PowerNap Began As A Labor Of Love
I set out to solve a business problem—the fact that I would wind up with a product that helps others is a side-benefit. It all began about ten years ago now. My successful network technology company, Acendex,was on the list of the fastest growing businesses in Ohio. I had a young and ambitious staff and due to our over-abundance of opportunity, they kept terrible hours. Frequently the guys would be out until 1 or 2:00 in the morning working on a new server installation, then they would be expected to return to their desks and be ready to take care of clients at 8:00 the following morning. Needless to say, they were tired.
Unfortunately for me, in order to stay awake and keep up with their schedules, some of the guys turned to over-the-counter (and some not so over-the-counter) stimulants. These concoctions did keep them alert, but also caused them to be belligerent and rude, which was not good for business. This was my problem.
As a life-long musician and avid music recording hobbyist, I asked myself how I could use these talents to help get my staff off of speed. I did some research and found, without much difficulty, the pattern of brainwaves that people experience during normal sleep. I wondered what would happen if I manufactured these “sleep waves” in the studio and then listened to them?
I started by recording the brainwave frequencies for a “typical” 3-hour sleep cycle, then digitally “smushing” it into 20 minutes. I closed my office door, put on my headphones, tipped back my chair, and listened. After a few minutes I began to feel extremely relaxed. Then I experienced a sort of “tipping backwards” sensation. I dreamed. When the recording ended and I sat back up at my desk and realized that I must have been asleep; I felt energized, focused, invigorated—it was as if I just had a long nap! I was excited, but I wanted to try the recording a few more times to see if it would work consistently. When I found that it did, I burned several copies to CDs, and handed them out to my engineering staff. “The next time you feel wiped out,” I said “instead of taking that pill or drinking that drink, take this CD in the back and listen to it. See if it helps you.”
One by one my engineers came out of the back room wearing bright eyes and big grins. “I don’t know what you put on that CD Jonathan,” one of them said “but it works.”
Well, I had solved by business problem, so I rather forgot about the CDs altogether until about a year later. One of the guys stopped in my office and asked “Hey. Do you have any more of those Sleep CDs?” I had to think—what was he even talking about? Finally I remembered. “Are you still using that thing?” I asked in amazement. “Yeah!” he said “It’s AWESOME. But I lost mine.”
I burned a new CD and gave it to Chris. Then I started asking around the office to see if any of the other guys were still using the “Sleep CD” as it had come to be known. When I found that many of them were, I thought to myself “Maybe other people would want this thing…” So I burned a few of them and put them on Ebay. They became an instant hit and I had lots of people writing in with nice notes about how the CD had helped them. When I started selling more CDs than I could comfortably make after work at my house, I started having them professionally minted a thousand at a time. I built this website to reach more people, and the rest is history.