#TBT – How I became a Product Designer at 17
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David Kutas

Sometimes you need to take a look back to see the way forward Рor evaluate the possible paths. When I learned English a bit, I instantly tried to start the conversation with the world. It was not easy but payed off (literally) quite quickly. Here is how I become a product designer at 17.


One evening in front of my good old Mac Mini, I was wondering what to do – had not enough knowledge and determination to continue coding that evening so I was in an argument with my dad about knives. We quickly came to the conclusion that the Chinese Smith and Wesson copy is better (and of course cheaper) what he just bought than the original one. Despite of this fact the knife was pretty sh** but could be easily designed to be better – I was wondering why the heck didn’t they design it that way that it could not be opened in an accidental situation – the locking mechanism was so bad that it was shouting for a redesign. We quickly came to the conclusion that two holes could be designed on the body and blade and through those a carabiner could be easily fitted, this way it could be easily good for scuba diving or even for general purpose.


I made the design w/o any knowledge just on paper to see how it would look like than quickly sent to Smith and Wesson w/ the text that ‘hey guys, here is the way how we can make a knife safe’. They replied me that they sent the design towards to they designer company and will get back to me asap. Next day, I got a mail that Spyderco has the patent on the holes already. No issues I thought – just change the shape, they can’t patent every millimeters. It worked, I got a contract for having a design at that company. I got paid 0.25 USD for each knife; 1000 was ordered for the first shot.


How did it feel making this at 17? The world was mine, nothing could stand in my way anymore. I wish everyone could feel this.

One of the old Ai previews of the knife called Whale