Sean Yepez

  • Your educational background
    • Earned Bachelors degree in Finance at Santa Clara University
    • Cleared three exam levels and became Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder
    • Exploring degree programs in Engineering at Stanford

  • Any industry experience
    • Working in Product Development at Rivian Automotive. I evaluate the economics (investment, payback period) of electric vehicle programs. I previously worked at Tesla analyzing costs of IT hardware (i.e. datacenters) & enterprise software. I got into Tesla initially by starting their Treasury department. They hired me to leverage the expertise I gained at Intel Corp, managing their investments, bank accounts, and mergers and acquisitions.
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    • Personally, I’m rehabilitating and managing residential properties in the SF Bay Area. I focus on older buildings in neighborhoods with low crime rates and good public schools. These characteristics increase occupancy rates, allowing mindspace to move on to next projects. Hoping to expand to new construction implementing sustainable design and construction principles.

  • Why you're interested in this course

I aspire to apply principles of sustainable design to manufacturing electric vehicles, vehicle-to-home chargers, and to building construction.

  • Your goals for the course

I hope to gain context from instructors experienced in field, network among motivated peers, and gain the principles needed to eliminate waste and improve economics of products that I build in the future.

  • Observe others, interview them, and try to understand the challenges and opportunities to improve their sustainable behaviors in their day-to-day activities in the area you’ve chosen.
  • Meet with your studio colleagues to compare notes about what you’ve found and discuss common themes that you’ve observed or noted in interviewing others about their needs.
  • Create 3 different Composite Character Profiles that capture the essential characteristics of specific subsets of the people that you’ve observed or interviewed -- especially the characteristics that help you define and understand their specific needs.
  • Use your Composite Character Profiles to define 2 to 3 potential Point of View (POV) statements for each character - reframing a design challenge into an actionable problem statement that will launch you into generative ideation.
    • Your POV statements should have the form:
    • [USER] needs to [USER’S NEED] because [SURPRISING INSIGHT]

  • Define your Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
    • “A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the smallest thing you can build that delivers customer value (and as a bonus captures some of that value back)”.
    • This article provides several good tips for identifying your MVP.
  • Ideate about potential ways to meet the needs identified
  • Brainstorm about potential solution alternatives:
    • Thinking broadly to uncover alternative approaches to address the needs identified in your POV statements.
    • Grouping and focusing to synergize the most promise ideas.
  • Identify Your Initial Area of Focus
    • What aspect of sustainability would you like to focus on for this first project?
  • Plan the essential features of a first functional prototype that will help you get feedback to improve and enhance your product idea.
    • Focus on prototyping the user interaction and the essential functionality of your product.
    • Your prototypes don’t have to be super fancy or high tech as long as you can mock up the essential functionality in a way that allows other to test your design.
    • Be mindful of what you will be testing with this prototype.
  • Develop your prototype based on your testing plan.
    • Does your prototype give you the opportunity to test the features that you’d like feedback on?
    • Can you find a way to test alternatives -- what works better -- versus a single approach -- yes or no.
    • Plan the essential features of a first functional prototype that will help you get feedback to improve and enhance your product idea.
  • Develop a testing plan.
    • Sometimes features that are obvious for the designer are not so obvious to users. Decide what you will be testing for -- what feedback will be most helpful:
      • User experience
      • Feature discoverability
      • Effectiveness
    • Plan your testing to provide feedback on how to improve your design as you see how people use and interact with the prototype.
    • Outline your testing protocol:
      • Who will do what?
      • What will users see?
      • What will you ask?
  • Test your first prototypes using your testing protocol.