Mission: Invention

Jake Zien and Jim Johnstone are the inventors of two very different products who share one life-changing association: They’re a part of Quirky. Quirky is an inventor’s best friend. Ben Kaufman founded the company to help ordinary people take new ideas from concept to reality. Quirky’s collaborative platform surfaces the most promising product ideas and shepherds them through the development process, from renderings through prototyping, materials engineering, market testing, manufacturing and branding. Along the way, the Quirky community weighs in on design decisions, and the community members’ suggestions help to refine the product. If an idea makes it through the entire Quirky process and gets produced, each person who contributed to its design gets a cut of sales. Jake tapped Quirky to create Pivot Power, a flexible power strip that can adjust to fit bulky plugs and adapters so no outlet goes unused. Thor is the brainchild of Jim, who envisioned a telescoping double-blade ice scraper that’s designed for use with two hands, so you can get better leverage when you’re attacking stubborn ice. Telling the stories of how original ideas come to life is a core part of Daily Grommet, and we’re big believers in the Quirky mission: to make invention accessible to anyone with a good idea.

Quirky

Winter Collection: Thor and Pivot

Mission: Invention

Jake Zien and Jim Johnstone are the inventors of two very different products who share one life-changing association: They’re a part of Quirky. Quirky is an inventor’s best friend. Ben Kaufman founded the company to help ordinary people take new ideas from concept to reality. Quirky’s collaborative platform surfaces the most promising product ideas and shepherds them through the development process, from renderings through prototyping, materials engineering, market testing, manufacturing and branding. Along the way, the Quirky community weighs in on design decisions, and the community members’ suggestions help to refine the product. If an idea makes it through the entire Quirky process and gets produced, each person who contributed to its design gets a cut of sales. Jake tapped Quirky to create Pivot Power, a flexible power strip that can adjust to fit bulky plugs and adapters so no outlet goes unused. Thor is the brainchild of Jim, who envisioned a telescoping double-blade ice scraper that’s designed for use with two hands, so you can get better leverage when you’re attacking stubborn ice. Telling the stories of how original ideas come to life is a core part of Daily Grommet, and we’re big believers in the Quirky mission: to make invention accessible to anyone with a good idea.

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Ben
    Ben

    Haven’t you ever said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” or “There has to be a better way”? Well here we are, Quirky – a company that gets great ideas out of people’s heads and onto shelves. Today’s Grommet presents new products developed by creative people from around the world from Quirky, the company that makes invention accessible.

    When I was 18 years old, I was lucky enough to have parents who were crazy enough to remortgage their house and let me manufacture a product I had prototyped out of ribbon and wire. Six months later, while innocently riding the subway, I saw someone using my product and felt the best feeling in the world: “Holy sh**! I made that!” Concurrent with the excitement, I realized that I was not unique in the fact that I had ideas... I was unique solely because I was lucky enough to be in a circumstance where I could execute on those ideas. Good ideas should not be left up to luck.

    For the past six years, my team and I have built an amazing platform to make invention something accessible to everyone. To bubble up and execute on good ideas, and not waste a minute on bad ones. To make the world’s best products, with the world’s best critic. All of our products are developed by our community and shared by them. It's pretty awesome!

    Let’s invent together, Ben

  • Chris
    Chris
    1/9/2012 1:06 PM

    Chris from Quirky here. Props to Daily Grommet for the feature. Looking forward to chatting with you all and answering any questions/comments you have! Exciting!

  • jaje626
    jaje626
    1/9/2012 1:17 PM

    Both of these items are made in China. I'd be so much more inclined to purchase both of them if they had been made in the United States of America.

  • Paul
    Paul
    1/9/2012 1:28 PM

    @jaje626: Okay, you can pay $59.95 for the Made-in-USA scraper if you really want to. China is not always a quality issue, but the manufacturer needs to set very stringent specifications so quality does not become an issue. As for price, Americans will never work for the pennies they pay Chinese factory workers. For me to produce the same (same materials, same quality) professional medical equipment in the US would cost no less than 3x as much, which is why I make it in China, even though my designs and specs are all-American. Unfortunately manufacturing in China may lead to copycat products that are inferior. That's a different problem. Eventually we hope that all countries will pay good wages, but then everything will cost more to consumers. Is it really China you're complaining about, or something else? The USA still invents more stuff than anyone else. We just expect to get paid a heck of a lot more than many other countries for the same work.

  • Steve
    Steve
    1/9/2012 2:31 PM

    @Paul: You don't suppose the greedy Americans who expect to be paid a lot more than the Chinese do so because it is impossible to live here on the wages that the Chinese workers earn?

    Blaming these decisions on American workers is a cop out. In my opinion, every capitalist/business who chooses to produce in China should be forced to live there, base their operations and offices there, and give up their US citizenship. You want all the protections afforded by the United States, and all the profits, and are willing to throw the 99% under the bus to do so. Fair enough. Go live there and enjoy their pristene air and water quality.

    If grommet continues to sponsor products subsidized by the Chinese government, they deserve to lose subscribers.

