Thanks to our supporters and industry experts who have been instrumental to Infant Guards direction and development. We continually refine Snuggle Helper® to align with infant healthcare guidelines and best practices.
Numerous studies and announcements by the American Academic of Pediatrics (AAP) and others call for clear adherence to safe infant sleep practices. Infant Guard staunchly supports these positions. For earnest readers, a search for safe sleep at aap.org will produce a wealth of information and recommendations for safe sleeping.
No product should be used to allow co-sleeping between adults and infants. We proudly market Snuggle Helper® in light of these guidelines.
Thanks and best regards,
Sometimes preparation and opportunity meet under surprising circumstances. It's pleasing when it happens. Such was the case recently as I reflected on the best approach to launch Snuggle Helper® for the commercial market.
The issues needing addressed weren't numerous, but they were challenging. The primary obstacle was to conceptually present a safety-related product which addresses a little-known phenomenon to the general consumer market. The content needed to be concise, accurate, and informative, yet introduce a new class of consumer product without burying the reader in an avalanche of tech speak or marketing buzz. How does one go about doing that? A bevy of supporting information needed to be shared to establish the basis of product need. However, the web-based rules of thumb apply: Get your information across in x seconds (x being some number < 10; it varies by expert, but all agree that 10 is way too long). Don't bury the reader in verbiage. Keep it crisp. Make it easy to buy, etc.
How does one surmount this? My own faith in the product can't convey to others purely via osmosis. I wish it could. My engineering background remains grounded in unshakeable faith of documenting an approach and relying on the diligence of peers to assimilate specifications, designs, etc and raise questions when warranted to ultimately reach an agreement. To a large degree, I've been spoiled, because that pesky "<10 seconds rule" pretty much blows traditional engineering approaches out of the water, especially when one must elicit rapid intuitive responses from potential
customers. Consequently, my analytical disposition led to a short term becalming until inspiration struck.
That inspiration originated from Sally, my wife. Most who know us wouldn't be surprised at that. We were traveling over the Christmas season when Sally noted a young mother with a young infant in an airline terminal at LAX. Sally exclaimed that the product is perfectly suited for air travel. I acknowledged her observation as I wrestled with a business related email as made our way to our destination. Fortunately, Sally had formulated a concept that persisted with me; it was just that my less flashy mind took awhile longer to absorb it. As I reflected later on the general marketing challenge, it became clear that if you have to work to convince a potential buyer of a problem your product solves, you've pretty much already lost the battle to win their business. I don't know what that was so hard for me to grasp, as I tend to intuitively live by that rule as I eschew new products all the time; even good ones. I had just attributed my behavior to my frugal nature instead of considering myself consistent with a mainstream consumer mindset.
Alas, as we refined our approach for capturing the attention of the general consumer, the proverbial light bulb finally turned on. Recall the young parents we've all sat nearby on innumerable airline flights. Moms or dads held their baby as any good parent would do, subverting their own comfort for that of their child. That
parental responsibility is nearly archetypal in nature; there's little need to explain it or convince others of its existence. Alas, an intuitive niche! Consequently, we've developed new air travel content to highlight this opportunity. We went live
today with that travel content alongside a new search ad campaign. (Check it out at
infant-guard.com/air-travel.) We have competitors out there, but none are our equal in terms of utility, portability, and value.
In short, the engines are revving. Off we go!
Commercial activity finds itself center stage as we press forward into 2015.
A casual glance at our website reveals a new landing page for gift ideas. The new page couples with search engine activity promoting Infant Guard as a source of baby-related gifts. As part of this endeavor, we have also enabled and gone live with gift certificate functionality.
No such initiative would be complete without materials that suggest and highlight Snuggle Helpers® as sensible, unique gifts. Our product was developed to address circumstances surrounding parental exhaustion, but when viewed in a larger context, its applicability crosses a wider range of users. Web site viewers will find new content which shows Snuggle Helpers® used by family members and friends who may be less confident than parents when handling newborns. If one considers the amount of parental anxiety introduced when a newly anointed older sibling handles their younger brother or sister for the first time, the product value becomes evident. The same can be said of situations when older adults who may be less confident when handling young ones, find themselves enjoying the company of new additions to the family.
