David Barnett is the founder and CEO of PopSockets LLC. He was a philosophy major at Emory, a physics major at University of Colorado Boulder, received his PhD in philosophy from NYU, and from 2005-2015 was a philosophy professor at University of Colorado Boulder. His research specialized in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind – that is, before he reached enlightenment, stopped doing philosophy, and became an entrepreneur.
In 2010, Barnett was looking for a way to stop his earbud cord from getting tangled, and he achieved this by gluing two buttons to the back of his phone and wrapping the earbud cord around the buttons. As ugly as the buttons were, they worked. In the course of improving on the idea, he developed about 60 different prototypes, making the buttons expand and collapse via an accordion mechanism, so that they could function as both a stand and a grip. In 2012, Barnett launched a KickStarter campaign for an iPhone case that would have two PopSockets grips integrated into the case. In addition to getting successfully funded, the KickStarter campaign enabled Barnett to show the world his dancing prowess. Two years later, in 2014, Barnett launched the business out of his garage in Boulder, Colorado, and has subsequently sold over 50 million PopSockets grips around the world.