Blog Posts by Spira

Scratching a Pitch / Published January 14, 2017 by Elliot Roth

Elliot Roth

Scratching a Pitch

There's nothing better to do at the end of a long, arduous process then get up in front of a bunch of strangers and talk about something you're really passionate about... said nobody ever.

However, pitching is a key skill for any team to have. Spira has been working through the TFF challenge in order to make our team stronger as well as develop better concepts for working with and marketing algae.

At the end of the TFF process we're supposed to put together a 2 minute pitch video as well as a 30 second elevator pitch. This has been the most challenging aspect of the process so far.

The task fell to me to film and edit the video. We picked up a video camera and went to work, recording four different interviews in three locations at two different times with only one angle.

Disaster struck in the editing room when I realized that the audio from all but one interview was rubbish and that our video was supposed to be 2 minutes when I had cut together a 3 minute video. Whoops!

I had never edited video before and after this process, I have a newfound respect for people who make and post videos constantly. It's an arduous process.

I'm headed back into the editing room to polish up the last few clips and then we'll be completely done with the pitch section of TFF!

Make It or Break It / Published January 14, 2017 by Elliot Roth

Elliot Roth

Make It or Break It

The first thing we did when we started brainstorming concepts for the packaging design was figure out our brand values and characteristics based on the customer personas and interviews we had conducted.

Next, we broke apart and created mood boards outlining examples of brands and images we thought fit Spira the best.

Peter then did an excellent job conducting 100 online user surveys on discovering the proper bottle shape. We narrowed it down to a simple cylinder of clear plastic.

Our brand values of simplicity and transparency had to be echoed on the bottle. We also wanted our mission of using spirulina to reduce malnutrition, absorb carbon, clean water and promote better health on the bottle.

After additional testing and passing around the bottle, we found a few errors and that users disliked having no flavor. We tried lime but that was too acidic to keep the algae alive. Going back to the drawing board we added in "green" flavors, deciding to not name the specific taste which could alienate some people (we started with watermelon). In addition, we simplified the bottle to make it stand out on the shelf.

The final bottle needs a bit more work but it's something we're really proud of. Time to test it out with a ton of people!

Notes / Published January 14, 2017 by Elliot Roth

Elliot Roth


Our meeting minutes for the conceptualize stage. The team was still gathering interviews.

Interviews + Meeting Online / Published January 14, 2017 by Elliot Roth

Elliot Roth

Interviews + Meeting Online

This step in the TFF challenge was difficult. With everyone out on break, it was hard to get people together to discuss their interviews and keep everyone to task.

We collected 5 different interviews (and have more pending) and signed up 7 consistent beta testers (which will be interviewed in the future).

The team was having difficulty collecting unbiased information so we're planning on reading Talking to Humans to help craft our questions.

Online meetings are much more challenging to do a group high-five. Somehow we managed it!

Algal Ideas / Published January 14, 2017 by Elliot Roth

Elliot Roth

Algal Ideas

Since our team started TFF with a topic in mind, we wanted to come up with a few concepts that made algae more likely to be adopted as a food source.

Surge suggested we try a bunch of recipes with spirulina. Julia wanted to look into better drying methods to make a protein powder that didn't taste bad. Logan figured out that there was a bit of friction with ordering something online and so wanted to develop small sample packs. Peter had done research on marketing and was all about developing beautiful and simple packages that were incredibly straightforward and clear with what they offered. Evan was interested in using the influencer community to market algae products. John said that we should focus on the vegan market to have a diehard fan base. I was all-in on developed home DIY kits so anyone could grow spirulina.

Our ideas were all over the place. We couldn't do it all so the team decided to focus on something simple, accessible and delicious: a live culture spirulina beverage.

The beverage solves the problem of the poor taste of spirulina by keeping it alive. It also enables anyone to grow it with just a few simple salts. We can send it in a small sample pack and cook with it to incorporate spirulina in the current diet. Peter's packages and Evan and John's marketing strategy played a crucial role in the role-out of the product and Julia's drying research would help lengthen the shelf-life.

It was an incredibly productive session and I'm excited to see how our idea develops!

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