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Portable Power for Business Travelers
Choppy and the Board of Directors

Choppy Wicker demonstrates newest fuel cell products to Board of Directors.

Fuel Cell Palm Power
Fuel Cell power in the palm of your hand. · Powers cell and smart phones, GPS, Camera, MP3
· 3x run time vs battery
· Instant refill at low cost
· Environmentally friendly
· Perfect for executive travelers

Fuel Cells and the Art of Mixing Engineering and Marketing

Fuel cell development leading to ever-smaller technology.
Quiet Electrical Power for Mobile Executives

Engineering Company Needed Expert Marketing, Business and Product Development

The Problem
In 2007, a well-known Fuel Cell company was an R&D group with excellent engineers, but they needed help with marketing, finding sales partners, and matching their technology to customers’ needs.

Fractional Ownership of an outside Expert
They contacted us and were intrigued. “You really know your marketing and development stuff, but how do you get along with engineers?” They soon discovered that we not only got along great, but they loved our infectious enthusiasm and team spirit. What started as a 3-month proposed consultation led them to ask for a full-time commitment that ran for almost a year.

What We Did
Our motto is “Aim First – Then Shoot”, so we started by understanding everything there was to learn about the company’s technology, and then analyzing the marketplace. Most of the details of the Intellectual Property are highly proprietary and covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements. But suffice it to say, the company had developed a very sophisticated concept that combined the sciences of electronics, mechanics, and chemistry into a small, handheld power source (see summary at left). It was impressive work, created by a team of talented people, and we soon got to know them very well.

The next step was to see if the world was interested in this, so we created a series of successively more detailed research surveys. First we wrote and conducted nationwide Internet surveys and in-depth focus sessions. We met with leaders in the consumer electronics industry to get their perspectives. We analyzed data and met extensively with our engineering and marketing teams to improve our plans. And from start to finish, we dove in head first to experience life while actually using the product (see photo at CES, left).

On the sales and business development front, we researched hundreds of prospects, made dozens of sales presentations all across the country, managed or worked trade shows, and conducted negotiations with several major national and international sales partners.

What We Accomplished
• Defined the market, its potential, and the critical marketing plan elements needed to achieve success
• Built a strong relationship between engineering and marketing teams that led to a high tech product that matched the needs of the marketplace
• Developed business partnerships with major brand names to market and distribute the new fuel cell product.

See Mobion Fuel Cell on p28 of the June 2011 issue of Popular ScienceWhere Are They Now?
The company is still on track to commercialize the product. (See June, 2011 Popular Science, shown at right.) As an R&D company dependent on outside investors, the parent company was hit hard by the economic downturn of 2008. Substantial cutbacks in staff and budgets were made, but the core team continues on and is making excellent progress. We expect to see the little fuel cell product, complete with the marketing and product improvements we worked on, available soon.

Back to more Portfolio Case Histories!
(Or go forward to Next Page to see how a Small Inventor grows from scratch.)

 

Tokyo Show
Tokyo, Japan; International FC Expo
Choppy, with booth staff, at the Fuel Cell EXPO in Tokyo, 2008. Unlike competitors, we demonstrated a table full of actual working prototypes that were powering a variety of smart phones and other electronic gadgets.


Engineering and Marketing Teamwork Testimonial

"I had the pleasure of working with Charles Wicker (“Choppy”) for nearly a year while he was consulting with us as Director of Market and Business Development. We are a technology driven company working on the development of direct methanol fuel cells for business and consumer use. We have an established team of several dozen expert engineers and scientists, but needed help with the business and marketing aspects of moving our technology into commercial products.

"Choppy hit the ground running and quickly set up interviews with all my key personnel to learn the technology of our electrical, chemical, and mechanical product intricacies. Although he’s primarily a strategic marketer, he worked to learn the unique aspects of our technology and how to leverage that into our product design requirements.

"He then conducted a series of market research surveys, focus sessions, and brainstorming meetings that gave us a far better view of the marketplace than we’d ever had before. He analyzed the results and recommended numerous product improvements and enhancements for our business, marketing, and financial sales plans. On the business development side, he conducted extensive prospecting and trade show activities, bringing several major players to the negotiating table.

"Throughout it all, Choppy was a great team player. He has extensive experience in bringing corporate marketing and engineering groups together. He is always the optimist, he always looks for the upside of any situation and works to move the product forward."

--James Prueitt, VP of Engineering & Operations


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   Inside A Fuel Cell
Fuel Cell Chemistry

Fuel cells turn hydrogen (such as found in liquid methanol, similar to the fluid in your windshield washer) to electricity by passing it across a catylist-coated membrane. Unlike an internal combustion engine, there is no combustion. All you get is electricity, a small amount of heat, and tiny amounts of CO2 and water vapor.

Fuel cells have powered our manned space missions and are being adapted to automobiles and aircraft. They are currently available as power systems for radio towers and some homes and businesses. Soon, you will be able to buy one that fits in the palm of your hand.

Demo at Consumer Electronics Show
Geek at CES
Wow, the biggest show on earth. All kinds of cool gadgets on display. A geek's idea of Heaven!

So, loaded down with camera bag and stuff, there I was, showing off our working fuel cell prototype to hundreds of people. (That's it, clipped to my belt, next to my right hand.)

No other fuel cell company dared to do this -- actually running and recharging all of a Road Warrior's portable electronic gadgets for the whole week, powered just by the fuel cell our great engineers had developed. It impressed people, and gave me a valuable, first-hand user's experience.

 

 
 
Next Step to Profits
(518) 753-9528
cwicker(at)SherwoodFarmGroup(dot)com
 

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