TITAN VIDEO CLIPS: Click on arrows to view all 4!
My name is Jared Joyce, and I am the inventor of the TITAN. My sincerest thanks for your interest in my first invention to hit the market. Being that I am an independent inventor and lack the resources of the likes of Nalgene and Camelbak it has taken me a bit longer to commercialize this invention, but I hope you agree that it has been well worth the wait.
I first began thinking about the TITAN while I was still in architecture school at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. This was before I had even begun to consider inventing as a career.
In order to stay awake while putting in 100 hours a week into the architecture curriculum I consumed a lot of Mt. Dew. I also drank a lot of water. I always told people that when you really need to stay awake, better than consuming caffeine is consuming water. If you always have to go to the bathroom, you're not going to fall asleep!
I had a routine of kicking off my work sessions with a nice cold 32oz Mt. Dew purchased from "The Hedgehog" across the street. Once I had finished the Mt. Dew I would keep refilling the 32oz cup with water. Once the plastic lining of the cup started deteriorating into my water I would throw the cup away and buy a new Mt. Dew.
One fateful day the plastic lining of my cup had once again deteriorated into my water, but I didn't yet need another Mt. Dew. I tried to think what container I could drink out of if I wasn't re-using my 32oz Mt. Dew cup. Then I remembered that 2 years earlier I had stood in my sister's wedding and was given a big mouth smoke gray Nalgene bottle as a thank you gift - but had still never used it.
I immediately went to my dorm room and dug it out of one of my storage boxes, filled it with water, and went back to work. The beauty of drinking from my 32oz cup had been that it came with a lid and straw. I could be using the computer mouse with my right hand while taking a sip of water using my left hand. When it came time to drink from the Nalgene bottle I had to stop what I was doing and unscrew the lid…and then screw it back on when I was done drinking for fear of the open container spilling on my drawings or laptop. All of this cap screwing took about 15 seconds per drink and multiplied out throughout a 20 hour workday I was wasting up to 30 minutes a day just screwing and unscrewing the cap of my Nalgene bottle! Those were precious minutes that I could have been sleeping!
So now in the midst of trying to meet end of semester design deadlines for a Seattle housing project, I had this Nalgene bottle sitting on my desk looking at me, tormenting me, begging to be transformed into a better-designed drinking apparatus.
I started noticing several other students around me using Nalgene bottles and many of them had clipped a carabiner to the lid loop in order to make it easier in transport on their backpacks, etc.
I instantly thought to combine the carabiner clipping functionality with "press & drink" functionality. This would bring me back to the same one hand operational benefits that I had with the 32oz cup, but the next component of design would be regulating the water flow rate.
Something that I have been doing since I was a boy mowing my parent's lawn on hot summer days back in Ann Arbor, MI is filling empty pop cans with water and putting them in the refrigerator. The reason I did this was because no other mass-produced mouthpiece on the market offered such great chuggability without spillage (a feature the big mouth Nalgene could not boast).
I studied this marvel of drinking design closely and found the principle of the pop can's success to be how the tab of the can presses against the user's upper lip while drinking which creates about a 10% air leak which allows the liquid inside the can to be chuggable.
I had now established my "Crazy Criteria." The functionality of my envisioned water bottle would be:
Joel Barker says, "That when a paradigm shifts, everything goes back to zero." I knew that if I could design a water bottle to meet those criteria, that would be a paradigm shift worth pursuing!
The following year while still in school I established my LLC and took down my first round of funding for an invention in the contact lens industry. The year after that I established funding for my no-tools-required furniture joint system. Then I graduated from architecture school, and 3 years after I had established my criteria for what would become the TITAN I successfully took down the funding for my water bottle.
Investors always choke a bit when I present the expense of prototyping within a budget, but it is an imperative component of successful design.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand pictures. Prototyping is problem solving in three dimensions.
It enables us to fail faster so that we can succeed sooner!
The need for prototyping couldn't have been more relevant than when it came to the fine tuning of the mouth piece for the TITAN. Of all of the inventions I have developed, none has been as difficult to perfect as when we were trying to create the harmony of a comfortable mouth piece with a successful water flow rate. For a time we had to stop making prototypes of the entire cap and just create versions of the mouthpiece.
We would put the prototype mouthpiece in the top of a plastic bottle and chug test it.
Test and tool, test and tool, incrementally improving the integration of mouthpiece comfort and water flow rate.
I will always remember this portion of prototype development because the answers on how next to improve came very quickly; and they had to because when we were tooling the mouthpiece it was being sprayed by coolant, which made it impossible to hold the water in your mouth very long before you were forced to spit it out. It was a disgusting process, but I wasn't willing to wait to test the mouthpiece before we could run it through the dishwasher.
After we had completed our final working prototype we had made about 100 of them, and I had developed four patentable versions of the TITAN. After our manufacturer informed us that there could be no metal in the cap assembly in order to meet US safety standards, I developed a fifth patentable version...which became the TITAN.
I had conceived of my water bottle cap screwing onto a Nalgene, so I had always envisioned licensing my water bottle to them. I marketed my water bottle to them as the N2, or the second generation of Nalgene. I could type over 20 pages on all of the experiences and lessons learned while trying to license my water bottle to Nalgene and all of the other top water bottle manufacturers.
