Anchr as a startup-company has earlier tested their prototypes on international students and collected feedback from them to be used in later prototypes. Rather than presenting a prototype I chose to discuss the general concept of Anchr with a few selected friends with different backgrounds that all fit the demographics of the potential Anchr user. Here’s a a short presentation of the potential customers/friends I discussed the idea with:

Lukas, 24, Engineering Student.

Christian, 24, Business Student.

Adèle, 23, Artist and incoming design student.

Oskar, 24, Management Consultant.

Marcus, 24, Investment Banking Analyst.

How did you find these people?

They are friends of mine. I had lunch/dinner with them on different occasions during the last month or so and, while at it, I took the time to discuss Anchr in an informal setting.

Which feedback did you get from them? 

All of them were really intrigued by the idea of Anchr. Primarily, the idea of being close to augmented reality and having information from several internet information providers in one app were something that all of them seemed to see a need for. However, after that several questions were raised, ranging from the UX to the actual business model. Here are some points that were discussed:

  • What is the appropriate business model?
    • 3 out of 5 were willing to pay a small price for premium features. However, the three that were willing to pay for it wanted to pay around 50 kr maximum as a one time cost. Motivations included that if the price is too high they would rather use multiple apps or search engines rather than Anchr.
    • None of them had any problem with advertisements as long it didn’t distract from the user experience. Instagram and Tinder were brought up as good examples apps with non-distracting ads.
  • What is the user interface?
    • Most of them imagined it to be similar to Google Maps but with more information. Since the UI isn’t set in stone we discussed it further. Lukas brought up the idea of the UI being like reddit, where geographic content nearby gets up/down-voted so you always have a clear view of that’s worth doing.
  • Why has not this been done before?
    • We discussed potential difficulties in collecting information and potential risks with losing access to this information from major information providers.

How do you think how you found these people and who they are influences the feedback you received?

It of course matters a lot. Lukas, Oskar and Markus which all have an engineering background were more tech-oriented in their questions. Moreover, I think that the discussion benefitted from me being friends with them, since it allowed them speak freely and not adjust themselves to any expectations from my part.

Will you change your idea based on their feedback, why, why not?

The general idea remains the same, but there are many things that I take with me in terms of business model feedback and potential risks. Since the idea of Anchr in very inclusive at the moment, I think the biggest challenge that lies ahead is to narrow the scope of the application.

Last monday, me and my class in technology-based entrepreneurship at KTH were given a demo of a new virtual reality music app called Orb. In short, Orb is an app that uses VR-technology to enhance users music listening experiences. The user can navigate through a virtual reality universe where each album in your music collection is its own orb which you can access music-videos, lyrics and visualisations in a 3D-landscape. Its aim is to reinvent the way we enjoy music and promote active listening; a slight nod to how music was enjoyed back when the majority of people actually bought albums and browsed through lyrics and artwork accompanied with the album.

While I was impressed with technology, the way forward was a bit vague and raised a few questions. Bill Schacht, the founder wants to launch this summer and, as far I understood it, will release it is a standalone app in which you can purchase music along with visualizations, music videos and other content. In other words, it is almost like iTunes but with a VR-interface. As I see it, the only thing that really separates Orb from other internet based music services is its interface. While this interface may be the first of its kind, it probably will not be for very long. The market for VR-hardware is estimated to grow with a 99% compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2020, making the estimated market value 2.6 billion USD at the end of 2020. To me it is absolutely unthinkable that Orb will be alone in providing a VR-interface to music listening within the next few years. Their website states that they have a patent pending, but it will likely not prevent other similar interfaces from emerging from more well established streaming music services such as Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal. When this happens, why would anyone choose to use Orb instead of a service that has a greater catalogue of music and all your personal playlists? And on top of it all, why would anyone buy albums on Orb if they hypothetically stream the albums and have a similar interface?

As far as I see it, Orb must form partnerships with at least one of the big players in the music streaming business in order to be relevant in the future. The question is how Orb should go about doing this. What is the incentive for established streaming services to partner with Orb rather than developing their own interface?

I see two incentives for partnering with Orb.  One could be that the technology is hard to replicate and therefore an established streaming service chooses to partner up with Orb in order to avoid development costs and winning time in being the first to provide a VR-interface to its users. I lack the knowledge in virtual reality programming to tell whether or not it is hard to build a similar interface, but given the enormous budgets that Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal has, development costs is not likely to be the main issue.

The second incentive involves a scenario where Orb is able to generate a great amount of user-based content. If early adopters are able to create content; visualisations, artwork etc. exclusively for Orb it would add value to the service that is hard to replicate. However, finding people that are skilled 3D-programmers that are eager to create visualisations and willing to pay around 12 dollars per album in order see their animations play in Orb may be hard.

Both of the above mentioned incentives involve Orb using its first mover advantage in order to create value in its app before any other service has done so. If they succeed in doing so, the Orb technology may be bought by one of the major streaming services. If not, the major streaming companies will probably use their advantage in development resources to replicate and improve the interface and that would probably be the end for Orb.

As a student you always have a list of tasks that needs to be done. My personal task list range from programming a mathematical optimization model to doing my laundry. As any other student, I am my own boss in terms of deciding when these tasks needs to be done. This lies in sharp contrast to the working life that I have experienced so far, where you have other people depending on your work getting done in time and definite deadlines. While it may seem like sweet deal to have the freedom of deciding of when your tasks needs to be done, you also have different incentives for actually getting the tasks the done. Rather than letting down your team, you let down yourself when you do not complete your tasks on time. At least for me, this makes the stakes lower for completing tasks when studying compared to when I am working. This opens the door for procrastination, i.e. postponing your work.

According to this article in The Guardian, studies show that as much as 70 % of university students procrastinate in when studying. In the article you get helpful tips such as separating your workspace from where you have fun and avoiding answering emails while completing you tasks. While these are all helpful tips, I would like to make an addition in form of apps that helps you get motivated and more productive. This list should helpful for students and self-employed people (such as entrepreneurs) that have the freedom of choosing when you want work and what tasks you want to complete.


Screenshot 2016-04-13 14.27.34

  1. Streaks helps you form routines. Choose tasks that you want complete on a regular basis, whether it is daily, semi-daily or weekly. Once the task is completed you mark it as such. After a while, if you stick to your routines, you will have streaks corresponding to how many times in a row you have completed the task. As the streaks gets longer you get more incentive to keep the streak going. This helped me forming a habit of getting up at 7 am every weekday even though my lecture schedule allows me to sleep in basically every day.

    Screenshot 2016-04-13 14.41.24

  2.  Wunderlist is a smart way of keeping track of your tasks that needs to be done. You can categorize and prioritize your tasks and set reminders. Writing this blog post was on my under my todo-list for the course ME2603.

    Screenshot 2016-04-13 14.55.39

  3.  Noisli is a great way of using sounds to create a great environment for studying or working. It has been shown that a moderate level of noise increases creativity and I can personally say that Noisli is a great way of creating your own sound environment and drown out annoying noises.