The making of…

Creating a leather strap with a simple LED light and a metal encasement is not a simple task especially when you want to make it elegant and simple by embedding all the electronics perfectly.This week I am taking the role of the CTO in order to research about other alternatives to produce a high-fi prototype for Raiden.

The LED light that we bought from spark fun electronics a couple of weeks ago is powered by a 12V battery.The only batteries that come in that voltage are super bulky and will look very ugly on the leather strip.

I decided to experiment with other type of LED called 4 Warm White 5050 SMD LED that I preordered from super bright leds.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.02.50 AM


What is great about this type of LED is that you could use a 3V battery that comes in a  circular cell shape that could be easily embedded into the leather strap.The only problem is that the intensity of the light is very subtle. They are 19 Lumins only.

It would be possible to use this if we could create something called a parallel circuit where we could place 3 LEDs lights, add 3 batteries that would be connected to 3 battery holders. Since 3V batteries are super small, they would perfectly fit into the leather strap.

The light costs 0.65$ each

The batteries costs 0.77$ each

The battery holder costs 2$ each

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.08.44 AM

Fig2. Battery holder

I found out that these batteries were very practical since they are very popular on which is a great manufacturer resource.I tried to see if anyone was selling this type of light that was already made but couldn’t find anything online. They sell these type of lamps where 20 or more of these LED lights are embedded into the lamp.I decided to go to a store called Canal lighting and parts on Canal Street and found out that they sell these LEDs ribbon strip lights.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.26.19 AM

Fig3. LED ribbon strips.

The great thing about this type of lights is that they are already made: soldered and attached to a plastic 3M strip. Daniela and I will be working together this week to combine the leather straps with these LED strips in order to make a high-fi prototype for Raiden.



Revenue Models & How 3d Printing Will Help

As the CTO of Raiden, a product based startup that focuses on producing hand crafted, sleek and  fashionable bike lights for the everyday cyclist, I was tasked in researching technical details of construction and how the product would be utilized within the cycling community. I am also tasked with providing market research in this area as well.   Raiden continues to move forward in designing a bike light that is not only more contemporary and fashionable in design but is also a high functioning and sports driven product. This week I focused my research on revenue models for RaidenNYC and on the technicalities of 3d printing, both items of research are approached  with the primary objective of finding a reasonable cost solution to production means. 

In light of a discussion provided by a representative from , I began researching various business revenue models. As explained, Yipit’s revenue model is based on the aggregation, interpretation, and distribution of information and page views that are created on the web. Raiden’s revenue various tremendously from this.

So, what is a revenue model? To put it plainly, a revenue model is the system design by which a business monetizes its services. Yipit does this, in essence, by selling information. The five most common revenue models are  subscription, affiliate marketing, ad-funded, lead generation, and online shopping.  Yipit’s model seemingly may be a mix of a subscription,where customers can subscribe to Yipit’s services, and lead generation model as Yipit’s primary objective is to corral customers to a specific product or website by aggregating sales data and distributing it online to specific target audiences.To clarify,the lead generation model is a model by which a business creates a method of to generate consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be generated for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads. Yipit is a software based company and doesn’t deal directly with any physical items, this is where RaidenNYC and Yipit diverge drastically.

Raiden aims to use an on line shopping model and perhaps in the future approach an affiliate market revenue model. Online shopping or online retailing is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the internet. If Raiden succeeds or fails within the model of e-commerce the next revenue model attempted may focus on affiliate marketing, all though it is likely to be pursued to a simple degree. This method will entail finding a retailer and working out a deal in which for every item sold the retailer receives some form of payment, be it money, advertising, or foot traffic to their location.  Basically, this model has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the agent of exchange(that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher ( (RaidenNYC)also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. This method will overlap with Raiden’s online shopping endeavors and more than likely be complimented with an e-commerce revenue model.

So all models considered, how will 3d printing aid our revenue model? Honestly, at this time, 3d printing only seems viable as an advertising tool. The cost to have large amounts of parts created for Raiden bike lights will become too high too quickly. However, 3d printing does enable Raiden to create very detailed prototypes in various materials and colors that will allow us to market our product to customers and manufacturers. This will expedite communication tremendously on the manufacturer side, as our prototype will exist physically.  In consideration, as we 3d print we will also, in necessity to the printing processing,  simultaneously create schematics and CAD product plans that will map out the exact measurements in detail for our products design.This will ease the communication between Raiden and manufacturers.

