Tuesday, April 11, 2017

PopSocket: The Attachment You Never Knew You Needed

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. 


  1. I think this product is helpful especially with how often we use corded headphones with our phones. A daily commute to work and you can see that nearly 100% of commuters are using headphones. I like how the product has a variety of uses, it makes it versatile.Those who have no need for headphones can use it as a stand, a purpose which it fulfills equally well. It is interesting how he never gave up on his creative product, even when financial issues arose. Instead, his dedication combined with a bit of serendipity resulted in the funding of his product.

  2. Admittedly, I originally thought this object was a carpal tunnel fix. Either way, they are commercially brilliant, in that the patterns are on trend and marketed to young people as a tech accessory and adults as a convenience. My interpretation of this trend is that, while it does keep my headphones untangled, it also gets stuck in my pocket. Putting my objections aside, this product is a creative solution that manipulates the saturated tech accessory market with multiuse creation.

  3. My first experience with this product was with my younger sister who told me she wanted to get one for Christmas. I had never heard of it before and after seeing it I thought it wasn't much of anything. However, after seeing the many different uses my sister uses for it and trying it for myself a little, I see why there is such a hype. It's extremely convenient and barely noticeable on the back of a phone. The different designs and patterns it comes in is great as well because it allows people to personalize it and find what best represents them. A question I have is whether this is something that is just a short-term craze or something people will continue to buy in the long run?


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