This past Thursday, I dropped by the event Idea to Market in 5 Months: The Making of the Glif, where I had the pleasure of meeting Tom and Dave, and hearing firsthand how their simple, useful tripod holder/kickstand for the iPhone 4 came into being. As most of us around here already know, the guys designed their initial concept through Shapeways and funded production through one of the most successful raises ever seen on Kickstarter. Since last October, their side business and passion project has continued to grow.
Their talk was inspiring for anyone who wants to make a real-life, physical product. "The financial barriers don't really exist, you can create anything these days," said Tom at one point.
The crowd, many of whom are aspiring product designers themselves, were clamoring for more info about Shapeways. Most couldn't believe that 3D printing was accessible to them or that it was possible for the Glif guys to make initial models at $8 a pop.
Today, Tom and Dave are having a great time running their side business and get to keep a very human connection with their customers. They've been known to overnight a Glif to customers (for 70 bucks) when something's gone wrong with an order. That's something that large-scale iPhone accessory companies could never come close to.
The Glif is so exciting because it supports the idea that we don't have to accept a world where products are pre-made by an anonymous entity. Increasingly, wanting a product, making it yourself, and enjoying it as your own can be the norm. So you think you're working on the next mass-customized product success story? Share in the comments or tell me about it here.