217
7 min 32 sec

Getting Charged Up: Man Creates One Adaptor to Rule Them All

Tired of a road warrior’s tangle of cables and plugs, a Hong-Kong-based entrepreneur makes chargers and adapters truly current.
High Profit International Kickstarter Manufacturing Product

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What It's About

Outlet struggles overseas inspire a Hong Kong executive to create a compact device that would allow him to plug in no matter where he goes.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & Business Savvy
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

OneAdaptr focused on Mac products at first because Apple standardized the MacBook charger connector, setting an easier design target over the myriad types of PC connectors. They also felt that Apple fans adopt new products faster than PC users.

Know your audience and make choices based on what you know! You can't always create something for everyone, so start with what your customers use the most and expand based on what you determine from that initial first run.

Fun Fact

Thank a fellow named Philip F. Labre for designing the third ground prong for electrical plugs in 1928. Before that prong, people could unknowingly create a short in a circuit with an electrical plug, and their body would become the only path from the live wire of the plug to the ground. ZZZZTTT! Labre’s third prong elegantly made an alternative "path of least resistance" so that instead of flowing through you, the electrons flow through the ground prong to the earth.

Notes from Chris

Episode 217

With seven years under his belt as a Product Manager in a company producing power chargers, Michael Ma had the scoop on all things electric. A global traveler who has long taken business and pleasure on the road, he became exasperated with the tangle of cables and adapters he had to stuff into his travel bags, and the peculiar plugs and outlets he encountered in different countries.

Since he also had the moxie to make the one adapter to rule them all, he used a little crowdfunding spark, and his new company, OneAdaptr, plugged in.

In 2015, Michael and OneAdaptr led a successful Kickstarter campaign called TWIST and World Charging Station that offered a MacBook connector, with four USB connections and universal adaptability, all in a single unit. That’s the best kind of power surge!

From the first idea to Kickstarter prototype took between 6-9 months—and that means going from concept to product-definition draft to design, prototyping, and testing until satisfied with the result. They raised over 60,000, which covered tooling and certification costs and the ability to make final adjustments to their designs.

In Michael’s eyes, the worst part of the experience was the stress of hitting product timelines, and in putting in considerable initial investments before knowing if the product concept and execution actually worked. But having made 500K gross profit behind the 200K startup costs seems to have relieved those tensions.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Knowing our hard work is actually helping people solve their day-to-day travel issues—and making some profit at the same time—is the best part of the experience."
—Michael Ma #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau