EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists



  1. Read: Product/Market Fit
  2. Read: CaseWiki Instructions
  3. Review SoundHawk website
  4. Read: Soundhawk Case


The objective of the CaseWiki is for students to experience the process of structuring and researching a case related to a current business problem and participate in a conversation involving real-time issues facing corporations. Complete instructions are available on the CaseWiki Instructions page.

Case Summary

People are losing their sensitivity to sound at an unprecedented rate. Over 600M people globally suffer from a decline in their hearing ability but are unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

The traditional solution to hearing loss has been a hearing aid. However, hearing aids are expensive ($3000+), require a complex distribution path through a 3-tier channel system and carry with them a significant stigma of old age and physical decline. As a result of these significant barriers to adoption, the penetration rate of hearing aids has remained flat over the past 30 years.

SoundHawk is a medical technology company which was founded by Dr.. Rodney Perkins, a Professor of Surgery at Stanford, the founder of California Ear Institute at Stanford and one of the world’s most successful medical device entrepreneurs. The company is led by Michael Kisch, an experienced business leader with management and marketing experience at Cisco, Kraft Foods and Spectrum brands creating new categories and positioning businesses for mainstream success. Management of SoundHawk is facing marketing and product opportunities as it brings its new product to consumers:

Management of SoundHawk is trying to use its innovative vision, speed to market, unique domain expertise, proprietary technology, a unique channel and a differentiated consumer value proposition to become the dominant player in a new market category.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is market opportunity for Soundhawk and how is SoundHawk disruptive?
  2. Describe the Soudhawk use case
    1. What problem does Soundhawk solve and for who?
    2. How can a customer know “this product is for me?”
    3. How can Soundhawk maximize customer satisfaction?
  3. How big a threat is the competition and how would you address it?
  4. Soundhawk is launching its product. What challenges might it face and how would you address them?
  5. What do you think will be the basis of competition in the future?
  6. What are your recomendations for Mike Kisch and his team?