Greetings. . . from a "newGuy"
My name is Bob but I'm known as the "HeadJerk". I invented and market a product called the JerkStopper
. Technically it's a CRD (Cable Retention Device) designed to utilize any existing port (USB, RJ11 or RJ45) on a laptop computer as a stay or restraint to keep the very fragile AC power connector from being damaged from day to day tugging and pulling and jerking on the power cord.
My story starts a few years ago when my Sony laptop died a painful death (motherboard), my wife, having just procured a new Fujitsu Tablet PC, gave me her older Fujitsu laptop.
Nice laptop but like so many laptops, it had some issues. . . like charging intermittently or not at all and other problems that I finally identified as AC power plug related. After some research I decided to that the minimum $250 (OUCH) that Fujitsu and others would have charged me to repair or replace the connector was exorbitant.
WARNING: I decided to try and fix the problem myself. Laptop repair isn't really something that I would recommend to just anybody. It was pretty darn intimidating the first time I disassembled the offending system. Not only wasn't I sure I could fix it, It looked real easy to a. break "stuff" and b. get things put back together wrong. Slowly but surely I managed to get it un-assembled and find the damaged part .
The culprit was a poorly designed, easily breakable AC power plug connector (a tiny connector that is soldered to the back of the motherboard) . Long story short, after successfully repairing the system I realized that the daily jerking or pulling on the power cable had caused the problem in the first place. In searching for a "fix" I realized that almost every laptop made either has this problem or runs the risk of having this problem.
So I went to my local computer store(s) looking for a "device" that would take the strain off the plug if it were jerked by accident. No luck. . . . Likewise "looking" on the web, hardware stores, specialty computer stores, etc.
Sooooo, since I couldn't find anything on the market designed to "solve that problem" I went home and "cobbled" up a "thingy" to provide the required strain relief for the power cord. In fact I made 3 or 4 different versions for our laptops. I just couldn't believe that someone hadn't already identified this problem and solved it but after months of searching I realized that nobody made what I wanted.
My wife convinced me to draw up some plans based on the different test units and get off my butt and see a patent attorney. Then it was accurate drawings, prototypes and some ideas as to what it was going to take to produce and market the units. The product we offer is as a result of my wife's patience, a wad of money and lots and lots of testing and many months of me learning how to produce and go to market with a "new product".
The initial introduction of the product on the web (with some help from Engadget, Leo LaPorte, Chris Pirilllo, GizMag and many others) was excellent. Sales have been steady. With over 50 million laptop computers sold last year, the potential customer base is monsterous so now we are looking for advertising capitol to produce some 60 sec spots for TV.
Everybody that has seen the product has the same reaction...."why didn't I think of that".
Looking forward to your comments good or bad.