Today we review the history of the long-respected Kryptonite bicycle lock. For the history of this item we consult the sprawling database that was originated by the interesting guy Sheldon Brown (unfortunately no longer living) who spent years at Harris Cyclery in MA. Brown's entry says the Kryptonite lock was invented by a bicycle mechanic named Stan Kaplan, with whom Brown worked long ago at a shop other than Harris.
The first iteration was crude, as are most new ideas implemented in rough form. There's your first tell right there -- crudeness. Obviously not progressive or enlightened! The inventor must harbor anarchic, and quite possibly sociopathically psychotic, sentiments toward his fellow human. Humans need fancy, and if you're not delivering fancy, you're a dangerous misanthrope!
Look at this dangerous sociopath with his crude design:
The history tells us that Kaplan refined this original design somewhat, and began selling it. Then someone named Zane stumbled across the advertisement Kaplan was running, and offered to mass-produce it with the existing factory he had, which wasn't geared toward bicycle lock production but was amenable to change.
Zane later bought out Kaplan's interest and turned the Kryptonite into a popular, widely-used item that is available today in several different configurations.
What I found most interesting is the sentiment Kaplan shared regarding the potential revenues he lost via sale to Zane. Zane's financial influx success in making and selling the Kryptonite could have been Kaplan's success -- why didn't he hang onto the design and become a multi-millionaire himself? "What short-sighted absurdity!," your patriotic urges proclaim.
Let's hear from Kaplan on that one:
Kaplan is philosophical about this. "I don't want to be rich; I'm doing ok without it. The lock money has allowed me to not work consistently, taken the pressure off. My mother says 'You could have been a millionaire!' I could also have had ulcers. I like to do different things, so I'm happy it happened this way."
Even while still Zane's partner, Kaplan was pursuing other interests, as co-founder of a Cambridge self-service bike repair shop. He has worked varied jobs and taken long vacations, including one summer on a motorcycle and others on his sailboat -- maintained with loving care rather than large amounts of cash.
Kaplan now supports himself as a freelance typist and computer instructor. "I'm tutoring a kid downstairs," Kaplan tells me, a proud glint in his eye.
What, free time is worth more than filthy lucre? He should be shamed, at the very least -- if not treated as a Domestic Terrorist!
-- Hal Caidagh, wondering what diane will make of this.