I spent the last week in the Bay Area with some of my classmates from the BYU industrial design program visiting a variety of design consultancies and corporate offices. Silicon Valley is known internationally as the tech center of the world, but would you have considered it a design center? People think of Paris, London, and New York, which all have a great deal of fashion and apparel, but in Silicon Valley, with the number of tech companies and start-ups making physical and digital products, there is a great need for industrial design.
Over the last semester I cannot tell you how many times I have heard different entrepreneurs and businessmen talk about the importance of having good mentors. I feel lucky to have picked up a mentor and friend early on.
I met Brian Probst, the CEO of CruxCase, a few years ago while interning for him as an Industrial Designer. Brian realized as the first iPad was coming out that many users were still going to want the ability to type on a qwerty keyboard, so Brian started Crux. CruxCase provided a bluetooth keyboard case for those users that were trying to replace their laptop with a tablet and still be able to type at a high rate on a tactile keyboard. One of the biggest innovations of his product was a 360 degree hinge that allowed the user to fold the case into a range of orientations from tablet to movie to standard laptop mode.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that I attended a presentation at the University of Utah on “The Value of Design in Business” by Thomas Lockwood of Lockwood Resources. The presentation really resonated with my personal vision and long term goals, so I reached out to Thomas afterward and set up a brief phone interview.
Earlier this semester, Jon Bradshaw of TinyTorch introduced me via email to Diogo Myrrha of Stoneway Capital. Diogo was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me for breakfast this morning.
Diogo has always been an entrepreneur. Growing up in Brazil, he started turning a profit by selling goods he had acquired or imported at a price below Brazil’s market value. When given the opportunity to go to Brigham Young University, Diogo made the jump from Brazil to Provo, Utah. Initially studying business, Diogo switched his major to Economics and never looked back. While a student, he started volunteering as an executive secretary and met Warren Osborn. Warren quickly came to recognize Diogo’s work ethic and potential and invited him join a company he was just starting called BRAVEN. While still a student, Diogo became the 5th person to join the team at BRAVEN. The company experienced explosive growth and in a short time began talks with a potential buyer about acquisition. In a three month period just before Diogo’s graduation, he worked on 700 pages of documents and details that were critical to closing the deal with Incipio.
“If you want to be successful you have to segment the market.”
Darshan Rane and I met each other at a presentation on Design in Business by Thomas Lockwood up at the University of Utah a few weeks ago. A couple of days after crossing paths, I sat down with one of my professors, David Morgan, to discuss my senior thesis project where I am designing a prosthetic for a trans-tibial amputee. David recommended that I reach out to a designer he knows in Salt Lake who works on prosthetics, “His name is Darshan Rane.” I laughed, “It’s a small world in Industrial Design.”
Darshan Rane grew up in India. He received his undergrad in engineering in Bombay, India before coming to the United States to get a Master of Fine Arts in Industrial design from Rochester Institute of Technology(RIT). David Morgan was a professor at RIT at the time and oversaw Darshan’s graduate thesis project. After finishing his graduate program, Darshan worked for Century Martial Arts for a few years while doing some freelance work on the side with a friend.
“I have always been interested in ergonomics and the way products connect to people.”
For my interview this week, Brian Probst recommended I talk to Robbie Reid. Robbie Reid seems to have done it all. After graduating from the University of Michigan in Finance, Robbie went on to be a pro basketball player overseas, become a financial analyst in New York, get a Harvard MBA, and work on Wall Street. Recently, he just launched his own product on www.energyorbz.com.