Picture of David Barnett and an image of his invention, PopSockets

Doing Good is Good Business for PopSockets

Picture of David Barnett and an image of his invention, PopSockets

David Barnett, the founder of PopSockets, shares how he turned his idea into a fast-growing business and why doing good is good business.

Brought to you by, plenty of money for life.

On The BIGG Success Show, we were joined by David Barnett. David is a philosophy professor turned entrepreneur and founder of PopSockets. Here’s a summary of that discussion…

What did philosophy teach you about business?

David said it taught him how to solve problems.

Where did the idea for PopSockets come from?

David was motivated by his frustration with his earbuds, back when they had cords. His cords were always tangled when he took them out of his pocket.

So one day, he’d had enough. He went to the local JOANN Fabrics & Crafts store. He put a couple of giant clothing buttons on the back of his iPhone 3, so he could wrap his headset around them. The two buttons covered the back of his little iPhone 3.

So, David says, he sold his tangled cord problem. But now he had a new problem: It looked ridiculous. And it didn’t have much further functionality. He started tinkering with ways to solve these two problems.

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At what point did it go from solving a personal problem to realizing you had something to market?

David says he was walking across campus. There were some seventh-grade students there for some reason. When they saw the large buttons on the back of his phone, their jaws dropped, and their eyes went into a zombie state.

They asked, “Where can we get these?”

David remembers thinking, “I could actually sell these.”

This was an important part of his journey. His family and friends had made sure he knew they thought his idea was stupid.

Even once it was perfected and ready for market, people who saw his design would laugh. They told him it was the dumbest thing they had ever seen. And they added: “Nobody’s gonna ever buy that.”

But the experience with the kids gave him confidence to keep moving forward.

How many prototypes did it take to perfect the product?

David says he went through about 60 rounds of prototypes.

Want to hear about the prototyping process David followed? Would you like to know why (and how) he taught himself computer-aided design (CAD) with no previous experience? Listen to the podcast by clicking the PLAY button above.

How much money did you need and where did it come from?

He invested several hundred dollars pre-launch. He invested about $800,000 in total.

Half of that money was his. He invested all of his savings from his years as a philosophy professor. In addition, he was “fortunate” that his home burned down. He hastens to add that he didn’t start the fire. His house was in the path of a forest fire. Rather than replacing all the contents, he invested a portion of the insurance settlement into his business.

He raised the other half from individual investors. They were people in that he would “meet around town.”

Note that none of the money came from institutions. David says they shouldn’t have invested, given he had no record or expertise.

Once you launched, it seems like things just took off. How did it feel to see celebrities with PopSockets and to see yourself trending on Instagram?

David says the first two years (2014 – 2015) were tough.

He did a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. That yielded some attention.

Then, he launched the business in 2014. He was still a philosophy professor. So PopSockets was a side hustle for a while. And like many successful entrepreneurs, he started the business out of his garage.

They got into retail stores at the end of 2015. Somewhere between 2014 and 2015, the product became popular with Hollywood celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, Gigi Hadid, and Meg Ryan. A long list of celebrities were showing up on Instagram and People magazine with our PopSockets grips in their hands.

David emphasizes that they didn’t pay these celebrities. They didn’t even seek them out deliberately. PopSockets just started spreading. It became a cool thing to have among celebrities.

PopSockets has grown about 800% a year. Want to know how they managed that kind of growth. Just click the PLAY button above to find out.

How is PopSockets doing more good?

From Day 1, David says his plan was to “get rich as hell and use the money to do good”.

When he talked about ethics as a philosophy professor, he would ask his students how much good different activities could do. For example, he would ask them:

“Do you think you should stay in college? Get a degree? Become an investment banker and use the money to save lives? Or do you think you should drop out of college and join the Peace Corps? How are you going to make the biggest impact?”

David continues, “I propose to them that I should quit teaching, start a business, and make millions of dollars. And that’s the way I can make the biggest impact.”

He asserts that he had no plans to do this. But now here he is.

