After so many years of seeing so many crappy wannabee Black technology entrepreneurs come and go with these lame and generic offering, we decided enough is enough and to show cats how we do it. While technology is in my opinion one of the easiest and sickest game to be in, too many brothas and sistas want to cut corners and put out cornball crap trying to get famous before getting rich.
So we are going to discuss to you cats how we really get down developing technology and economic empowerment solutions and execute those solutions to get things done. Let me make something clear – we are making ish happen but just being low-key because I like seeing all these fake cats running around acting like they doing something but ain’t doing ish worth talking about. Real results require real work and we are going to talk about the real work that needs to be done to make stuff happen.
How Swagg-Scientific and the 30 Rotten Dissidents operate is based on a STEM discipline and we are going to talk about the “E” part of STEM – engineering. See, you can spot the fake and mediocre cats because many of these Black technology entrepreneurs running around bragging about themselves are not technology engineers – they just a loudmouth joke me and my people can see right through.
Engineering is a discipline and art earned through trial and error, long hours, failure and setbacks and quality assurance protocols that are boring and tedious. Real engineering cats put in work and develop a framework, workflow, process and other methods. They spend a lot of time failing and most regular cats would jump off the Brooklyn Bridge if they fail as many times as we do. But for some reason, we engineers seem to get better and generate something that ends up working and exceed our expectations. That’s the real reward and joy of why me and my people do what we do and probably why I can careless if cats heard of me or not, like I need their validation.
Overview of our Engineering and Execution Process
We deliver solutions in the following stages.
Features and Initial Specifications. This is where we spend time brainstorming and documenting what we want to see out of our hustle and what our hustle should offer the customer in terms of value.
Create Prototype or Proof of Concept. Based on the features, we start working on creating something that can do what we want out of the final solution. This is where we find out if what we want is possible or can be done efficiently. To be honest, this phase is the most painful part of the engineering process and the part Black entrepreneurs don’t want to do and why their hustles always turn out to be a mediocre piece of work.
Refine Features and Specifications Based on Prototype. This is where we look at what we built and go back to the drawing board. We start spotting mistakes and work to correct them and have a final design with true detail specifications.
Build Final Version. We now have a better design that went through trial and error and we are confident to move with a final version. Now this actually we setup the development and get to work. This is also the phase we start outsourcing our work overseas if necessary and get things done.
Release and Continuous Improvement. This is the phase where we release to the general public and have an extensive marketing effort to launch the product. Then we also have an extensive effort to create a customer support culture to get their real world feedback and release updates and fixes.
Now with that said, let’s go through each phase in detail.
Feature and Initial Specifications
When we come across an idea about a hustle or an effort, we don’t spend too much time sitting around talking ish. The first thing that happen is we start using Freemind mind mapping software to capture all of the concepts of the hustle. Nothing is left out and we record everything.
From the Freemind mind map document, we then begin to create a feature list and start organizing concepts and grouping them together. For example, with the QR Shopping Wall application, we start identifying posters, products, shops and the customer and their phones or mobile devices. Then we start looking at the user interface screen and how we plan to present it.
So what we do is look at the features and make a rough sketch of the design to meet those features. So we have an initial specification document to get started making sure we can make our features a reality and prove to ourselves it can be done.
Now we feel confident because we know we got a lot of work ahead of us. And to motivate our crew, we all like to do the popular vegetable dance song that you see on YouTube:
Prototype and Proof of Concept
So what we do next is build a prototype of our hustle. In the prototype phase, we can careless about design and making anything look pretty. In the prototype phase, our goal is to work on the “engine” or the underlying framework and make sure it can work as expected. That means that we can create data and process data and run test scripts and see we get the results we want. If we cannot do that, then we will make the decision if this project can be pursued further or cancel the project altogether.
This phase is most painful because this is where you get so much unexpected setbacks, find out you have to do additional work or tasks or learn that what you thought of may be more complex than you originally thought. All of that stuff is painful and hurtful and discouraging at times and makes the average cat want to give up. You literally can spend hours and weeks just trying out a proof of concept getting it right.