Regardless of the scenario, we enjoy occupying a position of marketing and distributing a relevant product; one designed for ease of use, and applicability across a wide range of family members and friends.
Best regards for an exciting 2015.
Our journey continues as we await FDA product determination for Snuggle Helper®. Though the process is somewhat opaque and occasionally frustrating, we value the agency's allegiance to public safety and the diligence it exercises for the myriad products that surface annually. Public safety clearly outweighs commercial concerns; we continue to execute with that in our forethoughts as we look forward to their findings.
We continue to make headway on commercial activities while awaiting FDA product
determination. We recently received confirmation from the USPTO for the Snuggle Helper® product trademark. Our branding activities have embraced the change as we prepare to more aggressively circulate product information in 2015. Activities as seemingly innocuous as achieving a registered trademark can be considered victories in our information-fueled society. I state this as trademark claims can be easily precluded by common law declarations and ad hoc usage in online environments which merely use the ™ designator to establish footholds in the market. Defining meaningful product names, establishing an online presence, and reconciling both with an internet-enabled market place can be daunting undertakings for new companies carving out niches for product usage and name brand recognition. USPTO validation of our work in this area is gladly accepted, as the dimensions that had to be reconciled were numerous and constantly shifting.
All in all, we continue to look forward to a 2015 filled with new activities and challenges as we transition into sales-focused activity with an established product. Best regards to all for warm, enjoyable holiday season and a happy new year.
Our business accommodates a diverse mix of factors, both theoretical and of the more practical, day-to-day variety. Today I'm sharing insight about those
factors and our recent and upcoming activities.
As I wrote in August -- we know the Snuggle Helper® product will make a difference. Quantifiable outcomes speak volumes in addition (or opposition) to passionate beliefs, though. We're looking forward to a quantifiable opportunity to assess and improve our product. Field reports are great sources of insight for product improvement, so we already use field data. Controlled studies, which yield critical insights from highly trained observers, are invaluable as well. We stand to benefit greatly by using both, as we position ourselves to participate in our first formal study. Credible studies call for vexing levels of detail. Study owners must identify
and track statistically significant factors in contrast with credible baseline
data. They must clearly identify and mitigate confounding factors, and most importantly, align the study goals and objections in accordance with end-user plans and objectives. For a study to earn peer-reviewed publication, it's also vital to document the study findings in terms of statistical interventions which are sound in their clinical focii. (That is, it's vital that the study findings don't reek of commercialism.) We plan to support a study with these considerations in mind.
When the study owner/planner initiated study design activity many weeks ago, a question arose regarding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of our product (an important matter for clinical enterprises). The FDA is currently undergoing determination activity for Snuggle Helper®, to provide a disposition for it as a medical device or as a non-medical device. Depending on the outcome of that determination over the next few weeks, Infant Guard can find itself pursuing roughly parallel, yet very different short term pathways:
We have enhanced our capabilities as the FDA determination exercise has
- An "is a medical device" finding will result in steps to derive and adhere to
new regulatory guidelines for a new type of Class 1 medical product. Our subsequent focus would shift to establish a far greater presence in clinical environments.
- A "not a medical device" finding will find us aggressively pursuing commercial activity and pressing for greater visibility and acceptance of Snuggle Helper® in the public eye (in addition to establishing a greater presence in clinical environments.)
gone forward. Regulated medical device providers must (among many other things) implement traceability of production activities from supply chains through end-users, as well as through supporting versions of specification and design documentation.
Archives must be made available to inspectors and auditors. We have implemented our documentation control framework and we're proud of the results. In the event that a non-medical-device determination is rendered, we, our suppliers, manufacturing partners, and customers will still benefit from the framework thanks to the added accountability and traceability it provides; we'll be better able to refine our products and build our production capacity while maintaining an integrated focus across the business.
