Dude Review: HighView Taking The High Road
How a first-world problem provided a solution for a real-world problem.
Sofia Rodriguez was traveling on an airplane and barely made it through an appalling First-World Problem.
But that's not why I'm talking about her here. And it's not what happened directly after. You see, Sofia decided to use the solution to her First-World Problem to work on solving a Real-World Problem. And that's important. Read on to find out more.
A First-World Problem, for those of you who don't know, is something that could only go wrong for people who have more money than the vast majority of people throughout the world. Not being able to find the charging cord for my iPhone 6 Plus. . . That's a First-World Problem. Not having enough to eat. . . That's a Real-World problem.
So, Sofia was having a real First-World Problem.
"I was on a flight, watching a movie on my iPad when I realized how uncomfortable I was," she told me in an exclusive e-mail question and answer. "There was no way to watch my movie, be comfortable, and have space on my tray table for food or drinks."
Yeah. A real First-World Problem. The thing of it is, though, instead of whining about it and complaining on Twitter or Facebook, Sofia decided to do something about it.
"I decided to create a solution. After several months of sketching, designing, and trying out different options, the HighView iPad hanger was born!"
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign that was funded in October, Sofia started up her own company selling the HighView iPad hangers to whoever would buy one.
Which, you know, good and all.
Before we get much further, I do want to say that I've spent some time with the HighView iPad hanger and thought it was a really nice solution to the problem of how to use an iPad and still have use of your hands and feet. (Feet, because I'm sure some of my readers more closely resemble chimpanzees than to the rest of you.) The hanger comes in all different sizes, one for every type of iPad. You slip it into the hanger and then, using the straps that come with it, you (hang on, this is the brilliant part) hang it on something.
That way, you get to watch whatever is on the iPad while also filing your nails, or eating or, and this is the case of the young Spawn on whom I tested my HighView, doing unspeakable things with a broken pencil and nasal excreta. While I can't say I approved overmuch about the activities themselves, we both thought the HighView did an admirable job of making sure the iPad stayed watchable. It stayed snugly attached and out of the way. Really, it was all you could ask for in something like this.
I'd highly recommend this to dudes who do a lot of driving in the family mini-van with young spawn in the backseat, screaming for entertainment that just isn't coming unless you pull over to the side of the road, stop, hop out of the car and suffer a complete nervous breakdown from all the screaming, with a breakdown consisting of break dancing, twitching like St. Vitus and spewing ball lightning from your ears. Well, come one. No doubt about it: That's entertainment.
I'm going to suggest, however, that having a HighView iPad hanger on hand to hold the all-knowing source of Spawn-ish entertainment might be better for your long-term electability prospects. I do highly recommend it. I also need to point out that Sofia sent me one for my iPad Mini for free in return for a review. This isn't that review. That review is going up on Amazon.
This -- what you're reading right now -- is because of what I found out while talking to Sofia about the product.
Sofia, being a native of Guatemala, knew first hand the grinding poverty experienced by many living there. Things that we here in America take for granted -- access to food that won't kill us as well as access to water that also has no designs on our lives -- isn't available to large numbers of rural Guatemalans.
"I believe education is very important to end poverty, and, unfortunately, one of the main reasons why Guatemalan children miss school is due to drinking unclean water," she said. "These water-borne diseases can also create a strain on a family's finances. By providing clean water to children, we are able to help them stay healthy and in school."
The question remained, though: How to address the issue of providing clean water to children in need? Which was when Sofia had her epiphany. She decided throw money from her solution to the First-World iPad problem at it.
HighView partnered with Ecofiltro, a Guatemalan company with designs on providing safe drinking water to more than 1 million rural Guatemalans by 2020, to give a month's free water to a class of school children with the purchase of every HighView iPad hanger.
Ecofiltro's business model consists of selling water filters to rural villages and then having the new owners charging a small amount to receive the safe, filtered drinking water. It's basically the same as the city pumping water into your home, for which you're charged, only it's out in rural Guatemala, it isn't pumped into your home (yet) and means the difference between life and death.
When someone buys a hanger from HighView, the company donates enough money to Ecofiltro to pay for one month's free water at schools in the rural areas of the country.
"I've always admired companies that are able to be profitable and also give back to individuals or communities that are less fortunate," Sofia said. "An example of such a company is Toms. We decided to follow their model which is One for One. In our case, it's One HighView for One month of clean water to Guatemalan children in need."
So, yeah, I'm a big fan of Sofia and HighView. I love the idea of socially responsible corporations making money for themselves, but also making sure to spread some of the wealth around to those less fortunate.
If you're looking for something to keep the Backseat Spawn busy and -- oh, please, FSM -- quiet, give the HighView iPad hanger a try. Of course, you'll need to have your own iPad, but that shouldn't be a problem.
Unless you're suffering from out-of-date-iPad blues, which is, really, sort of a definition of a First-World Problem.