After launching our wear testing program in April, I realized that needed to eat my own dog food and practice being a wear tester on the MESH01 platform. I decided to enter myself into as many of the wear tests we run as I could. I wanted to make sure that the system I built was working well and all parties involved (i.e. MESH01, wear testers and brands) are getting value out of the process.
MINT Denim Color Bleeding Test
Going into this test, I had never thought about the need for a spray to prevent blue jeans from bleeding when you put them in the wash. As soon as I started following the instructions to try out the spray, however, I was totally into it. It was cool to think that my evaluation of this product would have a direct and immediate impact.
I ended up spending quite a bit of time really thinking through what works and what doesn’t work for the product. I oddly felt a small bit of pressure to come up with some insightful idea that would help spread the use of the product. When the test was over I felt a true sense of accomplishment. It seemed like I was able to come up with feedback that would truly help MINT.
Olympia Cycling Glove Test
I was really psyched going into this wear test because it was a great excuse for me to dust off my bike and do some riding. I only have a mountain bike, but I brought it to our local bike shop, Papa Wheelies (love that name), a week before the test to get new a tune up and new road tires. The MESH01 CEO, Brian Bednarek, decided to join in on the fun and we spent the first couple week of the wear test exploring Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
I have to say that after 6 months of coding for 8 – 12 hours a day it was really awesome to spend an hour in the middle of the day biking through a beautiful area of the country. We are still in the middle of this wear test, but my favorite memory so far was one day last week when it was about 95 degrees outside and I decided to see how the gloves perform in really hot weather. As you would imagine, it was not too much fun at first. It felt like a sauna and I almost turned around after 10 minutes. Thank goodness I didn’t. A couple of miles later I crested the final hill before the Rye Beach. A cool, refreshing ocean breeze gently washed over me. My tension and discomfort immediately went away and for the next 30 minutes or so I explored the gorgeous Portsmouth coastline enjoying what had suddenly become the perfect day.
Footwear Wear Test
We started the Footwear Wear Test as a means of getting more people familiar with the MESH01 wear test platform. Wear testers could choose any footwear they own and simply use MESH01 to record feedback for the performance of the chosen shoes over the course of a month. I decided to buy a new pair of ASICS GEL-Nimbus® 13 Size 10 D from Zappos and use them for the Footwear Wear Test. Things were going great for first couple runs until I started getting some ankle pain.
To be fair to Asics, I have extreme flat feet and my issues likely started before I got the shoes. In fact, my ankle pain was likely more due to the fact that I went from sitting behind my desk pounding away at the keyboard all day to suddenly becoming much more active with all the various wear tests.
The cool thing I realized, though, is that I could use the MESH01 activity logs to help me figure out in the future where injuries like this may come from. If I had actually been recording all my activity for the past 6 months, the system would have likely been able to show how the spike in my activity coincided with the appearance of ankle pain. The system needs a couple tweaks in order to allow people to use it in this way, but I added the idea to as a high priority item on our backlog.
I think I am pretty good at taking a set of business requirements and translating them to technical specifications regardless of my background in the business. In general, however, the quality of a software product goes up dramatically when a developer of a system can also act as a business owner. Not only has it been great to test my own system these past couple months, but I feel like I have a much better understanding of wear testing in general and I do think more now from the perspective of the wear tester and the brand instead of simply looking at things from a technical point of view. My only problem now is that I am finding it hard to sleep at night because I can’t stop thinking about ways to make wear testing a more awesome experience for tester and more valuable for brands.
Join the MESH01 Wear Test Community
There are a number of great wear tests are coming up shortly on MESH01 starting with a couple for Timberland (a Lightweight Waterproof Hiker and a Minalmist Multi Sport Shoe). If you are interested in learning more about MESH01 wear testing, you should register on MESH01 and then sign up for the Footwear Wear Test. You can Live Chat with us during normal business hours if you have any questions.