Similar to many music-lovers, David Barnett often found himself struggling to keep his headphones untangled. After reaching a certain level of frustration, he attached two large buttons onto the back of his phone and used those to wrap his headphones around when not in use. Barnett was made fun of by peers for the bulkiness, so he found a way to make these buttons adjustable and pop in and out, and there was born the PopSocket.
The PopSocket is an expansion that can be placed onto your phone, tablet, or gaming device to be used as a grip, stand, headphone wrapper, or more. You can place one or multiple PopSocket onto your device for multiple uses. The PopSocket started as a phone case with two parallel PopSockets built into the case as a place to wrap cords, then transformed. Now, the PopSocket is widely successful and has won Barnett many entrepreneurship awards.
Barnett created the early PopSocket in 2009, but was unable to fund it with his teacher’s salary until a tragic event occurred. In a terrible accident in 2010, his house caught on fire. The money he later received from insurance he used to invest into Kickstarter, a website where entrepreneurs can post their business ideas to raise money to produce. He posted a comical video of the product and within five short days, Barnett raised $12,000 and the PopSocket has skyrocketed since then.
In Sawyer’s reading, the concepts of problem-finding vs. problem-solving is discussed. Problem-finding is when the creative improvises freely until finding the problem and solution, while problem-solving is knowing the problem and creating a plan to solve it (Sawyer 153). Here, Barnett displays problem-finding in his creative process. He does have a problem, which is characteristic of problem-solving, but does not create a specific plan to solve it. Instead, he randomly places two buttons on the back of his phone and continues to develop the idea until perfecting it. He also uncovers a solution to a problem that he did not know existed. Most buyers of the PopSocket attach just one to their phones and use it as an aide to hold a phone or as a phone stand, not as a headphone cord holder.
Barnett’s tragedy and frustration created a now widely-used product. Through it all, he has had a positive attitude. The PopSocket website is sarcastic and comical, much like his original video posted on Kickstarter. Barnett’s optimism kept him moving and helped create a successful product.