Bright Ideas Global: Jeff Gunn

Jeff Gunn on why the blue-chips can't wait to get their hands on his ecobutton

Every once in a while, someone comes up with an idea everyone wishes they’d thought of.

Jeff Gunn’s ecobutton connects to your PC via a USB chord and, when hit, powers down the monitor and computer to draw only the same nominal power as they would when shut down. Hit it again post tea break and your PC springs back to life exactly as you left it, allowing you to carry on working. Downloadable software totals the energy and cost savings you have generated.

The tech-savvy among you will probably retort that computer technology is evolving to incorporate this type of thing anyway, and ecobutton is merely a gimmick. Tech forums are already rife with such debate. But this has only fuelled the buzz around the product. As a retro-fit device, it isn’t reliant on users with older PCs having to upgrade or buy new equipment. And as yet, no one else has made this function so convenient, which is a key selling point, stresses Gunn.

“It becomes a plug-and-play device, and makes saving energy very simple for the user,” he says. “It’s all about behavioural change – trying to get people out of the habit of leaving things on. That’s very difficult, but when something lights up and reminds them to use it, and they see the savings, the penny drops.”

This visibility is another benefit. Gunn targeted the promotional market first, allowing businesses to give the product away to staff or customers, with their branding on the button or reactivation savings screen.

“The priority at the moment is being green, or being seen to be so, which obviously struck a chord,” he says.

Ecobutton has proved a massive hit, winning numerous awards, and through its distribution network, Bright Ideas Global’s client list now includes BT, Orange, Shell and Microsoft. The growing desire of companies to flaunt their green credentials has since proved the catalyst for a worldwide network of routes to market.

In March last year, Gunn took ecobutton to retailers, deliberately targeting smaller shops at first – he’ll be “hitting the big ones this year”. And through the exposure he’s already gained, there’s now a queue “a mile long” of major retailers itching to stock it.

Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.

He’s seen a huge opportunity in the corporate market, too, and following requests is finalising a pro version of the software, which will collate the energy savings made by a business, and eventually the entire ecobutton using population.

This will lead to a community aspect which Gunn also plans to monetise, through methods such as dynamic advertising. “In the retail market, as we sell buttons, we can sell advertising, assuming it has a green play on it,” he explains. “We can advertise to a profile of customers. And it’s not getting in your way, you’ve got the screen coming up anyway.”

There is also scope for global expansion, and numerous white label opportunities. “We can put one under licence to say, Disney, and all of a sudden you’re educating kids on being green and taking a whole new route to market,” he says.

The ecobutton is by no means the only success story being sold by Bright Ideas Global, which began life selling LED-based products and employs only six full-time members of staff. Soon to be released is the Riff Rocker, a plug-and-play miniature guitar for what Gunn sees as a relatively untapped PC gaming market, and 13 more products toroll off the back of ecobutton.

The cynics may doubt ecobutton’s longevity, but Gunn, whose product spans numerous market sectors and is generating 4,000 enquiries a week from across the globe, is sure ithas plenty of mileage.

Company details: Company: Bright Ideas Global Founded: 2006



(will not be published)