And he says he discovered that the people around him also wanted tomake a positive impact. He realized the company had more leverage than he did as an individual.

David created a Department of Do Goods in 2017. He hired a Director of Do Goods. Her sole job was to do good.

They started by partnering with organizations that helped people with mobility issues – from people with chronic arthritis, Parkinson’s, ALS, spinal injuries, brain injuries, people with prosthetic hands, etc. With PopSockets, these people were able to hold their phones better and communicate with their friends and family in a way they couldn’t before.

Next, they decided they could make a greater impact by letting their community choose who gets the money from a sale. So now, you can go to their website, design your own grip, upload that design, and tag a 501(c)3 of your choice. PopSockets will donate half of the SALE price (not the profit) to that non-profit.

Now Target, T-Mobile and other retailers are getting on board. Part of the sale in their store – David thinks it’s a third – goes to a charity chosen by their retail partner.

So their idea evolved from picking causes to supporting causes their community wants to get behind. They call it Poptivism.

They have already given away nearly $400,000 through this program. And they’ve donated over $2 million in cash and product to worthy causes.

It just reinforces that doing good is good business. That truly is BIGG success!

Lessons Learned

– You don’t need a business degree to succeed as an entrepreneur.

– Do you have an unsolved problem? There may be a market for it.

– Side hustles can become BIGG business.

– Try to make do with your garage, basement, or a spare room (or part of a spare room) as your first piece of corporate real estate.

– Look for opportunities to do more good as you do more business and make more money.

Here’s to your BIGG success!

George “The Professor” & Mary-Lynn
signatures: George & Mary-Lynn
Co-Founders, BIGG Success

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:

Save Money by Sharing

sharing.jpgOur parents taught us to share. It was part of being a good little boy or girl. The economy is reminding us adults about the value of sharing.



Home for Sharing

For example, some people are now sharing living space. More and more people are accepting the idea of having a roommate again by renting out a room to help pay bills.

There are a number of people who are out-of-work and looking to save money every way they can. “Necessity is the mother of invention” as we’ve heard.


Another popular idea is sharing workspace. Freelancers across the country are creating co-working stations in their communities where they can share office facilities and other resources.

Instead of going it alone – signing a long-term lease, paying utility bills, buying office furnishings and equipment – they pay a fee and share space with other freelancers and entrepreneurs.

The spaces are usually nice and bright. They have a conference room and maybe even a full-time receptionist.

It’s not just about money. For freelancers who are starting to feel like loners, it gives them a chance for in-person human interaction during the day.

Sharing infrequently-used items

We started thinking about other ways to share. One example is a lawn mower. We only use our mowers once or twice a week. In our area of the world, we only use it for about half of the year. Would it make sense to share a mower with a neighbor?

As long as both people don’t feel the need to mow on the same day at the same time, it would probably work. There are issues – you have to both agree to take care of the mower and those sorts of things.


georgeThis makes me think of my dad. If he owned something, he took really good care of it. If he used something that someone else owned, he took really, really, really good care of it!


Sharing for fun


marylynnI had an event coming up and I didn’t know when I would find time to go shopping. I told one of my girlfriends about it. She said that she had the perfect dress. We went over to her house and, sure enough, she did!



georgeI needed a pressure washer to do some clean up around the house. I told one of my friends that I needed to go rent one. It turned out that he had one that he let me use for the weekend.


Just so we don’t give the wrong impression, we also share our stuff with our friends!

A fun way to share

Since we like to do everything in a bigg way, let’s ramp up this idea of sharing more. Why not organize an event with a group of your closest friends?

Hop from house to house. If you want, you can have appetizers or organize a full meal as part of the activities. You can do it all in one day or create a series – this month at our house, next month at yours.

At each house, let the host show off the wares that he or she is willing to share.

It could be a Fashion Show – from clothes to accessories. Try them on if you want. Parade around. Show them off.

Or a Home Show … from power tools to hand tools. Test them out. Complete a project together. It’s your show; do what you want.

