From Viable to Valuable
How our journey from idea to the production of our first model was a lesson in persistence and the irreplaceable worth of failure.
When you decide to build a company there are many small steps to take. There is market research, concept development, product design, writing a business plan, and many other things. This part of the process is mostly done in an abstract way and on paper. When it comes time to actually build a prototype you have moved into the realm of physicality, sweat, abrasions, material limits, and emotional trials. If your business plan's financial section doesn't add up then you can delete it *poof* no problem. By contrast, if the secondary fuel tank that you ordered and waited for weeks to arrive doesn't fit you can walk away from it but the next day the problem is still there in this universe looking you in the face. When we determined to build expedition vehicles we wanted to provide an intentionally clear and well designed product that would meet the needs of someone who wants to get into nature quickly and easily. We wanted them to be comfortable when they got there. Our heads where full of mountain vistas and clean design lines. We did not intuit the frustration of the little things like getting a pivot point just right or why we couldn't run the wiring for the power module too close to the engine because it would melt.
In the movies you see the protagonist come up with an idea and a few montages later he is flying around in an iron man suit. The main thing we noticed was how clean everything was... it's a lovely dream. When you are on your third or thirtieth revision of a part and you have a pile of discarded pieces that is when something called Grit comes in. This term has been defined as "Passion and perseverance for long term and meaningful goals." We would add a little to this definition based on our experience. " An unrelenting motivation to push forward through a problem but with a sense of humor and flexibility that enables you to push around it if you can."
We made it through many hard and valuable lessons. Lessons that could never have been learned but in the test bed of failure. We completed our Minimum Viable Product though it really was a Maximum Value Product. Never would the concept be internalized and improved upon without the real life limitations to work against. Our first van is complete and we are satisfied with it. Now we get to put it out into the world, free to roam, helping our customers get connect to nature and each other.
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