Thomas Edison famously observed, "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." Sometimes, perspiration is even the genesis of that inspiration.
In 2014 a sweaty Mark Jenner arrived late to meet his friend Tom Putnam after getting lost cycling through the circuitous streets of London, England. He was hot, frustrated, and determined to figure out a better approach to bike navigation. This led the two of them to go to work on BeeLine, a handlebar-mounted gadget that eschews traditional turn-by-turn directions in favor of a simple, compass-like arrow that points to a destination, giving riders the freedom to explore and set their own routes.
Now that BeeLine is out in the world and garnering rave reviews from the likes of Wired, the Guardian, and Engadget, we asked Tom and Mark to reflect on their journey and the many people who helped them along the way. There were engineers and designers who refined their initial prototypes into a functional, beautiful device; production partners who guided them through their first manufacturing experience; and more than 3,000 backers who supported their Kickstarter campaign, providing the financial resources and collective vote of confidence they needed to move forward.
"We made some good human connections with the backers," Mark notes. They even hired their current CTO, Chet, after first meeting him as a backer of the campaign. (Chet's job is just one of an estimated 29,600 new full-time creative careers Kickstarter projects have created, according to a report last year from the University of Pennsylvania.)
Check out the video above to learn more about how these two friends found their way to success with a clever idea, some hard work, and a lot of helping hands.
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