You could have a Home Entertainment Show. Show off DVDs, books and Wii accessories.

You can all see what each person in your group has to share. Then the next time you need that certain something, you won’t have to go out and buy it – you’ll know Joe or Jane has it.

This is a fun way to spend some time with your close friends. You’ll find that it will spark a lot of fun conversation and you’ll learn more about each other.

It’s also a creative way to save some money by pooling resources. That’s a bigg idea!

What have you shared with your friends?

Please share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at

We thank you so much for sharing some of your valuable time with us today!


Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!


Recent research shows that, even before the recent decline in stocks and homes, the rich weren’t getting richer. Please join us next time when we discuss why.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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What is Bigg Success?

life on your own terms When you study anything, it’s important to understand the definitions. So today, we’re happy to announce that we have refined the definition for bigg success:



Bigg success is life on your own terms.


marylynnI just love that because it is so empowering. Who else can tell us how to live our lives?



georgeIt’s not about money or material possessions. Or it can be. It’s not judgmental. If it works for you, it works!


Your terms, not others

We don’t always live our lives on our own terms. We live by the terms set by others.

Our families and friends, with all good intentions, have their thoughts about how we should live.

Society sets expectations of us. Hollywood and Madison Avenue paint a picture of how our lives should look. Teachers, bosses and others guide us to the life they want us to live.

Sometimes we even place demands upon ourselves that aren’t congruent with what we really want.

Taking charge

Enough is enough. We must take our lives back. We must claim the most precious gifts that we have been given.

To choose who we are and who we become.

To live the life we dream of living.

To find our path to happiness without regard for what others think.

To feel in control no matter what situation we face.

When we feel that we have power over our own lives, we can relish in every moment even if things aren’t going exactly as planned.

Not a selfish endeavor

Life on your own terms sounds selfish, but it’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

It means figuring out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be for the benefit of yourself and the people you care about.

How we’re doing it

We understand this definition well because we’re living it.


marylynnI worked in the corporate world. I had outgrown the place where I was working and I didn’t want to move for two reasons: I was engaged to George and the industry I worked in was experiencing troubles so I thought a move would be risky.



georgeI’ve been a passionate business owner for years and teach entrepreneurship at our local University. I saw the internet as a great place for learning and a way to combine those two passions. I also have a passion for a certain young lady named Mary-Lynn and working together seemed like a slam dunk!


So we created an opportunity for ourselves – Bigg Success – to be partners both personally and professionally. It works for us, but it doesn’t work for everyone. It’s how we’re living life on our own terms.


Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!


People in transformation

We’ve designed Bigg Success to be the place for goal-gettin’ go-getters … bigg goal-getters as we like to call you. That’s the reason for the second “g” in Bigg!

Bigg goal-getters don’t just talk the talk. We also walk the walk. Because we’re positive thinking, fun-loving people.

We’re people in transformation. Usually happy, but never content. Always striving to grow. Always looking to expand. Always in search of our next bigg opportunity.

So from two bigg goal-getter to another, welcome to Bigg Success! We look forward to getting to know you better. To growing together. To seeing you reach your bigg goals while we attain ours.

Reach bigg success in your life even faster

Bigg success is, and always will be, a developing concept. That’s the nature of bigg success!

It’s still about personal and professional development. We think by defining bigg success the way we have, we can have a richer conversation.

We will discover new things which we’ll share with you. We hope you will share your knowledge with us and the entire Bigg Success community.

Because all of us know more than any of us.

Start by telling us what life on your own terms means to you.

You can share that with a comment below, by calling us at 888.455.BIGG or by e-mailing us at

When you share, whether by writing it or speaking it, you get the ideas out of your head. So you learn and so will everyone else in the community.

By all of us sharing, we learn from each other so we all reach bigg success in our own lives even faster!

Thanks so much for reading our post today.

