trying new things

Have Lifepack, will travel.

Lifepack-founder-adrian-solgaard

What inspires an invention?  They say necessity is the mother of all invention. For Adrian Solgaard the tipping point for the creation of his new invention, a solar powered back pack, came when his friend was the victim of a crime. We met over Skype for a quick chat.

Vicki McLeod: How did this come to be? You’ve developed a solar powered, lockable back pack which can fit all of your day to day mobile office and work needs. That’s pretty amazing!

You can lock your bag up when you're out and about (1)

Adrian Solgaard: I first had the idea in 2005 when I was 18, I was travelling on a train and I needed to sleep. I was irritated by the idea that I had to wrap my luggage around me to prevent it from being stolen by thieves. But it wasn’t until 2015 when I was sitting with a friend having a drink, our bags where on the floor between our chairs and my friend’s bag was stolen, that it tipped me over the edge! I started to source and prototype ideas, contacted factories and worked on getting the product exactly right. When I had finished the prototype I started on “Real World Testing” and got a tonne of consumer feedback. Now we’re in the middle of our Kickstarter campaign.

VMC: Why a Kickstarter campaign? What is it?

AS: It’s a way to get pre-orders for the bag, it’s enabled us to gauge the reaction of the general public, and raise funds. It means that we will be in production this year with the bag as we have reached our initial goals.

VMC: Wow, that’s so exciting! So when can customers expect to have the bag in their hands?

AS: If you have pledged money on the Kickstarter campaign then you will have the bag in October.

VCM: How is the Kickstarter campaign going?

AS: Really well, we’ve met our targets, now we are doing what’s called “Stretch Goals” which means that we can unlock more options on the bag, by offering more colours for example. You can still order one.

VMC: What’s so special about the bag?

AS: We’re saying that we´ve reinvented the mobile office.

VMC: Big claim!

AS: Well, it’s got a solar power bank which can keep your phone alive via a USB charger, everyone’s phones run out of charge just at the crucial moment, but with this bag you won’t be stranded. You don’t have to worry about your smartphone battery dying, you can have it on charge in the bag. You can get up to 12 charges for an iPhone 6, but it’s compatible with any USB charging device.

You can charge your phone using the solar panels in the bag

It’s also got an integrated lock which means you can keep the bag locked up and keeps your stuff secure. The separate compartments inside the bag are for your work and life, so you can separate your work life from your underwear, nobody wants to get their socks out at a meeting do they?!

Lifepack, Cafe shot.

Then when you’re out at the beach you can use the Bluetooth speakers to play your music. The lock also has a bottle opener on it, which is helpful when you’re having a beer at the beach as well! The bag is weather resistant, and drop resistant (there are internal protective air cells to keep your laptop safe), and super organised. We’ve also designed it to have four hidden compartments so when you are travelling you can keep your important documents close to you and not worry about them being lost or stolen. The bag’s zippers are also lockable. And another feature is the RFID protected pockets which keeps your credit cards and passport safe from identity theft.

VMC: How much can you stuff in there then? I know I have to have at least three bags wherever I go! One for the gym, one for work and a handbag.

AS: Well I can pack two shirts, two pairs of underpants, two pairs of socks, a tie, a belt, shampoo and lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, cologne, a passport, sunglasses, swim shorts, goggles, the solar bank and speakers in the back, and a 15″ laptop, charger, mouse, two notebooks, three pens, headphones, my smart phone, glasses case, keys, wallet, loose change, USB charger and cables, loos papers, receipts, business cards and a banana in the front!

VMC: That more or less covers it! What about the kitchen sink? This isn’t the first time you’ve invented something useful is it?

AS: No, I’m also responsible for the Interlock which won four international design awards and has been distributed to twenty eight countries.  That experience has meant that I’ve been able to get the Lifepack to this stage much more efficiently. There are two other people in the team with me who are crucial as well, Ashley and Chris, so between the three of us we’ve done well.

VMC: What’s your connection to Majorca?

AS: I’ve lived on the island, right now I am travelling around a lot to get the Lifepack into production, but I hope I will be back soon. A lot of my friends who live in Majorca feature in the product promotional photos and we used Majorca as the location for the shoot.  Majorca’s the perfect place for a Lifepack, so many people blend work with life and are on the move, it makes perfect sense.

The bag has been designed to be part of an active, modern lifestyle

You can read more about Adrian and his invention at: sweetbackpackbro.com

To read more articles about Majorca visit http://www.mallorcamatters.com

Let’s be friends

A previous Supper Club meeting

Networking needn’t be nasty.

