We all heard about the possibilities the internet gives us. Power to the people, right? Well the story of the Glif is a perfect example of this.
Two guys, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost came up with an idea for an iPhone 4 tripod mount. The final result does a little bit more that just being a tripod mount but you can judge that for yourself.
The basic thing that struck me was how they used the means at hand to it’s full capacity. They had an idea, worked it out as a computer model with free software (beta version of Rhinoceros 3D for Mac).
The model was sent to Shapeways in the Netherlands. Shapeways “printed” the 3D prototype and shipped it to New York. This process continues until the prototype was ready.
With a completed prototype they turned to Protomold, a manufacturing company, for an estimation of the cost and the number of products to break even in the manufacturing costs.
They did not got to a bank for the $10,000 they needed. Instead they turned to Kickstarter. Kickstarter provides means to get a creative idea funded without risk for either party. It's all-or-nothing funding via crowdsourcing. To participate in the Glif project you donate your money and depending on the amount you donate you will get an honorable mention, the product when it's fully funded or a 3D prototype. So for the two designers this meant that they would get funding and customers.
They needed $10,000 but the last time I checked they already collected $98,000.
This project might be exceptional but it does show how far you can get nowadays with a good idea and some ingenuity. You do not need the manpower just be inventive!