In summation, while 3d printing may not aid directly within our business models it will enable strong communication and advertising of our prototypes to various manufacturers and to the public. While we may not need a physical prototype to market a product online, if this model fails and our next step is to pursue an affiliate model 3d printing will become an invaluable prototyping and communication tool.

User Scenarios

Creating a user scenario for our product Raiden has been key for us to understand the interaction between a user and the product. It serves as an effective tool to determine the needs the user may have and the tasks he/she completes when using the product.

I have been working with two scenario techniques during the design process. The first technique is to think about user scenario as a business-planning tool. Gathering data based on the research the rest of the group have been doing about the market and target audience. Focusing on costs, marketability of the product, between others. This has served us to identify clearly the target audience allowing us to create an accurate user scenario.

The Raiden user is a man or a woman who uses his/her bicycle primarily for commuting. He/she enjoys acquiring nice accessories for his/her bicycle. Likes for it to look sleek, fashionable and sophisticated but still keep it highly functional. He/she would make an investment on an accessory for his/her bicycle if it were something that will add value aesthetically speaking as well as performance. He/she loves leather goods, products that are elegant and durable. He/she also appreciates portability, acquiring products that make their lives easier by function in more than one single context. Since he/she rides his/her bicycle everyday all around the city as a medium of transportation he/she is always looking for accessories that can be easily detached from the bicycle so that they don’t get stolen.

Other scenario techniques that I am working with are creating storyboards and writing stories. These two have been key to determine the interaction between the user and the product.

Storyboards have been crucial for me to provide a visual description of the use of the product and identify context, product specs and timing and of course for communicating my ideas visually to the group. They serve to show the whole setting, where and when the interaction happens, the actions that take place, how the product is used and how it behaves, and the lifestyle, motivations and goals of the users.

Last week I worked as well on creating a user scenario storyboard but I realized that I needed to be more specific. Since this week based on research we all have done we have identified more clearly the target audience, I am redesigning the user scenario storyboard in order for it to be more specific and visually clear.

I created the following guideline for myself in order to do this:

1. The first step is to create a user character and simulations.
2. Determine what is the message I want to give out through the story of this user character.
3. Design the timeline. Short storylines that describe the user’s routine, needs and likes. In short, he/she lifestyle.
In order to successfully do this I like to start by writing stories. Short descriptions in order to communicate ideas about how and where the user would use the product, under which conditions, with whom, at what time of the day, how often, etc.
For this week I will continue on finishing this user scenario storyboard in order to apply the information gathered from this and the one gathered by the rest of the team to our prototype.

Pushing for Raiden Pre-Orders

At this point of our project schedule, we are running a week behind on achieving the validations we have hoped for and for creating a finalized prototype.  As CEO of Raiden, I have been putting effort into spreading the word about Raiden in order to get to the point of achieving pre-orders.

One method has been doing social media outreach.  I have commented on people with nice dutch style bikes on Instagram and Facebook but do realize that I have not been very good at being active on Twitter.  I will have to explore the success of spamming tweets as well.

The second outreach method is continuing with physical personal outreach and approaching people with bikes and/or leather bags.  Taking consideration of last week’s guest lecturer, Unaiz Kabani, I would approach potential customers ready to make sure that people do subscribe and pre-order on the spot.  I also have developed a means to create an ice breaker by making sure my phone is promote to ease into conversation and to cause interest with the target customer (I have a large phablet LG Intuition phone that people are always amazed by).  However, although we have continued to drive success to the website, we have not been able to create enough impulse incentive for people to pre-order Raiden.  People want to see the product first before purchasing.

I had considered creating a video for our website as a promotion but Unaiz Kabani and from in-class discussions have made me believe that it is not a good use of limited time to market the product.  I have therefore continued pushing for us to have a hi-fi prototype as soon as possible.  We had a problem with looking for simple small switched and I think I found a great small, lightweight button switch that can fit onto Raiden.  It is comprised of 2 components and are tested to be very suitable and adaptable to simple circuits, as seen below incorporated in Plus/Minus modular lighting system.

basic switch 0507130137a

1 subscriber = more validations + more research

After last weeks validations, we got our first customer who subscribed to our list:  Alessandro, was one of the people we extensively talked to when we were in Soho last week.

