About The Inventor
About the Inventor
Jonathan Smith conceived of the Spyder 360™ during his first year of College in 2001 while he was undergoing Physical Therapy. His Doctors told him he needed to workout everyday if he wanted to regain and maintain a "Normal" life and directed him to a Physical Therapist & Chiropractor. His neck injury reduced his grip strength to nothing, the range of motion of his head to less than 20deg to the right, almost 2 degrees to the left, and rotational challenges to his left shoulder, as well as back issues, all of which he still battles to this day.
His Physical Therapists and Chiropractor directed him to several trainers. They, along with his Roommates, taught him a lot about the equipment found in most gyms. Free weights, resistance training, pulley/cable systems, at home fitness devices like push up bars and ab wheels, hand/grip strengtheners, resistance bands, etc. He learned about the plateau effect, calisthenics, strength training, resistance training, nutrition, and a lot more. His roommates were doing H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training) long before it became mainstream.
He quickly saw the overlaps with the various pieces of equipment he encountered. The machines and free weights appealed to different people, had various levels of value, and provided some break from the monotony that so many people encounter in the gym.
He also saw that most of the home fitness products were single task devices that were not well designed and had not changed in years. Many of them fell apart after a short period of time. The foam handles were always the first thing to break down.
These observations gave him an idea that evolved over the next few weeks. He presented the basis for that concept to his therapists and asked them if they felt it would be effective, safe, and could be improved upon.
While his ideas had great potential, he didn't have the money to take that idea, test it with consumers using prototypes, and then redesign them, and do the process again. His second challenge was time. Between therapy and his time in the studio studying Industrial Design he couldn't stop his formal education to pursue an idea that he wasn't sure had merit. College was expensive and he needed to focus his efforts on his education, which perfectly dovetailed with what he had been doing all his life; identifying problems using observational research, then developing solutions to those challenges using his imagination and model making/prototyping skills.
Fast forward to life after college and he had a little money and a bit more time to focus on his idea. But time seemed to have beaten him to the punch. Another inventor launched a similar concept in 2003, called the Perfect Pushup™. While this was devastating and knocked the wind out of his sails a bit, he knew that this was a step towards the follow up idea he had. Something that would allow for the user to determine their hand position and enabled them to have an Unlimited Range of Motion™ And at that point Jonathan started to work more diligently on the Omni-Directional fitness/Therapy device he conceived of many years before.
Job losses, the downturn in the economy in 2009, and a litany of other reasons lead him to all but halt his efforts, except for keeping up his lab notebook and sketching out ideas on a weekly basis. Then after another layoff, he decided to pursue his efforts to bring this product to market. That idea, was the basis for The Spyder 360™
Jonathan tried and failed a few times to bring the idea to market. First through Kickstarter™ in 2014, after years of testing, prototyping, interviews with consumers and well-educated fitness professionals. His first Kickstarter™ failed, but he did not give up. His idea was more than a push up bar that rolled in any direction. They were dumbbells of various weights, they were like Olympic rings but without the need for an anchor point. He also developed an option to add resistance bands. Due to financial constraints he was unable to prototype these ideas effectively so he did not include these components in his original Kickstarter™. He had solved the engineering challenges in his mind, but putting it to practice was always the really test and he did not feel confident with presenting those options without vetting them first.
The failure of his first campaign was painful. He also lost his job shortly after the campaign ended. And having a new born child was another big concern for him. It seemed like it wasn’t going to happen, but he did not give up.
With no job in site, and no real income, he took a big risk and attended a trade show in Las Vegas hoping to license his idea to a larger company, perhaps to one of the As Seen on TV companies. He met some interesting people, and one of them would offered him a job as their lead designer. Which was a great source of relief for him and his family.
Another person he met had a keen interest in licensing them under his company name and taking the product to market himself. After several conversations and a contract negotiation, Jonathan signed a contract to license the product to them for an 80% commission on sales. This was a dream scenario for him and it looked like things were really starting to pan out.
Shortly after sending out a prototype to the company in Tampa Florida, Jonathan received an email from said company stating that they had decided to sub-license the idea to another company! This was not in the scope of the agreement Jonathan had signed and after some short conversations by email he contacted his Lawyer and requested they send the company a cease a desist order which would terminate the agreement.
After some back and forth, the agreement was terminated, and he was again able to focus on launching The Spyder 360™ in the future.
The story goes on, and there are many missing pieces to what you have read. Long story short, Jonathan believed in his idea, and the feedback from others gave him the belief that the idea had value.
Fast forward to 2017 and he has had a successful Kickstarter™ campaign and a successful IndieGoGo™ campaign!
Jonathan is committed to delivering an exception product at a fair price. He didn't design & engineer The Spyder 360™ to fail, he engineered them to last a lifetime.
He is focused on first launching The Spyder 360™, then following that up with an exception certification and exercise program that gives so many already established fitness spaces a path to incorporate the Spyders. Pilates and Yoga are the first well know paths forward.
He also sees Swimming, Golf, Tennis, and other sports as needing their own specifically catered exercises to suit their needs.
Group training and organized classes are yet another path.
In terms of access to training, his ultimate goal is the develop a mobile app that allows each person to have new exercises delivered to their phone on their terms! So that they won't get bored doing the same old movements all the time. This app will be very functional and allow for consumers and professional trainers/coaches/others to share ideas among themselves and with a larger audience.