After a fair amount of navel gazing last month, I’ve now moved on. I’m taking a class at Stanford Continuing Education called Product Management and the Internet of Things (IoT). Yes, IoT is my new exploration. Am I a Product Manager? No. Am I an engineer? No. But I get to be a beginner again — and that Beginner’s Mind is what I seek.
What problem do I want to solve? I like to call this project “Hacking Momma.” Basically I want to be able to help my mother live independently. So that means making sure she doesn’t burn down the house by accidentally leaving the stove on. That means knowing when she’s fallen, and letting her call someone she knows for help (dad, brothers, neighbors, me…) using a wearable device (yes, I know there’s competition in this area). It would be good to know how often she get’s up at night and when. It would also be cool to monitor her heart rate, blood sugar level, and other vitals. So this can easily get a big creepy — monitoring another human being. But it’s also kind of useful for those who need support. Still wrangling with the ethics of that one. Starting simple is key — like with the stove.
However, that’s momentarily on the back-burner as the class requires teams who are interested in a certain area (like Wearables) to form and work through the IoT processes as defined by our Stanford Lecturer. Well, a fashion industry idea won out over my elderly idea. That’s okay because it’s not about solving my problem, or even about creating a cool new product — it’s about defining a problem and going through the IoT stack and related thinking process to create a blueprint. Any problem will do in this regard.
So here we go. Into the (relatively) unknown world of IoT.
A couple things I’ve learned so far:
- IoT is really about synthesizing a whole bunch of different, existing technologies into a coherent “solution” that solves a particular problem
- I’m good at those intangibles of being part of a team — defining problems (which is half the battle of using new technology) and GSD (getting things done) which comes from being a deadline-driven consultant.
Now if I could only figure out how to fix this damn website.