Entrepreneur of 2018: A Gripping Tale
A letter from our editor previewing the May-June issue and Entrepreneur of 2018
Inventors have always held a special place in American culture, from Thomas Edison to infomercial pitchman Ron Popeil to Harold von Braunhut, whose X Ray Specs and Amazing Sea Monkeys were nothing like they were advertised in the back pages of Boys' Life magazine but were worth a kid's investment of 75 cents or so for the mere possibilities they suggested.
The simplest inventions yield some of the best stories, probably because the products and the creators are relatable. The more technology-driven we become, the harder it becomes a grasp what an innovation involved, even if we appreciate that someone's creation has made our lives better or easier.
That brings us to our Entrepreneur of 2018. David Barnett is a former philosophy professor and lifelong tinkerer who created a collapsible knob that affixes to the back of a smartphone. The gadget serves as a grip, or a "kickstand" to facilitate snapping selfies. As ColoradoBiz Digital Editor Gigi Sukin writes, Barnett launched PopSockets out of his Boulder garage four years ago while still at CU; last year sales of the gadget topped 35 million units.
PopSockets may seem simple to the user, but as you will read, perfecting the design and getting the product to market was an odyssey of trial and error for Barnett and a testament to the inventor's resolve and resourcefulness.
Turning from people to places, Jamie Siebrase brings us up to date on developments surrounding Denver International Airport and the long-held vision for what's been described as another Denver Tech Center – dubbed "Colorado Aerotropois." The vision gained steam with the completion of the light rail line from Union Station in 2016 and Panasonic's investment in "smart city" infrastructure surrounding its hub near DIA. As Siebrase writes, the Aerotropolis concept is taking another step toward reality with the scheduled opening of the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Conference Center in December 2018, and more developments are in the works.
That's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg – within and beyond the pages of ColoradoBiz. I say "beyond" because this issue coincides with our fourth annual Best of Colorado Business Choice companion supplement. This year, readers cast more than 20,000 votes for their preferred service providers and hangouts in more than 80 categories: banks, breakfast spots, web developers, to name a few – oh, and that annual favorite, best place to play hooky. Coincidentally, the same spot was voted best place for team-building. That's Colorado business for you.