Standing up for an idea

Joe Nafziger // Nov 11 // Insights


Standing up for an idea

[This story explains how I turned my homemade standing desk into an actual product that allows you to stand up at your computer. We'll soon see if people like this device, as the Kickstarter campaign launches today. Watch the video to see why you want to avoid “dinosaur parts.” A big thank you to i.d.e.a. for being a generous company who encourages employees to innovate not only for clients, but in our personal lives.]

About four years ago, I saw a photo of a makeshift standing desk made of phone books, cinder blocks and cardboard boxes. Not pretty, but it did the job of allowing its creator to stand at his computer.

I had been working desk jobs for eight years up to that point, and never once thought of getting off my butt. I was inspired.

Reading everything I could about the benefits of being on your feet more, I looked into buying a standing desk. Turned out they were too big and expensive to just "try out.” What if I didn't like standing?

With the help of my uncle, I built a simple pinewood desk that fit me specifically.


After a year of using it at home and in the office, I was hooked. My best friend, Ben, suggested we make them for others who wanted to stand more often. Not having any clue what we were doing, we worked with mechanical engineers, chiropractors and designers to figure out how to create something adjustable, inexpensive and ergonomically correct for every person who used it.

Three years later, we are excited to reveal the Readydesk.


Learning on the fly about how to create and sell a physical product has been fun, frustrating and foreign. Oddly enough, overcoming setbacks feels even better than everyday progress. The whole experience turns into a healthy addiction of seeing how far you can take an idea—an education without the classroom.

Ben and I are receiving strong support in this venture: Coworkers have tested funny-looking prototypes. Friends have volunteered their weekends for photo and video shoots. Allowing this post on their blog is just one of the numerous ways my employer has supported us since the beginning.

It's fun to stand more. You feel alert, my posture is more upright and you can react faster when a coworker announces there are cupcakes in the kitchen.

The change is more than physical, though. You start to see your chair as an obstacle you have to break away from before actually doing something else. When you're standing, you're already ready.

Don’t let The Man keep you sitting down. If you've entertained the idea of standing up more often, please help fund Readydesk. Many funding levels include a desk as a reward, other rewards include a trip to San Diego, a personal video of us destroying an office chair in your honor, and more.

Together, we can win against the evil executives at Big Chair.


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