I spent an hour today talking about networking on Frank Leaver’s show on Radio One Mallorca. I hope I did myself proud. I was on the radio because this week (in fact 7pm on Thursday November 5th, then Thursday December 10th) I am restarting (after a year off) an informal networking and friend making group that I had originally set up five years ago. It’s called The Supper Club and is a great opportunity to make new contacts, catch up with old ones, possibly do some business, definitely have a laugh, and get dinner thrown in all for under 20€. If you want to attend then email your reservation to info@moodbeach.com and get yourself over to Portals.

It’s not so long ago that I hadn’t even heard of the term “networking”, but I think I’ve always been a “networker”. Back in the day I might have been called less flattering things, like “busy body”, “do gooder” or (crivens) “nosy parker”. Why? Because in order to be an effective networker you don’t spend hours talking about yourself “selling” whatever it is that you need to get across, no, you spend time finding out about others and working out what might be helpful for them, perhaps make connections for them which they will find useful, and think about their issues and problems trying to find solutions. It can be exhausting doing this, it’s a relentless one way street so you need to know when to politely slow to a halt on your helpful assault and wait to see if the other side reciprocates. Like unrequited love, it’s not healthy to be in a one sided relationship.

But networking needn’t be frightening, approach it with an open mind, remember to stay authentically true to yourself, perhaps arm yourself with five opening questions that you can try out to get the conversation going, or perhaps a joke, and step in. If you need one then ask for an introduction, go to the organiser and say “Can you introduce me to….” and get them to help you. The good thing is that at a networking event other people are there with the same aim as you so you don’t need to feel strange about talking to a complete stranger, and remember, you get out what you put in. Don’t forget your business cards.  The networking doesn’t finish there either, the next day you need to send a message to the people you connected to: either as an email, a Facebook request, a text message, a phone call, whatever seems appropriate to the situation.  

The more you network, the easier it gets, but you have to keep doing it. There are plenty of different types of groups in Mallorca, so go find one, invite me to it, and let’s do it! http://www.familymattersmallorca.com

Reflections on the beginning

La Gidg and I

La Gidg and I, 2008, our house, S’Arraco

With all this business about competitions and blogs I have had a look back over the last four years of blogging, and found an old blog post.

It explains a lot, so if you are wondering what I am on about, click on the link please.

http://familymattersmallorca.com/2008/06/03/the-beginning/ 

Musical memory lane

I was a teenager in the 80’s. I grew up with Duran Duran, Wham, Bronski Beat, The Smiths, The Jacksons, Madonna well not literally, but you know what I mean. Their music was continually playing on my little radio. I was a fanatical about it all. I would record the Top Forty on a Sunday evening, trying to pause the tape in between the songs so that I didn’t have to listen to Mike Reid wibbling on. And then of course there was Smash Hits. This magazine was the highlight of my and my friend Catherine’s week. We would pour over it, reading about our favourite bands, and of course drooling over the prettiest boys. We were both enormous fans of Duran Duran, and to save argument, or because it was convenient, we just decided to not fancy the same person in the band: so she had Nick Rhodes, the keyboard player, and I had John Taylor, the bassist. We think they would have approved of our choices.

Growing up though, I started to be embarrassed by my teens, and I dismissed the 80’s as a period of music which was best forgotten. But now I am beginning to come to terms with what a fantastic decade for music it really was, and what a lot of personality it had. This weekend coming, Saturday evening to be precise, there is going to be one of the largest ever reunions of tour guides to be held in Mallorca. The hard working people from ILG who worked here in that golden decade of tourism, the 80s, are getting together to party, talk and dance. Now you may find this a little bit out there, but I have always wondered what it would be like to be a DJ, I’ve presented radio shows before, and yes, there is music in them, but being a DJ is completely different. After leaning over several DJ’s shoulders and irritating them with stupid questions I made the foolish decision that it couldn’t be that difficult after all. So I have volunteered to be the DJ for Saturday night’s party: 70s and 80s classics only. Suits me fine.

Armed with a decade’s worth of Smash Hits and an encyclopaedic knowledge of music from 1975 to 1989, my DJ debut will be this Saturday night at Mood Beach. I’m planning a celebration of the music I loved and grew up with, and a boogie down memory lane. My colleagues and friends think it is hilarious that a 42 year old mother could want to be or even try to be a DJ. And you have to have a DJ name they keep telling me (DJ Mammy is currently their favourite) as they snigger behind their hands. Meanwhile to keep myself calm I keep secretly thinking ‘it’s just putting on records, right?’ We’ll see I guess. Please come along and support me, from 11pm on Saturday at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes. Entrance is free.