At Reese News Lab, the Startup Curve Is Like a Real-Life Roller Coaster

    by Justina Vasquez
    November 5, 2014
    Lab interns finalize ideas.

    In the world of startup companies there exists an infamous graph called the Startup Curve. It shows the typical course that a startup team takes as its members attempt to launch a new product or service.reese

    It shows that as the initial high of excitement wears off, the startup begins a swift plummet toward the Trough of Sorrow. The trough is where many companies find themselves stagnant, unable to distinguish which way is up.
    startup curve

    "Life in the startup world is certainly a roller coaster. It’s often hard to tell when you’re doing something right or blindly walking in circles."

    The Crash of Ineptitude

    That is just anticipation for the next drop in the process. This week, our team experienced the actual lowest point reachable: the Crash of Ineptitude.


    “What do we do?” one of my teammates exclaimed, “Who are we?” I immediately laughed to dull the pain of how striking and unanswerable her question was after eight weeks of being in the lab.

    To answer simply, we are Tour Sync, a museum-focused technology that uses inaudible sound waves to ping information to a smartphone application. We intend to use it to conveniently deliver interesting content about museums and tourist attractions to visitors and guests.

    The reason my teammate’s questions threw me into an identity crisis was the more complicated answer: figuring out what we do and how we do it. It turned out that for seven weeks, each person on my team had completely different ideas of what our product was going to look like.


    We eventually decided on a model as a group and it seems we’ll be pleased with museums’ responses. Tour Sync will offer two separate products, one for museums with smartphone apps and one, more specialized version for museums without apps.

    Life in the startup world is certainly a roller coaster. It’s often hard to tell when you’re doing something right or blindly walking in circles. Although we may have crashed and burned this week, I now see potential in our product. Rather than blowing up from crashing and burning, we will blow up in a way that impacts the tourism industry.

    We hope that in the future when you visit your favorite museum, a ping will trigger the knowledge of the Reese News Lab startup idea that made it through the fire.

    Justina Vasquez is a sophomore journalism major from Fayetteville, N.C. who hopes to attend either law school or business school in the future. This is her first year with Reese News Lab. Her interests include the promotion of STEM education among underrepresented populations, jazz music, great food, and a weird tingly feeling she gets in her mind when she’s solving a cool problem. You can follow her on Twitter at @heresto_justina.

    This story originally appeared on Reese News Lab.

    reese2Reese News Lab is an experimental news and research project based at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The lab was established in 2010 with a gift from the estate of journalism school alum Reese Felts. The Lab develops and tests new ideas for the media industry in the form of a “pre-startup.” Teams of students research ideas for media products by answering three questions: Can it be done? Does anyone actually need this? Could it sustain itself financially? To answer these questions, students create prototypes, interview and survey potential customers, and develop business strategies for their products. Students document their recommendations on whether they believe a product will work and then present their ideas to the public.

    Tagged: journalism reese news lab startups unc

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