We were super excited when we received the email of our first customer but we realized that this was not enough. Ashley and I, ventured to Williamsburg in Brooklyn to conduct more validation and discover if  what we call “hipsters” were actually our target audience.

First of all, people were not very friendly over there and didn’t even want to give us two minutes to talk. People were frustrated, in a hurry and pissed off. We found a few generous ones and got good feedback from them. We decided that that we were going to ask very casual questions. All of the people we talked to were commuters, and used the cheapest bike lights and didn’t really care about the aesthetics. We ran into columbian tourists that didn’t even use bike lights but liked our product because of its aesthetics.

We ran into a group of British girls who didn’t carry bike lights but wanted stylish ones and others who were just interested in buying the cheapest bike light.

They were all interested in our product, but were concerned about the price. We tried to gear them towards the site to subscribe but nothing happened.

We realized that we were wrong with our assumption that Williamsburg hipsters were our target audience.

We decided that we are going to target people in Manhattan and especially the ones who live downtown: east village, west village and lower east side .Our target audience are  people who have short commutes, live in the city and like fashionable accessories.

We are officially done doing this informal interviews and need to make the product in order for people to see it live. We will try this method again once we have a high-fi prototype to show.

I have been helping 0ut Daniela and Joe by researching about manufacturers that could potentially make our leather strap and metal encasement.

I subscribed to Makers row: and contacted all the following companies:

For leather I contacted:



For metal:


Here are general questions I asked in my email and the answers and/or other questions they provided:

-Do you perforate on leather?  Yes but what is the perforation pattern? And are you going to use our leather or ours? If it is yours what type of leather is it?

-Do you perforate thick leather? Yes but please give me the specifics of the thickness and the type of snaps that you are going to use.

– Do you cut leather? I need to create  20 leather straps that are 2.5/6 inch? Yes but please be aware our MOQ is 50pcs/item/color

– I need to produce 50 metal encasement that are 1/1 inch with a 0.16/0.16  cut in the middle, how much would this cost to make? What metal would you need this in? Can it be pewter or white metal ? how will it be used? does it need to be plated? what is the thickness ?

I have also been researching about that and stumbled upon a great website called board of innovation:

Also, when I went to the field trip at ERA NYC a couple of weeks ago, they had a great system to represent revenue models and showed their financial spreadsheet after each pitch.

It would be great if we can go over this in class for more information.

Raiden NYC / User Scenario

Brainstorming about Raiden NYC user scenario has been definitely key in the development of our product. Since day one we have been accurately imagining how the user will use the product and we have been thinking of different ways for showing this.

It is very important for us to show that Raiden NYC is more than just a bike light. It is a fashionable but still practical and incredibly functional product. It is versatile and unique and it is important for the public to understand how the light could fit in their lives.

This week I decided to explore deeply these user scenarios and portrayed them visually through photographs. Making our first prototype gave us a fuller understanding about how the product fits in a bike, how could the user take it on and off and carry it with him/her. It was important to also consider the user scenario as a narrative and present it as a sequence of events.


First, you are on your way home. It is dark outside, you put on your bycicle your Raiden front and back light. It will light your way on the streets. You get to a restaurant for meeting your friends and your park your bycicle outside, but careful you don’t want to take chances of someone stealing your light. Easily, you unsnap Raiden from your bicycle’s back and front and throw it in your backpack. Or you can snap it on it. You go inside and see your friends. The place is dark and loud. Someone drops his/her cellphone on the floor and everyone tries to look and look without success. You remember you have Raiden on your bag. You take it out, wear it in your wrist and turn it on. Whoala! You have light now and it illuminates the dark place. Your friend is able to find his/her cellphone.

Guerilla Tactics It Is.