  • Chris
    Chris
    1/9/2012 1:24 PM

    @jaje626 thanks for the comment!

    We're very passionate about helping to keep the US a country that makes great stuff! However, at this stage we're still a growing company just hitting our stride and we have to make decisions that will enable us to exist for many years to come. Right now, this includes overseas manufacturing. We continue to look at options and hope to have a majority, if not all, our products manufactured in the states in the future. We are open to many possibilities and things can certainly change in time.

  • BJ
    BJ
    1/9/2012 1:25 PM

    Cant stand products made in China, their middle class in killing ours!

  • Fail Moore
    Fail Moore
    2/23/2012 1:30 PM

    @BJ: There is no middle class in China yet, just rich owners and poor workers. Much like the US 200 years ago.

  • Beviboo
    Beviboo
    1/9/2012 1:57 PM

    Years ago Japan got the same rap for items made there... eventually that turned a corner and now China has it... give it time and think more in the vein of a global community. Aren't you just a little bit tired and worried about all the prejudices in the world?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    1/9/2012 2:44 PM

    Great conversation regarding the place of manufacture of products. For those who want to support products that are made in the USA we have discovered many wonderful Grommets over the years that can be found here.

    Quirky and their products are also worth supporting for a different reason. They have put together a business model so that anyone can be a part of and benefit from product innovation and bringing new products to market. We believe that the more that we as individuals have a say in what gets manufactured (and at times how and where it is manufactured) that we will be able to shift the balance of power of consumer products. Thank you for stopping by and letting us and Quirky know what is important to you.

  • Dawn E.
    Dawn E.
    1/9/2012 3:12 PM

    More than likely, those posting the 'anti-China products' comments are doing so from an electronic device made in China or some other foreign country. Kudos to Ben and Chris for coming up with some totally cool... Quirky ... products!

  • Chris
    Chris
    1/9/2012 3:31 PM

    @Dawn E.: Thanks, Dawn! We're always looking for awesome products to create that make everyday life easier. The Pivot Power and Thor were submitted to us as mere ideas for an improved version of products already on the market.

    With the Pivot Power, Jake (inventor) was simply tired of having outlets being blocked by bulky adapters so he devised a way to solve this issue and its now one of our most popular items. Jim, who invented the Thor, found that having to use multiple tools to de-ice his windshield was a hassle and hence Thor was born!

  • Sally G
    Sally G
    2/11/2012 11:37 AM

    These look like great products; I have been annoyed by blocked outlets in power strips for some time. As for the “made in China” debate, I saw Warren Buffett say on 60 Minutes some time ago that his Chinese partners are outsourcing manufacturing to Vietnam—where labor is cheaper! This is a global problem that will probably not go away until the lowest-paid labor on the planet is able to organize for better conditions and wages.

    Meanwhile, each person must set his or her own priorities in a very complicated world. Best to all, whatever the individual choice.

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    2/11/2012 1:12 PM

    @Sally G: Thank you for stopping by to share your perspective.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

Quirky

Winter Collection: Thor and Pivot

Mission: Invention

Jake Zien and Jim Johnstone are the inventors of two very different products who share one life-changing association: They’re a part of Quirky.

Quirky is an inventor’s best friend. Ben Kaufman founded the company to help ordinary people take new ideas from concept to reality.

Quirky’s collaborative platform surfaces the most promising product ideas and shepherds them through the development process, from renderings through prototyping, materials engineering, market testing, manufacturing and branding. Along the
way, the Quirky community weighs in on design decisions, and the community members’ suggestions help to refine the product. If an idea makes it through the entire Quirky process and gets produced, each person who contributed to its design gets a cut of sales.

Jake tapped Quirky to create Pivot Power, a flexible power strip that can adjust to fit bulky plugs and adapters so no outlet goes unused. Thor is the brainchild of Jim, who envisioned a telescoping double-blade ice scraper that’s designed for use with two hands, so you can get better leverage when you’re attacking stubborn ice.

Telling the stories of how original ideas come to life is a core part of Daily Grommet, and we’re big believers in the Quirky mission: to make invention accessible to anyone with a good idea.
Read More Read Less
Quirky - Winter Collection
No longer available

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Ben
    Ben

    Haven’t you ever said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” or “There has to be a better way”? Well here we are, Quirky – a company that gets great ideas out of people’s heads and onto shelves. Today’s Grommet presents new products developed by creative people from around the world from Quirky, the company that makes invention accessible.

    When I was 18 years old, I was lucky enough to have parents who were crazy enough to remortgage their house and let me manufacture a product I had prototyped out of ribbon and wire. Six months later, while innocently riding the subway, I saw someone using my product and felt the best feeling in the world: “Holy sh**! I made that!” Concurrent with the excitement, I realized that I was not unique in the fact that I had ideas... I was unique solely because I was lucky enough to be in a circumstance where I could execute on those ideas. Good ideas should not be left up to luck.