The bottom line summary of all of my meetings was that they believe consumers view water bottles as a disposable good. Therefore, it does not matter how many increased functional or health benefits my bottle possessed, they believe that consumers will not pay more than $10 - $15 for a water bottle.
James Dyson was told more or less the same thing when he was trying to license his vacuum to the top vacuum manufacturers in the business. He didn't quit, and 4 years in, I wasn't about to either.
Since all of the US manufacturers were poor of vision and averse to risk I decided to try my hand at licensing in Taiwan.
The funny thing about UTS is that you've probably never heard of them, and yet you probably enjoy their products every day. Among other things UTS makes all of the trim design on clothing for companies like Patagonia, REI, Helly Hansen, etc.
UTS was already making 2 million generic water bottles for Wal-Mart each year, but they weren't famous for making water bottles. I had to convince them that if they were successful manufacturing my water bottle then they would be able to sell it to all of their existing clients who were also in the outdoor recreation business, but didn't currently have a water bottle that they sold.
The other benefit of partnering with UTS is that they are masters of co-molding technology. An example of this is when you see a metal zipper encased in a rubber zipper pull - that's co-molding. We were able to design a co-molded assembly for the underside of the water bottle cap whereby the nylon plunger is co-molded with silicone to create the waterproof seal on the cap. There are few if any other manufacturers that could have achieved this solution at such an effective price point.
Unfortunately, after a year of development and working together China started getting bad press for dog food, lead paint, etc. UTS got cold feet with all of the anti-China movements that we're taking place in the US and decided not to pursue the all expenses paid licensing/manufacturing of my water bottle. Then along came Amazon…
In the beginning the model of my company had always been to license my inventions to existing manufacturers with established distribution channels. Part of this reasoning was because I prefer to spend my time inventing and developing new products rather than selling existing ones. The other reason was that even if I wanted to manufacture and sell my own products the economics of that business model never made sense when I was working off of investor funding with a 10x rate of payback.
However, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com has 14 fulfillment centers in the US that collectively ship over 1 million products each day. He realized that since he already had the warehouses and employees to run them that it would be an incremental cost to keep his warehouse shelves full, so he created Fulfillment by Amazon.
For a mere $0.45 per cubic foot per month I can store my TITAN water bottles at Amazon. Then, when someone (just like you) orders my water bottle, Amazon will pick, pack, and ship your order right to your door for about 1/3 the price of what I would have to charge if I shipped it myself! If you are an Amazon Prime member you will get free 2-day shipping on your order. Best of all, with the TITAN costing $25.00 a piece that means you will get free ground shipping on your order if you're not a prime member!
I get to offer my customers all the benefits of Amazon while still being "the little guy." Not only does this mean fast and low-cost shipping, it also means that if you ever have a problem with your shipment you get the excellent customer service of Amazon to help you with your problem. Need to return the item? No problem, just print off a pre-paid return label from your computer and Amazon will handle the rest.
With Fulfillment by Amazon it does not matter whether I sell 1 TITAN water bottle or 100,000 TITAN water bottles per day - they've got it covered! I no longer have to worry about scaling my own staff to keep up with the buying demands of the marketplace.
At this point I went back to UTS and asked them how much it would cost me if I were to pay for the manufacturing of the water bottles myself. Now that I could partner with Amazon to handle my distribution I wasn't afraid to raise more money and take on more debt by paying for the water bottles myself. BTW, minimum order - 100,000 units. Yes, I am millions of dollars in debt at the time of writing this novella. Please be sure to buy as many TITAN water bottles as your budget will afford. Thank you.
So at this point my patents have been pending for years, I've lined up investor funding, manufacturing, and distribution. No more surprises right? What else could go wrong…
There is a growing body of evidence that Bisphenol A is leaching from water bottles made of polycarbonate; that's pretty much every water bottle on the market today.
Although the research is not yet conclusive, I wanted to bring the safest possible product to market. UTS informed me that to use a material for the bottle that met my safe specifications (Tritan, a co-polyester developed by Eastman Chemical) it would cost three times as much to manufacture. I told them that I wanted to deliver a water bottle with not only the best functional benefits, but the best health benefits as well!
Then they asked if I was worried that no one would buy my water bottle at such a high price?
I told them that, "I find worrying to be terrible misuse of my imagination." I believe that if I put my profits second and my consumer's health first, everyone will benefit.
Note: As of April 19th, 2008 Wal-Mart has banned the sale of any BPA plastics in their stores. If the research is conclusive enough for Wal-Mart to ban the sale of BPA plastics in their stores, you can be pretty sure BPA in plastic is bad for you.
Currently we have 100,000 TITAN water bottles being manufactured that should arrive in the Amazon warehouses soon. We need to pre-sell all 100,000 of those units (get 'em while you can) in order to show "proof of sales" to all of the big box retailers.
Until then we'll be available here for pre-orders and then exclusively at Amazon.
Due to the fact that polycarbonate bottles are on their last legs and retailers must choose what new BPA-free bottles they are going to carry, the playing field at present has been leveled.
I am going head to head with Nalgene and Camelbak in the race to fill this new market niche. If you are looking for a water bottle with the best functional and health benefits as well as a clean looking design (i.e. no annoying white hot stamping on your blue bottle) then I truly believe you will love my water bottle.
If you have read this far, I am awed by your commitment to learn more about my TITAN water bottle and I am humbled to have shared my journey with you. Enjoy the rest of this website and let me hear from you with ideas and suggestions. email@example.com