Peer to Peer Master Ryan James Reminds Us to Keep Customer First

Student entrepreneur Ryan James (21B) led an incredibly interactive episode of Peer to Peer Master Class last week. Relying on his own experience as a co-founder of Vimband--a wearable device that helps individuals (especially outdoor workers) to regulate their body temperature--Ryan discussed both the importance of keeping the customer as the center of a product's development, and tips on how to do so.

Ryan offered a powerful reminder that "the customer has the power" and ignoring or taking guesses about his/her preferences is done at a maker's peril. He encouraged product designers to get out in the field and talk to their target audience in person whenever possible. He shared numerous examples of the ways his team--which was among the finalists in the year-long national "Hult Prize" competition--was able to creatively interact with their potential customers as they were designing Vimband. Ryan also encouraged all aspiring innovators to "challenge invisible orthodoxies" by staying curious about the world, and not taking the status quo way of doing things for granted. 

The end of the school year doesn't mean the end of Peer to Peer Master Class! The Hatchery has been so impressed with each of the student masters and the response they have received that the program will continue through Summer. Next week the master will be Katie Lee (22B), who will lead a workshop on how to manage a YouTube channel.

If you are interested in leading a class, or know a student you would like to see be an instructor, please email Ben Garrett (Innovation Programming and Operations Manager, The Hatchery) at    

To learn more about The Hatchery visit or email The Hatchery staff at The Hatchery is a unit of Emory University Academic Innovation.

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