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How do you breakdown a large, complicated 'end goal' into parts small enough to actually complete?

I've got a great idea that could revolutionize the nootropic/supplement industry. My initial goals were simple, and this business was just to fund another project - but now I've dreamed it up to the point where I don't know how to start any of it!

The 'big picture' wish list would include all of these thing:
  • Users answering comprehensive surveys about their health and goals
  • That data being uploaded to a cloud and having multiple ML run against it
  • Continuously ask the user questions about how they feel, and suggest new formulations
  • Analysis run against user data and supply chain to determine what supplements I should carry, what will be popular, and what would be cheaper to synthesize in-house rather than purchase
  • A complete redesign of encapsulation machines!
  • Phone apps
  • Integration to 3rd party health software
  • Full API to make it easy for others to integrate
  • Data as anonymous as possible

When I sketch it all out, it's simply amazing. Not only would I be able to custom tailor nootropic supplements to a users specific body chemistry and needs, I'll also get back tons of data that could be used elsewhere!

When I sketched it all out, the biggest thing I saw that would need to be created would be the encapsulators. So right now I'm thinking about building the machines, then creating a simple store where users can select a few things they want and customize a nootropic solution, while using CI to slowly add in the additional functionalities.

Problem being I'm not a mechanical engineer, or software engineer, or hell even a web designer - but I have had a foot in those areas at some point so I can probably make it happen with my limited time.

So I have this amazing and complicated dream and I want to make sure I'm approaching the road blocks in the right order - any thoughts?

2 Replies

Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
start by selling something. look for the critical success factors (if these don't happen then nothing else happens) and solve them first. A contract or real cash in hand is the best market validation. I am not likely your ideal customer profile, but the first item on your list is "users answering comprehensive surveys..." Surveys are tough. I will answer very few, but if it takes more than 1 minute i'm not likely to even start. Sounds like your initial hurdle will be getting people to give you the comprehensive data you need. Where do you find them? how do you reach them/get their attention? how do you get them to spend time answering survey's about their health - from a company they don't know or trust yet? I'd start there.
Jeremy D. Pavleck
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Jeremy D. Pavleck Entrepreneur • Advisor
Design Director - Future Technologies and Automation at a financial company
True, you wouldn't be the typical customer. It might help to tell you about people like me!

So, people who take nootropics, or smart drugs, are a unique bunch. The average life cycle of a person taking nootropics is:

  1. Let me try one of these nootropics I heard about *orders on Amazon*
  2. OMG, this is awesome, I'm so focused!
  3. *time passes* Damn it, it doesn't seem to work anymore, I wonder why
  4. *much research later* AH, I see, I need to cycle them on and off
  5. *joins various forums about nootropics* Ok awesome, I now have a stack for week 1 and a stack for week 2. But man, there's a lot of pills, and they are all expensive
  6. Hey! I can buy the supplement powders online and then encapsulate them myself! Awesome
  7. Where most of us are at: Damn it, this method works and is effective but is it ever time consuming.
When I floated this idea of a system where tell us about themselves, and what they want to achieve with nootropics, with periodic checkups and suggestions on new formulas the forums went insane - like I hit a nerve that needed to be hit! That's when I thought... hrmm, maybe.

I need to know a bit of their history - at least what medications they are on, mental health, etc to be able to give proper suggestions. Knowing lifestyle factors such as exercise and the like aids it even more.

Think of it like this: Right now, you do 10-16 hours of research on nootropics every week. You also spend several additional hours every week measuring out powders, mixing them, encapsulating them, and writing them down. You also record everything about your mix and constantly strive to improve it.

Now, here I come, and say "Well, with 20 minutes of your time at the start I can build you a nootropic profile, bottle it and send it to you. You can also tell me if it's not working, and suggest changes. I'll also make sure you don't mix 2 things that are counter-productive or downright dangerous"

You can imagine how much you'd love to join up - I sure as hell know I would! And from just a few subtle hints and one place I reference the actual name, I've got over 600 likes on a facebook page in less than a week. So I'm thinking I found a niche.

But yeah, I may just start with several formulations for people. It's a boutique industry, so while you'll pay $15 for a One-A-Day vitamin, people like me will spend upwards of $400/month and take over 30 pills. Now I can reduce all of that.

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