The "aha" moment: When Hank Green asked his wife to see Tron: Legacy in 3-D late last year, she refused, explaining that watching 3-D movies gave her a headache. Green, an Internet entrepreneur who runs several websites, including ecogeek.org, persuaded her to join him, promising to find a solution later on. He went online and discovered that his wife was not alone.
R&D: That night, Green brought home the 3-D glasses he and his wife had worn to see Tron. He knew they worked by blocking a different movie image with each lens, creating the illusion of depth. Armed with a hot glue gun, he created a pair of glasses that blocked the same image in both lenses, reducing the film to 2-D. His wife wore them to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3-D, and they worked.
Hitting the market: Within a week, a handful of Green's friends had placed orders for the 2-D glasses. He found a Chinese manufacturer on AliBaba.com to make a large batch. In January, he started selling them for $7.99 a pair on his website 2D-Glasses.com. Since then, he has sold about 3,000 pairs.
Does your company sell a product with an interesting backstory? Head to www.inc.com/thegoods and tell us about it. We feature the best ideas in the magazine every month.