As we approach the New Age, a thousand portents churn on the horizon. Dogs and cats begin living together. A man has found something he mislaid months before in a place he has already looked. And, as was written in days of old, the Laptop Butler would rise to hold our drinks to our laptops.
But what is the Laptop Butler? It is a drink holder that attaches to your laptop. Why? So you can put your drink near your laptop and not use up your table space. The creators, Jeffrey A. Taylor and William H. Merritt, envision a world in which the Laptop Butler saves you from unwanted spills.
“This project began while my wife and I were visiting our daughter, Amy, and her husband Jeffrey Taylor in Philadelphia. Jeff told me about a problem he was having while commuting between NYC and Philadelphia by train. He had become a ‘professional balancer’ of hot tea and cold beer on his lap and between his feet as he worked on his laptop,” said Merritt. “There was never enough space to hold both his laptop and his beverage. He had searched the internet looking for something that would clamp to his laptop and hold a beverage container but nothing was available. We discussed Jeff’s problem and decided to tackle the project because there were a lot of commuters with the same problem. A potentially huge need was staring us in the face.”
“There are no others players to the best of my knowledge,” he said.
Interestingly, after working on the project themselves and finding a number of unscrupulous manufacturers, the team contacted the Service Corps of Retired Executives who were able to run a study and help find trustworthy manufacturers for the product. A class at USF Manatee-Sarasota College, led by marketing professor Jon Stuart, helped come up with the name and a local manufacturer 3D-printed a prototype. The company also won our TC Radio pitch-off last week.
It’s a heartwarming tale of a dream turning into an idea and then into a product. The Laptop Butler costs $18.95 at a special back-to-school rate and includes free shipping.