After creating our first lo-fi prototype of our Raiden bike light last week, and a semi-successful marketing strategy of talking to cyclists and leather aficionados, we decided to not yet pivot our solution but try out a different customer market and area.   As CEO, I laid out the week’s plan of things for the group to accomplish.  The aim was to do whatever we can to gain validation currency, by pushing subscriptions and pre-orders.  Joe and Daniella, as CTO and Design Director was in charge to looking into sourcing materials and work on further promotional materials in order for us to be prepared to fulfill orders and generate more interest when we get pre-orders.  Youmna, along with looking into revenue models aided me with marketing and validation efforts.

Last week, we targeted West Village and Soho and walked around talking to people on bikes or people who were walking around with leather bags.  We also put flyers on parked bikes that matched the cyclist aesthetic of our company.  We were successful in creating a spike in views on our website to 60 page views and at the end had one subscription by Alessandro, an Italian biker in Soho who I offered a heavy discount if he subscribed to our site since he had a nice sleek bike with leather details matching our aesthetic.  People in this area really liked our product but wanted to know more information.  This illustrated that we had to be out on the street more promoting our product but also do more with our website in order capitalize on these visits.

Since getting website views is not enough of a validation, Youmna and I decided to try a different group of customers, hipsters and yuppy hipsters in Williamsburg.  We managed to drive more website visits again, but no further subscriptions.   This indicates that our customer target is definitely located in manhattan.  In the same amount of time that we spent talking to people in West Village and Soho as in Williamsburg, we found that people were not as approachable and willing to spend time talking to us.  We talked to a lot of Brooklyn dwellers who prioritized small and not pricey lights if they even wanted lights at all.  Only one biker who was a commuter valued bike lights and had spent $80 on his current one that is a mounted 700 lumins light.  He was very happy with his product.  Upon looking at our prototype, he liked the design a lot and said that he would be interested to check it out and asked if we had a youtube account.  This comment coupled with feed back from other marketing sessions meant that we really need to create a promotional video.  Joe, Youmna, and Daniella all have expertise in this so creating a video will be our next marketing and validation efforts.

Since the success of our validations also depends on the weather (we see more people on bikes on nice days than not) I have also decided that the next step is to start tweeting at people that have mentioned bikes, bike lights, and LEDs to see what kind of traffic that draws.

Conclusion of this week indicates we need more promotional materials to capitalize on our website visits after talking to people and also to concentrate our outreach efforts in manhattan.

Raiden NYC:Material Sourcing

As the CTO of Raiden, a product based startup that focuses on producing hand crafted, sleek and  fashionable bike lights for the everyday cyclist, I was tasked in researching technical details of construction and how the product would be utilized within the cycling community. I am also tasked with providing market research in this area as well.   Raiden continues to move forward in designing a bike light that is not only more contemporary and fashionable in design but is also a high functioning and sports driven product. This week I was tasked with researching product sourcing options and researching manufacturers.

I began my research online by attempting to find two products that when combined would create a Raiden bike light. seemed to be the most reliable sourcing option in regards to this method. On Alibaba I was able to find products such as cheap LED’s and leather bracelets that when combined could be used to make a Raiden bike light. The better part of this find is that we are able to buy these items in bulk and at much lower cost than previously estimated.

The down side is that we at RaidenNYC would still be tasked with constructing these lights by hand during the processing of fulfilling orders. This is where I began researching an alternate manufacturing method.  As of now, I have a list of manufactures we will be contacting during the following weeks and asking them the following questions.

List of Manufacturers:

Larson Electronics, LLC

Elemental LED

Wilmington Instrument Co.

AA portable Battery LLC

Safariland LTD. INC.


Upon Contact we will be asking these questions:

  • Was the product made to specifications?
  • What percentage of the shipment was defective?
  • If there was a problem with the shipment, did the factory make restitution?
  • Were deadlines met? If not, what did the factory offer to make amends?
  • Is what was promised delivered?
  • How is the quality of goods they produce?
  • How long have you worked with this person and factory?
  • How many orders have you placed?
  • Is your contact easy to work with?
  • Is he/she responsive to calls and emails?
  • What type of projects does the factory excel in producing? Soft goods, hard goods?
  • What types of companies do they normally work with?
  • Who is responsible for landing the goods in the U.S.?