You’ve probably heard of Brand You. You may have heard that you’re the CEO of your own life. We don’t think either one is correct. Join us next time as we dive deeper into the definition of bigg success to find out why.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:

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delivery_car Today on The Bigg Success Show, we were privileged to visit with Benjamin Klein. Benjamin is the CEO for The Art of Charm, a highly successful coaching service. He is an expert in the psychology of sales, management and success. He has used that knowledge to create an upcoming program called Success Principles.




What is one of the most important success principles?



benjamin_kleinThe most important success principle for me has always been to say what I mean and mean what I say. It’s very important to come from a position of honesty and integrity and to do things that not only create value for you, but also for those around you. You don’t go into it dependent on the outcome, whether it will be reciprocated or not. If the value is reciprocated, they are the type of person you want to work with. If the value is not reciprocated, you have saved yourself months of time dealing with someone you don’t want to work with. You give up a little bit upfront, but that just comes with honesty and integrity and knowing that you’re creating value for those around you.



marylynnDo you have a value-offer model for some of our business owners who are listening today? Any suggestions for those people who have been offering something that isn’t working, that’s not getting them the leads they were hoping for?
Read more


Bigg Success Primer

Life on Your Own Terms

Bigg Success is life on your own terms. Listen to these five shows (or read the show summaries) to quickly understand what we mean by that definition.

What is Bigg Success?

Own Your Life

The Power of Defining Your Terms

The 5 Elements of Bigg Success

The Bigg Idea Behind Bigg Success

Announcing  BIGG Success Entreprenurturing™

Our mission is to serve entrepreneurs and the organizations that serve them. this post explains why we feel this is our calling and how we help.

Entreprenurturing™ for the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

How about you?

Tell us what “life on your own terms” means to you. What challenges are you facing in trying to live your life on your own terms? We want to highlight your stories and also gear our content to the biggest challenges that the people in the Bigg Success community are facing.

To participate, you can leave a comment on the bottom of any daily post, call us toll-free at 888-455-BIGG, or email us anytime at:

We look forward to getting to know you! To learn more about us, visit our About page.

Thank you so much for visiting.

Finding Your Self-Confidence Worksheet

By Bigg Success Staff

Life Skills


Improve your self-confidence by identifying your abilities and positive attributes. Complete the following statements to highlight your unique talents.


What do I do well?

What do I do even better?

What can I do now that I couldn’t do last year?

What have I already accomplished?

What is my greatest professional strength?

What is my greatest individual strength?

Of what am I most proud?

How can I help my colleagues?

How can I help my family and friends?

How can I help my community?

I have the power to

I am not afraid to

I have decided to

I need strength to


Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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It Pays to Cooperate with Your Competitors

By Bigg Success Staff

Bigg Success in Business


Business owners are often a very competitive group. They want to stamp out their competition so they can gain market share. They’re always looking for a competitive advantage.

But sometimes you can make more money by working together.

Here’s an example
There are two established car dealers in a small community about thirty minutes away from a large city. Obviously they compete for the business of the people in their immediate community.

But at some point, they both approach the maximum amount of business that they can get from these people. Can they continue to grow?


What if they promoted both of their dealerships together to people in the city? Talk about how they’re committed to saving people money to make it worth the drive.

It’s likely that neither one could afford to advertise in the larger market by themselves. But by working together, they can bring a whole new market into their stores.

It seems that you hear about “coopetition” with internet competitors. But it works offline as well.

Has it worked for you?

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Tackle a Project with a Friend

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Do you remember the old-fashioned barn raisings? Well, not that you personally remember them. But you’ve seen them in the movies. They’re part of our folklore.

Back in the days when most people lived on the farm, the whole community would ban together to build a barn. Barns were essential for families because they needed a place for their animals.

They spent time together and accomplished something worthwhile!

They combined work and life!

They built friendships by building structures!

We can take a lesson from this old-fashioned sense of comradery.

Do you have a friend who needs help with a project? Lend a hand!

You’ll feel good about helping them with their to-do list and you’ll build your friendship at the same time.

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