Let me give you an example with the QR Shopping Wall project. During our prototyping phase, we realize there are several types of customers that need to access different backend processes. For example, the person packing the orders or making the drinks may need to see only the incoming orders. The manager may just want to see the reporting section to see real-time data on the progress of their QR Shopping Wall campaign. We also realize we need entrepreneurs using our QR Shopping Wall to give store owners and their employee login information and assign these roles. We did not realize this until the prototype phase.
Also in one of our testing scenarios for QR Shopping Wall advertising drink specials, what is there is only a limited run for example, only the first 30 glasses of Moscato for $1. The process is a customer scan the QR code, go to Paypal, make the payment then we receive the payment confirmation to process the order. So what if 25 glasses are sold in minutes and 15 more patrons on their mobile phones are on PayPal filling out the order? Only 5 will get the remaining special but 10 of them will make a PayPal payment while the offer is sold out. How do we deal with that situation because it will take days to refund and that is not a good experience. These are the problems we discover while prototyping our hustles.
I want you to understand this prototyping and proof of concept stage is what separates me and the 30 Rotten Dissidents and Swagg-Scientific from the rest of the fake cats out there. This type of research allows us to study our hustles in fine detail and see the problems come out. This is why cats come to Dream and Hustle trying to “outsmart” me on some of the concepts I’m presenting but ain’t even done any research and development and just running their damn mouth. Then they get mad at me because I tell them what they saying isn’t right and we know because we done extensive research and testing to reach our conclusions.
This is also why when you see me release our products and cats on the sidelines try to make their stupid hater comments will get broke down by me because we truly know our hustle inside and out. Let me tell you something – these punks at these Silicon Valley tech mags, tech writers at Wall Street Journal and other tech bigot outlets run from me and my crew and try hard to avoid us. They don’t even mention us because they know what me and my crew put out, I represent the same way I represent the West Side of Chicago on all of you cats. Because we own our hustles and put in real work to make sure our hustles do what we want it to do.
This prototyping and proof of concept stage is the phase we know African-Americans are not doing because of the bullcrap these Black technology entrepreneurs are bringing to market and trying to brag about it. Me and the 30 Rotten Dissidents can easily spot these other so-called Black technology entrepreneurs as lightweight and cornball because we know they have not done this prototyping phase. Most of these Black technology entreprenuers are doing is taking their untested prototype to market and then see how the customer will respond instead of do the real research and development work in-house among the engineering team. Like I said, trying to get famous before getting rich.
If I’m going to take ownership and social responsibility of delivering real solutions for the African-American community, then I need to deliver best in class and that’s what the 30 Rotten Dissidents and Swagg-Scientific is going to be about. We take our work seriously and that’s why I’m so passionate about this phase of the engineering process. Yes, we get tons of setbacks, get tons of unexpected extra work we discover we need to do, find out we missed a whole section of code that need to be created and that is frustrating. Especially when we see this phase is dragging out for weeks.
But we owe our customers to know and understand we carefully think through our solutions and offerings and we test our hustle to the best of our ability. And what happens is we are able to articulate our hustle with expertise and realize the mistakes and document them. That what’s we do as professionals and I truly hope you guys understand and get the message in your head you got to do this phase, take those lumps and losses and realize this comes with the territory in this game. For a lot of large corporations especially in the pharmaceutical and military industries, some of their major products be in this prototyping proof of concept phase for 10 to 15 years and that’s real talk.
The truth is, after we accomplish this phase, we celebrate with the vegetable dance song but we are a little nutty as a result:
Refine Features and Specifications
Now after we created the prototype and did our test, it is time to go back to the drawing board and create a new list and design specs based on what we learned and discovered. Most of the time, the features we originally listed do work but what we learn is it takes more work than that we thought it would take to get it done. Even more common is we discover new features we need to implement that we did not originally thought about and discovered through testing the prototype.