    For the past six years, my team and I have built an amazing platform to make invention something accessible to everyone. To bubble up and execute on good ideas, and not waste a minute on bad ones. To make the world’s best products, with the world’s best critic. All of our products are developed by our community and shared by them. It's pretty awesome!

    Let’s invent together, Ben

  • Chris
    Chris
    1/9/2012 1:06 PM

    Chris from Quirky here. Props to Daily Grommet for the feature. Looking forward to chatting with you all and answering any questions/comments you have! Exciting!

  • jaje626
    jaje626
    1/9/2012 1:17 PM

    Both of these items are made in China. I'd be so much more inclined to purchase both of them if they had been made in the United States of America.

  • Paul
    Paul
    1/9/2012 1:28 PM

    @jaje626: Okay, you can pay $59.95 for the Made-in-USA scraper if you really want to. China is not always a quality issue, but the manufacturer needs to set very stringent specifications so quality does not become an issue. As for price, Americans will never work for the pennies they pay Chinese factory workers. For me to produce the same (same materials, same quality) professional medical equipment in the US would cost no less than 3x as much, which is why I make it in China, even though my designs and specs are all-American. Unfortunately manufacturing in China may lead to copycat products that are inferior. That's a different problem. Eventually we hope that all countries will pay good wages, but then everything will cost more to consumers. Is it really China you're complaining about, or something else? The USA still invents more stuff than anyone else. We just expect to get paid a heck of a lot more than many other countries for the same work.

  • Steve
    Steve
    1/9/2012 2:31 PM

    @Paul: You don't suppose the greedy Americans who expect to be paid a lot more than the Chinese do so because it is impossible to live here on the wages that the Chinese workers earn?

    Blaming these decisions on American workers is a cop out. In my opinion, every capitalist/business who chooses to produce in China should be forced to live there, base their operations and offices there, and give up their US citizenship. You want all the protections afforded by the United States, and all the profits, and are willing to throw the 99% under the bus to do so. Fair enough. Go live there and enjoy their pristene air and water quality.

    If grommet continues to sponsor products subsidized by the Chinese government, they deserve to lose subscribers.

  • Chris
    Chris
    1/9/2012 1:24 PM

    @jaje626 thanks for the comment!

    We're very passionate about helping to keep the US a country that makes great stuff! However, at this stage we're still a growing company just hitting our stride and we have to make decisions that will enable us to exist for many years to come. Right now, this includes overseas manufacturing. We continue to look at options and hope to have a majority, if not all, our products manufactured in the states in the future. We are open to many possibilities and things can certainly change in time.

  • BJ
    BJ
    1/9/2012 1:25 PM

    Cant stand products made in China, their middle class in killing ours!

  • Fail Moore
    Fail Moore
    2/23/2012 1:30 PM

    @BJ: There is no middle class in China yet, just rich owners and poor workers. Much like the US 200 years ago.

  • Beviboo
    Beviboo
    1/9/2012 1:57 PM

    Years ago Japan got the same rap for items made there... eventually that turned a corner and now China has it... give it time and think more in the vein of a global community. Aren't you just a little bit tired and worried about all the prejudices in the world?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    1/9/2012 2:44 PM

    Great conversation regarding the place of manufacture of products. For those who want to support products that are made in the USA we have discovered many wonderful Grommets over the years that can be found here.

    Quirky and their products are also worth supporting for a different reason. They have put together a business model so that anyone can be a part of and benefit from product innovation and bringing new products to market. We believe that the more that we as individuals have a say in what gets manufactured (and at times how and where it is manufactured) that we will be able to shift the balance of power of consumer products. Thank you for stopping by and letting us and Quirky know what is important to you.

  • Dawn E.
    Dawn E.
    1/9/2012 3:12 PM

    More than likely, those posting the 'anti-China products' comments are doing so from an electronic device made in China or some other foreign country. Kudos to Ben and Chris for coming up with some totally cool... Quirky ... products!

  • Chris
    Chris
    1/9/2012 3:31 PM

    @Dawn E.: Thanks, Dawn! We're always looking for awesome products to create that make everyday life easier. The Pivot Power and Thor were submitted to us as mere ideas for an improved version of products already on the market.

    With the Pivot Power, Jake (inventor) was simply tired of having outlets being blocked by bulky adapters so he devised a way to solve this issue and its now one of our most popular items. Jim, who invented the Thor, found that having to use multiple tools to de-ice his windshield was a hassle and hence Thor was born!

  • Sally G
    Sally G
    2/11/2012 11:37 AM

    These look like great products; I have been annoyed by blocked outlets in power strips for some time. As for the “made in China” debate, I saw Warren Buffett say on 60 Minutes some time ago that his Chinese partners are outsourcing manufacturing to Vietnam—where labor is cheaper! This is a global problem that will probably not go away until the lowest-paid labor on the planet is able to organize for better conditions and wages.

    Meanwhile, each person must set his or her own priorities in a very complicated world. Best to all, whatever the individual choice.

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    2/11/2012 1:12 PM

    @Sally G: Thank you for stopping by to share your perspective.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.