During this process my goals will be to learn as much as I can about the manufacturing process for prototypes and small businesses. Then additionally, to develop a strong relationship within the manufacturing community.

Raiden bike lights are available for preorder now at

Little bits and pieces

After our talk with Grace, the founder of Lean startup, we decided to try new experiments with our validation process by using spontaneous and creative methods.

On Monday 22nd of April, Ashley and I took a long walk from Union square to Soho in order to interview strangers riding their bikes in the city. Our goal was to learn about our different customer segments by interviewing commuter bikers, stylish and fashionable people and even leather enthusiast dwellers.

We used different techniques to do so:

We waited on the sidewalk to catch bikers that were locking or unlocking their bikes to talk to them and show them our product with our mockups on an iPad, we used a guerrilla marketing strategy by stopping at street lights and handing bikers a card that had the name of our brand, contact information like our email and website and we stopped pedestrian on the streets when we saw that they had some leather accessory on them.

At the end of the conversation we handed to everyone a business card in order to check later if they saw our website or ordered our product.

Monica, an integrated design student at Parsons owned a blue Linus bike and she had it accessorized with a wooden basket, looked very fashionable with a spring dress.

We though she was our perfect target audience but it seems that she didnt buy her bike for the style but only because she likes to wear dresses and this bike had a female rack, we showed her our mockup and she thought it was an interesting idea but wouldn’t personally wear it because she didn’t like wearable accessories.  She would like to have a light that is securely attached to her bike instead.

Zoe, a women that was just finishing up her workout from Soul cycle in Soho, also owned a Linus. She was the commuter/sporty kind. After showing her our product, she told us that she loved it, she always looses her bike lights and she was into the leather aesthetics and the functionality of it.

Bob was a student sitting on the bench of La Colombe coffee shop in Soho with a very sleek leather backpack, so I asked him if he biked and he said that he did. He loved our idea and wanted to purchase it on the spot.

Cole, has been a biker for 25 years, he owned a old bike and told us that he loved to accesorize it and keep it safe by rapping the seat, the wheels, his lights around with a leather material. He loved our idea because he thought that snapping it in and out from the bike handle to his backpack would be a great idea.

Greg was another stylish potential customer, he had a leather bag, we approached him on the sidewalk as he was coming back from work. He was from Seattle and loved to bike. He also liked the idea of the snaps that strap on and off and the aesthetics of it and told us that it was like a torch light.

Alessandro, a very stylish Italien biker, really liked our idea and told us that he would share it with all his friends. We even told him to sign up for the pre-order list in order to give him a discount.

Deji was a real deal sport enthusiast, he was wearing professional biking accessories and told us that he would try out our product because he liked new things.

Monica and Maggie, were walking their Schindler bikes home and questioned why we were using leather material to make our bike light. We told them that we were going for a certain type of biker and thought that leather was in style this season.

They also asked us for the price and if we had a website or some contact information. We handed out our cards after that.

Luis, was a freestyle cyclist, he loved speed and adventure. He really though that making the light with leather was unique. Coincidentally, he was also working on a accessory for bikes, so we shared some references and he gave us the contact of his friend that was making neon clothing for bikers.

His company was called Ice cold Nyc

We got very good feedback from people who generally loved the idea, the aesthetics and the functionality but realized that they wouldn’t wear it as a wrist band. The idea of clipping in and out or strapping in and out was more attractive. People could potentially put it anywhere: on their belts, back back and pockets.

After that we got some activity on the website:

-5 people logged in to our website from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, this is when we were on the streets doing interviews

-10 people visited that night.

Since no one has been purchasing our item we decided to add a feature in order for people to subscribe to a mailing list. If they did subscribe, they would get a 10 dollars discount.

We created this feature  last night, so we will wait to see what type of results we get.

As for making our prototype, we decided to make the strip smaller, something that can be snapped in and out from a handle of a bike to a backpack or a pocket.

Because our light is 120 Lumins, we needed to get a 9V battery. These types of batteries are usually rather bulky , the challenge is going to find one with the right shape in order to fit in the strap.

We put together a first prototype, connected all the circuits and really loved the brightness of it.

We posted a picture on Facebook and got great feedback on the intensity of the light.