For example with the QR Shopping Wall hustle, how do we give the person fulfilling orders a screen showing real-time list of paid orders coming in from Paypal? We get notified of the payment using PayPalIPN, but how do we automatically refresh their page? We didn’t think of this in our original design but we discovered this need while testing the payment feature using the PayPal sandbox. Also, we need an automated job that extract all of the incoming PayPal IPN and parse out the information to the right shops in real-time – that is not simple either.
What we done was design an asynchronous solution that kicks off a job in the backend that updates all of the order information coming from PayPal and perform a refresh of the order page to display data in near real-time. Keep in mind that the real-time information is for places like a bar, a dining establishment or even a micro-mall setup where people order on the spot and expect to be served on the spot.
See, we discover new features and opportunities that we have to define such as the micro-mall! See, now we can create a micro-mall concept store in the hood where people scan QR codes attached to display products (similar to the Q-store in South Korea) and make orders online. We can deliver the items to their home or they can pick up in-house but this allows rapid build-up of retailing operations in the hood. This is how our work becomes more exciting at this phase and rewarding when we discover these new opportunities with our hustle.
Now that we discovered the new stuff and learned from our mistakes during the prototyping, we create a more detailed specification of the project. We basically throw away the prototype and create a fresh new specification document based on what we discovered during the prototyping and proof of concept stage. In other words, we start over with a new frame of mind and as people who learned how we really need to do it.
We create a specification document and execution strategy that is extremely detailed and remove all of the doubts and questions about our hustle. The database layer is tightly defined, the class library is defined and the user interface is designed. Also, the instruction manual and marketing strategy is created at this phase because we know what we are putting out and know what we want to communicate to our customers.
Our documents are so refined that we can play it blindfolded like a piano version of the vegetable dance song:
Build Final Version
Now this is the phase where we have all the information we really need to build the product and take to market. We have done our homework, tested the concept, found the mistakes and address them and now have a product in place that we feel is solid and tight to take out there for customers to use and make money on.
Now at this stage, we then work on the user interface. I usually work with a designer to create the theme or I design the user interface. What we do is create all of the pages as a static application then we make it dynamically by attaching the code we perfected during the prototyping phase to the backend and we have a nice product put together.
At this point, everything is fun! We know what we doing, know what we building and everything is straightforward because we did all the upfront work. Now what happens we can start shipping the development work to our crew out in Asia and they get it done. I hate to say it but this is really the easiest part when you done all of the proof of concept and specification work like you should. The problem with a lot of Black technology entrepreneurs is they try to do this phase without putting in the prior work and they come out with a messed up project.
After development is done of the final version, we start testing against a seriously written test plan. We actually go through the test plan and mark pass/fail on each aspect. We start testing and detecting bugs and start recording them and the developers overseas get those bugs and make corrections. Sometimes we can make the corrections. But the goal at that point is to get to zero bugs and the test plan 100% complete.
Once we get 100% on the testing then the 30 Rotten Dissidents and Swagg-Scientific will have a product that we done to the best of our professional ability to ensure it is of the highest standard and quality to release to market. We are confident and that’s when we do our Hetalia version of the vegetable dance again because we accomplished our goal!!!
Launch and Continuous Development
Now we are live! At this stage of the game, we do not launch appeasing to some media outlets and we do not even issue press releases. The way Swagg-Scientific and 30 Rotten Dissidents release our hustles is through horizontal channels where there are experts who will discuss our hustle. For example, we will engage industry bloggers and through trade show advertising and conducting interviews one-on-one and provide product demonstration. Also, we will use YouTube and Facebook extensively to reach out to consumers.
What we learned is to focus strictly on customer relationship – signing up customers, making sure we conduct transactions that are lawful and scalable and expand our territory and channels. Get our money and get ready to work on the next solution and keep putting out hustles and hits and keep winning. And at the same time, smile all of in these haters faces like the Black media and Silicon Valley and show their punk behinds the West Side of Chicago is running this ish.
This is how me and my people create and execute solutions for the people. We are hoping more brothas and sistas out there trying to be like us, trying to outdo us get their act together and realize the goal is getting customers. And when you start caring about your customers more than caring about fame, the customers is going to be the one treating you like a rock star while you doing the vegetable dance on them and everybody else out there.