LANTERN—How Observation and Determination Lit the Way

LANTERN. The waterproof, impact-resistant, multifunctional light that mounts to your bike, charges your phone, and lights your way. Behind every great product is a story that shaped it. And like every great story, it all started with an idea.

I wish I had a Eureka! moment to share. I’d sound so much cooler if I had a flashlight die on me in the middle of bear-infested woods. As I stumbled my way around, I’d shake my fist and cry “There has to be a better way!” Stories always seem so much more exciting when a sudden lightbulb goes off (pun intended). The truth, however, is much less dramatic.

 

Architect Turned Inventor

I’m a builder by nature. Creating new things, making old things better, taking stuff apart just to see how it works. As an architect, I’m always looking for ways to make my homes look better, perform better, and provide incredible value.  So when I decided I wanted to foray into the world of inventing, I brought my curiosity and perfectionism along for the ride.

I played around with a few ideas, scratched them all, and went back to the drawing board. Until one day, because I’m an avid camper, I looked at what was available for flashlights and lanterns and thought I can make this better. No bear attack, no dramatic event, no defining “a-ha” moment—just an observation of what was around me and a desire to improve upon it.

Then came the hard work. I starting taking apart products that already existed, to find out what made them tick. Not just other lights but also USB chargers, rechargeable batteries—products that had the various features that I wanted to incorporate into one. I figured out what I liked, what I wanted to change, and how it might all work together. I made prototypes. I fell and failed and fell again. I got up, dusted myself off, and got back to work.

 

Relationships Determine Success

At the core of LANTERN is relationships. From the manufacturing to the marketing, the success of the product is directly correlated to the strong network around me. I found people that shared in my excitement and who had the right skills to help me get it off the ground. People willing to take that leap of faith, work with me, and share in its success. We collaborated, compromised, and celebrated. Until, eventually, we had a high-quality, thoughtfully designed light that we were proud of. A light that was the result of blood, sweat, tears, and hours upon hours of relentless determination.

 

Grit and Determination

No, there is no one moment that defines LANTERN. No life-changing event. There was just me, hungry to make things easier, trying out idea after idea, and refusing to give up. And actually, I think that’s better. Because the truth is that most great inventions don’t start out with some cinematic, pivotal moment. Instead, they’re the result of undeniable grit and determination. From failing and falling, and getting back up. From knowing you want to make a difference, and working hard until you get there. From surrounding yourself with the network you need to see your idea through. Change doesn’t come by waiting around for something brilliant to smack you in the face—so get out there and get started.