We would need to research more about the batteries and are thinking of moving toward soft circuits to conduct the electricity with conductive fabric and thread.

Raiden Prototype / Research

Ever since we developed Raiden NYC bike light I have been paying very close attention to bike riders around the city. I have been noticing carefully what kind of bicycles they have, accessories such as lights, helmets and baskets they use and investigating common stylistic patterns that are present in all of these.

One thing I have recognized is that there are many bikers that have accessories with leather details, mostly handbags, cellphone cases and laptops slipcases. In some cases I have even seen bikers who’s bicycle’s seat is made out of elegant leather, which looks stunning.

We have recognized that these bikers are the ones we have to target. Our market segment is commuter bikers, who appreciate fashionable, multipurpose wearable and handcrafted products.

In order to validate this we have been submitting surveys and visiting bike stores. The first stores we visited were more sports amateur oriented, we quickly realized that we needed to investigate other bike stores that focus more on the lifestyle of a commuter, ones that provide them with stylistic choices for bicycles and accessories more than just functionality. We made a list of a series of bicycles stores where we possibly see our product fitting in.

I visited Adeline Adeline, at 147 Reade St. New York, NY 10013. As it is described in the store’s website story section “Adeline Adeline is a bicycle boutique for the person who wants to rediscover the style, fun and romance of cycling. The shop is a friendly, welcoming environment that focuses on the beautifully designed city bikes and accessories made famous on the streets of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and now, New York.”

The store offers a vast variety of products related to biking, as it is shown in the picture bellow. I focused on researching about their overall aesthetics and style.

adelineadeline copy

Looking closely at what types of leathers and metal enclosures they use for all their leather goods and then for the lights I investigated all the options they sell, focusing on the size, materials, how they attach to the bicycles, if they are portable or not, brightness and weight.

As it is shown in the picture bellow surprisingly even though they use a lot of fabric, leather, rattan and similar materials that have an organic and warm feel, their lights mostly consist of plastic, rubber and metal.

adelineadeline2 copy

I quickly realized once more that bike lights that use soft materials, such as leather and focus on wearability are not commonly found even in the most design, handcrafts oriented bicycles boutiques. I feel with conviction that Raiden NYC has a place in the market and it will definitely attract customers who shop in stores such as this one.

I spoke with two sales representatives and they expressed that most customers come into the store and spend quite some time looking at things. They said that most of them take their time to touch, feel and try the products. Leather goods are very popular, particularly the bags. Designs such as the Retrovelo Frame Bag, shown in the picture bellow, is one of the most sold leather good items in the stores, even though it is very expensive. The representative said that it is very unique and mostly men purchase it.


The leather grips are popular too, another representative said. He said that people like to decorate their bikes, make them elegant and unique and elements such as this one makes the bike look more personal and sophisticated. Overall when I asked him if customers bought these types of products for functionality or purely aesthetics, he said that he thinks that most of them do it for aesthetics, in order to have a more stylish bike rather than a more functional one.

In the end I showed him Raiden NYC website with the product’s mockup and he liked it. He seemed to respond well to it. He said that if it attaches very tight to the bike’s front handle and the light and leather is durable over time that it can definitely work and fit under the same style of the line of products they offer.

Another task we as a team had was to produce our first real prototype. With the leather, LED and button snaps we have acquired last week we built it and tested it. We experimented with leather that has a very smooth surface and that it has a thickness of approximately 0.25”. We took in consideration standard measurements for bicycles front handle and for the sake of this prototype measurements from all of our wrists in order to make bands, one for the wrist, and one for the bicycle.

We quickly realized that the mechanism we initially thought out for fastening the light and band, which was using button snaps, is not so efficient. These needs to be attached to the leather with special machines that when needed for large quantities can be expensive. There are tools for attaching them manually, which we bought but unfortunately they don’t work as efficient as they are advertised.

The good news is that there are many other ways through which we can do this. The most important thing for us was to test the light quality and strength of the leather. One of our primary concerns was how well the leather would grip into the surface of the bicycle’s metal handles, and it attached very well without slipping. The light also works great and it fits perfectly into the dimensions of the band. The following are some pictures from it:




Our next steps are to produce a metal enclosure for the light to be put in and then test another method for closing rather than button snaps.