The Story

Once upon a time, there was an avid flying-disc thrower named Jeff who lived in Boulder, CO. Jeff worked as a web designer and spent his non-working hours either with his young family or his disc-throwing buddies. When the dot.com bubble burst and Jeff had to pack away his lava lamp, he gave himself two options. He could either commiserate with the hoards of other former cubicle workers as they waited for their lattes at the local coffee shops, or he could go out and play disc. Though the lattes were tempting, he chose the latter.

Jeff became obsessed with both ultimate and disc golf and passed each unemployed day perfecting his hammers, flicks, drives and putts. He joined ultimate leagues, tried out for a traveling team, kept track of his hole-in-ones, and became president of the local ultimate players' organization. (All this time, his wife thought he was looking for a job.)

It soon became very clear to Jeff that there were not enough hours in the day to pursue his new disc-related obsessions. So he went to a sporting-goods store to see if there were any light-up flying discs available for purchase.

One evening, as the sun set and his friends headed to their vehicles after a raucous game of ultimate, Jeff took out his new light-up disc. His friends were thrilled and promptly postponed their after-dark plans. However, the plans were back on after the very first throw. The brand-new disc flew off course (the disc design ignored the need for straight flight), hit a car, and simply broke in two.

You can imagine how devastated Jeff and his buddies were. But Jeff, always one to see a silver lining, thought: "I can build a better light-up disc!" Because that's how he thinks: better, better, better!

So Jeff went home and started to tinker. It soon became apparent that he could only take his idea so far, so he called on his friend and fellow idea guru Jerry for assistance. Jerry has the incredible ability of being able to think things through from concept to creation. In addition, he is obsessively detail-oriented (in a good way).

Jerry was able to work with Jeff to light up an ultimate disc using a central LED and fiber optics. Jeff shared it with his fellow disc enthusiasts and they marveled at Jerry's ingenuity. After playing with it for an evening, Jeff's friends insisted he and Jerry take the product to market. "No way," Jeff replied. "This is just for us to play with. Why bother with that hassle?"

But the seed was planted. Within six months, Jeff had a second mortgage on his house and a prescription for anti-anxiety medication for his wife. He and Jerry formed a new company, Playhard, Inc., and they unveiled their new Flashflight light-up flying disc at the 2002 International Toy Fair and that winter's Outdoor Retailer Show. They fielded offers from companies from around the globe for exclusive manufacturing and distribution of the product.

Jeff and Jerry opted to partner with another Colorado company, Nite Ize Inc. Nite Ize immediately began manufacturing and distributing the Flashflight while Jeff and Jerry went back to the drawing board with several new ideas. At last count, Playhard and Nite Ize had 38 products available in 35 countries. In addition, Jeff is happy to report that the mortgages are slowly being paid off, and his wife no longer needs her meds!

The End (or rather, the beginning...).