Lessons Learned in the “Third Wave”

Lessons Learned – Being creative in your backyard during the “3rd Wave” of the internet

At the beginning of October Holland Michigan was placed back on the world’s map by something that had never been done before, delivery of frozen yogurt via a “drone”.

Though the flight only took 15 minutes, flying from Orange Leaf Holland to Hope College (my two favorite places to hang out), the concept was hatched months before by myself and Matt Rybar.  Matt, a very skilled and visionary engineer, was also the pilot for this operation deemed Operation Flying Orange Unicorn.  We knew it might be big news, but little did we know that this concept would land us on the pages of USA Today, Fortune Magazine, QSR Magazine, Drone Magazine, CNBC, and many many others.

In “The Third Wave” Steve Case mentions some things that will make a business successful in the coming years as they maneuver through the 3rd wave of the internet. While continue development of Operation Flying Orange Unicorn continues to develop we have found a few things that were helpful.

1. Know the regulations

We covered all FAA regulations, learned everything we could about what unmanned systems could and could not do within the airspace. Both of us were up to speed on exemptions to the “333” as well as the newly forming Part 107 – especially Matt. We knew how to write flight plans, file them with the local airports, and partner with Hope College Campus Safety to ensure we had all the boxes checked for government regulations, to include local ones.  This all paid off because a day after the event someone called 911 which resulted in discussions with the local police and the FAA. We filed a Freedom of Information Act to find out why someone would call 911 a day later. The truth was that a competing business was not excited about the fact that we got a lot of press over the operation and was jealous.  But because we had all of the safety protocols checked, understood the rules and regulations, we were a 100% “go”.

2. Partnerships are key

Small businesses have a hard time being successful without partnerships, but when it comes to technology, partnerships are extremely key.  Orange Leaf made an awesome partnership. We had the knowledge of flying, but they had the knowledge of public relations and press releases. They knew how to get the word out. The Orange Leaf team also knew how to coordinate for pictures, video, and other media integration that Mishigami would have never been able to do.

3. Take the risk

I have some crazy ideas and not all of them work. Sometimes you might get lucky and go viral, but you wont know unless you try. In this case I had a feeling it would be picked up by the Associated Press, but there’s always a chance it falls flat. Orange Leaf spent their time and money backing this crazy concept, while Matt and I risked our most expensive drone and our reputations. We rehearsed, but when the day came there was a ton of stress.

4. Look for what’s next

Now that Mishigami Group has made the front pages, been part of history, and is being compared to Alphabet (Google) and Amazon’s drone project – we need to continue to develop and be innovative. We are in West Michigan, which isn’t California, or even close really, yet we still have the capabilities to be as innovative in our own backyard.

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