Americans are spending an increasing amount of time stuck behind their computers, and that can take a toll on one’s health, from repetitive stress issues to obesity.
Craig Dye wants to fix that problem, and the 53-year-old entrepreneur has invented a new computer workstation that adjusts on the fly, allowing users to move the desk in order to accommodate various positions. The new XTension Desk is currently on its fourth prototype, and Dye said he’s working with ergonomists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and facility managers to develop a workstation for the future.
We caught up with the entrepreneur to learn more about the XTension Desk, which he says adjusts in seconds and can fit 95 percent of the population.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We are developing the most important innovation to the workspace since the cubicle debuted in 1966.”
Inspiration hit us when: “I sat in my office at midnight working ardently on taxes and realized my upper body was craving to get away. The pain dwarfed the pain of taxes! I realized that there were more people than just me looking for the ideal way to create using the PC.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: We created ‘vertical crowdfunding’. Friends, family and angels at first. Then the downturn hit and I decided to bootstrap. Since we needed a certain amount of cash to complete development, and my network was largely tapped, I had to create a way to raise the funds. It occurred to me that businesses have historically partnered with their customers to develop next-generation designs. That’s where the idea came to offer pre-orders to healthcare professionals who might then resell the units to their patients for a profit. That way, the desk gets quickly into the hands of the people who need it most, the partners who help us launch get rewarded the most, and XTension launches with a built-in customer set.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Transparency. Nobody along the line will help us if they think they are getting scammed; or if they think the desk won’t do what we say it will.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Inventing vertical crowdfunding.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Not inventing vertical crowdfunding sooner.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “For this effort, Jeff Bezos. He recognizes the right distribution vehicles for the particular audience, and innovates from there while also expanding on it by leveraging its strengths. I think Jeff mines a good thing for all its worth.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We already have the next two generations of releases designed. One of them will change the computer work space forever. Until the computer becomes a part of our body, the XTensionDesk will be the healthiest way to link them.”
We are truly unique because: “We are small enough to ask not what is the most profitable desk we can make; but what is the best desk we can make that will offer a comprehensive solution to the wellness problems of repetitive injuries and obesity. The bigger companies are worried about a host of issues that prove The Innovator’s Dilemma. We are offering a unique product in a unique way.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Surviving the economic downturn without cash flow.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Never give up. Sit in a room by yourself and inform your innermost self what you are doing and why. Then, devote your life to that – for now. Even dripping water wears away the hardest rock. Never give up.”
Here’s an overview of the XTension work station: