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Starting a Startup in Augmented Hearing

In February 2019 I was on the beach with my wife in Cancún, and I was reading Stephen Hawking’s last book, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions.”. At the end of the book, he wrote about how grateful he was to Intel for all the technology they provided him over the years so that he could communicate with the world. And then he encouraged entrepreneurs to follow suit and dive deeper into solving problems for people with severe disabilities or impairments.

At the time I had been thinking about augmented reality and how the more talked-about applications seemed so fluffy and superficial—a better navigational interface, another way to get notifications and text messages, and of course, gaming.

So I wondered, what could augmented reality technologies offer people with vision loss and hearing loss?

This question ignited something on the inside, and I kicked off a months-long journey to research market opportunities across several different industries—within each industry, I dove deep into strategy and product positioning. After completing this round of secondary research, I narrowed my scope to down to two ideas: one for people with vision loss, and one for people with hearing loss.

I then used Lean Sprints to test my ideas directly with potential customers in both of my target markets. I do have an unrelated a day job, so this testing was limited to nights and weekends. After several sprints, I learned … well, SO many things … but for the context of this timeline, I learned that my idea for people with hearing loss was significantly stronger and a much better fit for my background in audio and music technology.

So, here I am now, actively pursuing product opportunities in the Augmented Hearing space. I’m hoping to write more here as I follow this journey, wherever it takes me. Please reach out to me if you find any of this interesting.

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