The Accidental Entrepreneur

The New York Times:

Henk van Ess, a Dutch consultant and speaker who trains media professionals in the use of technology, says he wasn’t looking to start a business when he sent out a note to a few groups on LinkedIn trying to find a way of extending the battery life of his new iPhone.

A representative of a Chinese manufacturer answered his query with information about its battery and he bought one. He was immediately pleased with the results.

van Ess told me about how he went from being a satisfied customer to a distributor of this battery. It all started, he said, when he went back to LinkedIn and posted what he calls a “teasing” message” using the site’s “what am I doing” feature. “I wrote something like: ‘You hate the battery life of your iPhone too? Perhaps I have the cure.’” he said.

Before long, he started receiving orders from people in his network asking him to order a battery for them. “I didn’t want to do all this paperwork so I set up a little Web shop, and then the company asked me to be one of its distributors.” He says that in his first day of online sales, he took orders from 1,200 customers.

And he has already taken the business to the next stage. Working with the Chinese manufacturer he met on Linkedin, he has developed a new version of the battery, the 3GJuice, that he says is superior to the original battery.

Photo by Anita Kentie.

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