I first met Jacob about 10 years ago, and not only is he a kind, humble guy, but he’s also created not one, but TWO very successful Kickstarter campaigns, the BASICS Wallet and BASICS Notebook.
Read below to hear about his early memories as an inventor and where he draws his inspiration.
Read on if you want to be an inventor, or product designer and need some inspiration
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jacob Durham I was raised in Arizona, then when I was in 7th grade I moved to Japan for 3 years, then spent the last two years of High School in Salt Lake City where I currently am living. After High school I served an LDS Mission in Busan, South Korea for 2 years and after that I started college at BYU Idaho. I got married in 2008, and finished out my schooling by getting a Masters degree in Accounting at BYU. After Graduating I worked with a public accounting firm for a year then with my family’s business doing operations for another year, and then got into Kickstarter. Now I am self employed, running Kickstarter projects and selling our products online under the business name BASICS Products. I have 2 kids that are everything to me. When I am not spending time with them, I like road biking, photography, and developing and innovating cool new products.
Jacob Durham with his daughter, wife, and baby on the way
How did you get started doing product design?
I have always loved design and innovation. When I was young my brothers and I used to invent machines that would do things like pour your cereal or turn off your light for you when you were lying in bed. I’ve been creating things since I was very young. I love being creative and I also love business, when I figured out how to use these two passions together on the Kickstarter platform in summer of 2014, I began to get absorbed in the process of developing products and bringing them to the market through Kickstarter.
How did you juggle your time between your family, work and kick starting a product in the beginning?
When I first started doing Kickstarter, it was not my full time job, so I was spending about 20-50 hours a week on our Kickstarter projects outside of my regular full time job. Those months were extremely tiring and difficult to balance work and family. My method to strike that balance was to just block out the time between when I got home from work (around 5:30pm) to when my kids went to sleep (8-9pm) as family time. I tried to focus on family 100% during those times. Then, after the kids went to sleep I got back to work on our Kickstarter projects. However I quickly learned that the struggle wasn’t as much in finding time to spend with family as it was trying to disconnect my mind from work while with my family. My mind tends to get tunnel vision when I am doing something I am passionate about. So I have had to really learn how to push work out of my mind when I am with family so that I can be with them mentally 100%.
The BASICS Products flagship items, BASICS Notebook and Wallet
How do you manage your time now?
Now that I am self employed and working on our company, BASICS Products
, 100% of the time, I am still extremely busy and probably putting in about 50-80 hours a week, but I free to choose when I work and that has made a huge difference. Some days we will go to the park with the kids in the middle of the day, then I will spend more time at night working. I have also found that getting up early allows me to make sure all of the top priorities are finished early in the day so that I have a little more flexibility later in the day.
Does being a founder help you be a better parent and why?
I think that being a founder does allow me certain liberties that I wouldn’t have if I were working a full time job elsewhere like being able to leave work to watch a T-ball game, or just go to the park in the middle of the day. However one thing that I have found is that when you are running your own company, it is hard to ever really disconnect from work. It is always on your mind and you are constantly thinking through issues and tasks that need to be resolved. So as mentioned previously, learning to focus on family when with family is what I am learning to do, and trying to get better at.
What changed from how you worked before you had your daughter to after?
There is nothing better than coming home from work or finishing a long day of work and getting a big hug from your 3 year old daughter. Life in general has just become more fun and full since having kids. However with that, there are the late nights with sick kids and crying babies that does make the next day difficult. I would just say that life has much higher highs and a little bit lower lows or longer days when the kids aren’t behaving.
How do your two kids change your perspective on what you do?
I have a much deeper purpose to ensure that I succeed in work now. I want to be able to provide a good life for my kids. However at the same time, I have come to realize that my family is so much more important than anything else. In the end my relationship with my kids is going to determine my personal success in life.
Is there anything you would like to promote?
We are creating a company that is based around focusing on the Basics, or the things that matter most in life, hence the name BASICS Products
. Our current product on Kickstarter, The BASICS Notebook
, is designed to help people take control of their lives by setting goals, planning, and performing activities to promote a happier and more fulfilling life.
Here are all of the other places you can follow along with BASICS Products:
Here’s a great image to share or Pin of you’re feeling generous!
In the end my relationship with my kids is going to determine my personal success in life.