Proper governance is key for a reputable study. We are looking forward to upcoming review board activity and we've completed initial statistical power studies. Despite the difficulty of projecting cross-disciplinary activity, we anticipate results analysis to commence in early 2014 following clinical activity. Even thus far, the undertaking has been effort intensive, but our company and our customers stand to benefit from the results.
To say that things we have been interesting in recent weeks would be an understatement. More to come, obviously.
Best regards and thanks for bearing with such a latent update.
I'm pleased to announce that we conducted our first press release this morning.
At 9:37am EDT today, PRNewswire announced go live of the Snuggle Helper™ by Infant Guard, LLC. The announcement went to a wide variety of newsfeeds: Large general ones and small, industry-specific ones. At some point this week, we'll also enjoy calling for the fleeting attention of people in NYC's Times Square, when our company presence will be shared via the Reuters news screen during a high traffic period (Is Times Square ever not in a high traffic period?).
It's important to announce product availability. The concept holds true for items ranging from sports cars to spatulas. Throughout recorded history, sales wizards have concocted secret mixes of business acumen, hard work, technology, psychology, and countless intangibles to influence fully occupied, often distracted consumers in pursuit of the next big thing.
The same largely holds true today. In our information-driven society, however, information travels at lightning speed. The speed at which a written message can pass through the hands of its creator to the eyes of a reader a continent away can be measured in milliseconds. That capability provides us with blessings unimaginable to our grandparents during their heyday. The ability to communicate at the touch
of a button may also raise an intimidating specter for many with news to share. Am I ready? Will I appear insightful? Are the listeners ready? Will they listen? The questions tumble endlessly inside one's skull.
I surmise that few things are less deflating than to share insight and have it fall upon deaf ears. After some reflection, I may understand to a small degree the plight of a soapbox orator in a city park. Even if the speaker's message is inflammatory, I suspect he or she may be less intimidated by hostility than by an apathetic audience. At least with a hostile reaction, a speaker knows someone
listened, even if their message was misinterpreted.
So starts the wondering. Am I ready? Will I appear insightful? Are the listeners
ready? Will they listen? Time will tell. And in today's optical-fiber-fueled world, that determination won't take long either.
In the meantime, I still know that this product will make a difference. We'll get the message out. One human-readable word at a time.
Thanks and best regards.
Thanks to our friends, new and old, for your support and well wishes during our recent go live. A few quick sentiments as we step forward...
We're a new business with a new class of product that hasn't been seen before. I'll be working diligently with business partners to broach the sometimes controversial topic of infant falls, and to introduce a physical solution for it. I'll also be attempting to affect recent healthcare practices a bit by introducing an approach based on something other than modified work tasks for hospital staff RNs and patient care technicians.
It's vital to note that efforts undertaken by maternal exhaustion researchers to address infant falls have been highly admirable, and effective to a significant extent. However, asking a staff RN to ensure that Patient X, a mom, isn't becoming drowsy with her infant in her arms as the same RN simultaneously juggles with an emergent scenario for Patients Y and Z several rooms away, still isn't an ideal solution. I look forward to this challenge, and I thank everyone who's rendered support as I've ventured wide-eyed into this incredible problem space.
One may ask how I, an engineering manager and former military law enforcement guy with no healthcare background, can derive the audacity to step into such an unfamiliar set of environs. As I've built my perspective, I've noted some not-so-intuitive similarities between the staff RNs and my days in the military. My military police colleagues and I used to venture forward into the night, armed and ready to confront a variety of challenges. It turns out that RNs do the same thing. However, instead of deadly side arms, they're armed with impressive educations, a dizzying array of technology, and the very human aspect of truly caring for their patients using their best and biggest weapon: Compassion. This is the aspect of the solution space that motivates me to help.
I feel blessed with the chance to use knowledge gained over many decades to assist others, who through their own internal drive and professional compassion, strive to make a difference. I proffer that opportunities don't get much better than this.
Thanks again for your well wishes and support.