January 22, 2017

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This million dollar idea took a NEW product, and applied OLD technology to it.

It’s the story of a man who gave the Apple iPad the feel of a real book.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Patrick Buckley is a good listener. The 28 year-old heard family and friends say they loved the feel of real books – and just couldn’t imagine switching to an electronic gadget like Apple’s iPad. So Buckley went to work on a product that made holding the iPad feel just like a book.

Fortunately, Buckley trained as a mechanical engineer and saysI wanted to get back to building physical things with my hands.” So he took his idea to TechShop, a chain of workshops with high tech tools that savvy entrepreneurs are taking advantage of.

In four weeks he had a handcrafted book-bound case – a moleskin and bamboo-bound product he calls the Dodo Case – naming it after the unusual bird of that name. Buckley invested four weeks and less than $1,000 in his prototype. Four months later he had sold more than $1 million worth of iPad cases.

Amazingly, he invested less than $500 in marketing – that went to printing and distributing coupons near Apple stores in a half dozen cities. Some of those fell into the hands of bloggers, who spread the word about the DoDo Case to Apple enthusiasts.

Today Buckley’s company makes DoDo cases that protect iPads, iPhones, Blackberry Playbooks, Amazon Kindles, Samsung products, and other brands of tablets and e-readers. The company’s design philosophy is to manufacture things locally and help keep the art of book binding alive, with traditional hand-made bookbinding techniques. That it does, hand crafting all of its products in San Francisco, a city with a rich tradition of printing and book binding.

Patrick Buckley exemplifies a new twist on an axiom featured on our website thinkofthat.net. He’s applying old technology to a new product: The Dodo Case — keeping bookbinding alive in the digital age.

Now why didn’t I think of that?

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