The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Bob Plath invented what?

Do you know who Bob Plath is? Read to the end, and you will! All we have to say to start out is, "Thank You, Bob Plath! You are a savior!!!"

Our week-long road trip up and down the west coast is over. FINALLY, we’re back home. We met some amazing entrepreneurs, as we always seem to do. Also, our road crew, including Joel Welsh, Jessica Schlick, and Eric Granowicz, did a great job (as always) producing our radio show from center stage at the annual convention for the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (www.nciia.org) in San Diego. You’ll hear that radio show on April 23 on our radio network. The theme? "Can Entrepreneurs Be Made?" Mark your calendars and tune in–we had some great guests, some great observations.

After that show, we jumped in our rental cars and traversed the highways of San Diego to broadcast a live radio show from the awesome Clear Channel studios of Newsradio 600 KOGO. Michael, a board jockey there, was a master! It was a milestone show because it was our first-ever live broadcast in NYC on WABC. It came out great! We revisited Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com, and he was ON (as always) with war stories of Overstock’s explosive growth and he gave a lot of great advice to people hoping to build online traffic.

Article is continued below

Over the course of the week, we stayed in 4 hotels in Cali. A few nights in Santa Monica (see our entry, "From the Road…Not Dazed. Dazzled!" ), a night in Santa Ynez, another night in Santa Monica, and then a last night in San Diego… by the time the front desk rang us with our wake up calls this morning, we were tired of waking up in a strange bed, packing and unpacking, lugging our stuff around, cramming it in the car trunk, etc.

Then, to really punctuate the end of the trip, when we were dropped off by the rental car shuttle at the airport, due to construction, we had to be let out far past our terminal. Normally this would be a great excuse for some good exercise, but on this occassion it was just punishment! The airport was over-crowded and muggy. We were exhausted, too.

FORTUNATELY, our luggage had wheels. And that’s when we started thinking about how grateful we are that someone invented luggage that rolls. It made our trek so much easier! Of course, this is where we introduce Bob Plath.

Here’s his story: He was a Northwest Airlines pilot, and in 1989 he got fed up with having to carry his luggage. Why not wheel it, he thought?

What emerged was an invention that not only became the foundation of a luggage manufacturing company Bob founded, TravelPro, but it also changed the way we all travel. Now every major maker of luggage incorporates wheels into their bags and what a difference it has made for travelers!

As legend has it, Bob logged some 16 million miles as a pilot. No doubt, he toted luggage a lot more than we Sloan brothers have so far, but we’re catching up! And we can’t say Thanks! enough, to Bob Plath for making our journeys just a little easier!

Let’s make it a great week!

About the Author: Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to [...]

Lineage2, Aion, Blade And Soul

StartupNation Free Launch Assessment! Get Started Now