San Francisco’s What If Widgets gives first donations to hearing health organizations

San Francisco-based What If Widgets delivered on its promise to donate 5% of product sales when it sent its first contributions to the American Hearing Research Foundation and the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California last month. The company integrates charitable giving into its business model by assigning each product a cause to which 5% of its sales are donated. Its flagship product, earbud JACK, which organizes earbud-style headphones and cords for digital music listeners, supports hearing research and services.

Though specific sales figures were not disclosed by the private company, What If Widgets based these recent donations on sales of earbud JACK in the fourth quarter of 2007. Mike Simmons, What If Widgets’ founder and Chief Tinkerer, stated, “I’m very proud to be able to help these organizations, and I look forward to sending larger donations each quarter, as JACK’s sales continue to grow.”

What If Widgets has signed up several new distribution partners recently, including JACK’s first international appearance with iTechia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The new resellers join Amazon.com, MacFriends.com, J&R of New York, and the SFMoMA

MuseumStore as retailers of earbud JACK. “This is a really exciting partnership between What If Widgets and the Center,” said Darragh Kennedy, CEO of the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California.


Development Director Leslie Castellanos added, “By contributing a portion of their profits, What If Widgets helps our organization promote hearing health and assist people of all ages with hearing loss to get hearing aids, education, and counseling. We sincerely thank What If Widgets for being an active community partner.”

“We are thrilled with the support from What If Widgets,” said Sharon Parmet, Associate Executive Director of the American Hearing Research Foundation. “The donations we get from the sale of Earbud JACK will help us to fund critical research into hearing loss.”

“I spent many years as a product designer, and I’ve dreamed of building a company that values people’s needs, good design, fun, and giving back to the community,” said Simmons, who has a degree in Product Design Engineering from Stanford University and over 10 years’ experience designing award-winning products for consumer electronics companies like Apple, Danger, HP, Motorola, and SanDisk. “JACK is the first embodiment of that dream. Everyone I know had the same problem of pulling out their iPod to listen to music only to be thwarted by the inevitable un-tangling of their earphones. After I sketched some concepts, attempting to solve the problem, JACK was born.” Simmons, who also holds an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, ran an independent consulting firm, i Consulting, for nearly 5 years, helping companies create business plans and develop innovative new products. “I’m really excited to integrate need-based product design with a corporate philosophy of helping others,” said

Simmons. “I look forward to launching many new products that solve other everyday problems and support more great causes.”


About What If Widgets

What If Widgets strives to improve peoples’ lives by solving everyday problems with clever and fun products, including the internationally acclaimed MP3 accessory, earbud JACK. Like JACK, every product created by What If Widgets supports a selected cause with a percentage of its sales. Visit www.whatifwidgets.com for more information and the latest What If… news.

About The American Hearing Research Foundation

The American Hearing Research Foundation has been sponsoring research into hearing disorders for more than 50 years at universities and hospitals throughout the United States and Canada. It has sponsored more than 160 researchers looking into the causes and cures for hearing loss and deafness, and continues to give five to ten $20,000 grants each year. To learn more, visit www.american-hearing.org.

About The Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California

The Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California strives to enable individuals of all ages and backgrounds who are hard-of-hearing or deaf or who have speech/language disorders to participate fully in their families, schools, workplaces, and communities. The Hearing and Speech Center’s compassionate professionals provide a variety of services, such as audiology, speech pathology, individual counseling, and a school for young children with hearing loss, to approximately 10,000 people every year, regardless of their ability to pay. To learn more, visit www.hearingspeech.org.

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