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Caring HandsI was recently chatting with a friend of mine on facebook and I asked her what it was like to be the caregiver for her mother after her father died. She told me that, because of the physical distance, most of that fell to her sister, Gail. She very kindly reintroduced me to her sister and, again on facebook, I chatted with her.

The first principle that Gail told me a caregiver might need survive is the mindset that “It is what it is-”. “There may not be a cause, there may not be a cure, and there may not be any control over the PROBLEM.” As I pondered that I realized she probably was right. First, you need to care. Second, you have to show up and be there for the person. And third, you don’t get paralysed by the circumstances but find ways to listen, hear what their needs are, and do something. It really is not about fixing a problem.

Kids in the lab.

When designing the testing for an app like Curi™ it is important to look beyond functional testing and performance, and understand how the user will interact with the app, especially under stress. Everything about Curi™ is focused on giving the user useful actionable information so that they can execute tasks on time. What I wanted to learn, however, was what would users do if they were in a position where, even though they had the information they needed, they simply could not perform a task at a given moment. Were we going to find unintended consequences if we put people in ‘no win’ situations?

Enthusiastic crowd.

Almost two years ago the Semafores team took a hard look at crowdfunding. We looked at the options for crowdfunding platforms and at the time and effort we would have to spend on the crowdfunding campaign to make it a success. We also considered the likely results. It was clear that it would take considerable effort to organize and run any crowdfunding campaign. It also looked like we were unlikely to raise more than a few thousand dollars. That didn’t seem like nearly enough payoff for the work we would have to put into it, given that eventually we will need much more than a few thousand dollars of funding to make Semafores a success. We put the idea of crowdfunding on the shelf and moved on to other work that we hoped would move us closer to our goal of getting Curi™ into the hands of family caregivers who need it.

Recently we’ve given crowdfunding another look. This time we’ve decided we need to go ahead and launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. These are the reasons why…