-oriented individual, it can often be a challenge.  So learning to take a step back and focus only on a few items is something that I am improving upon.

Next week: Minneapolis!


Things we’ve learned about San Francisco:

  • In the vein of being environmentally progressive, many big grocery stores encourage you to bring your own bags. They don’t provide plastic bags, and you pay extra for a paper bag.
  • Similarly, many houses have three bins: waste, recycling, and compost
  • There’s a stronger bike culture than San Diego, so there are streets where the bike lane is separated from traffic by poles