A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
What: Kinesis, based in Bothell
Who: William Hargreaves, 60, president and CEO
Mission: To provide a truly ergonomic keyboard that reduces stress injuries and as a result decreases corporate health costs and increases productivity.
Misnomer: Hargreaves said the market-leading products from Microsoft and Logitech are ergonomically lacking because the numeric keypad between the mouse and the letter keys forces an additional, unnatural stretch. Even if they tilt slightly outward, they still force the user into a rigid posture, he said. On the other hand, the new Kinesis Freestyle allows users to adjust the space to their own posture.
Most Read Business Stories
- 55,000 in Washington state may have to pay back thousands in jobless benefits
- 1 house, 45 offers: Homebuyers in Western Washington hard-pressed as supply remains scarce
- Boeing CEO gave up millions in pay; here's what he and other top execs earned
- Jeff Bezos gets fraction of legal fees from girlfriend’s brother
- Highlights of the $1.9T COVID bill nearing final passage
Automatic pilot: Freestyle keyboards are “driverless,” which means they operate through the USB port without additional software. There is also a series of specially designed Mac keyboards, which Hargreaves thinks are especially needed. “The new flat iMac keyboard forces the fingertips to bear the brunt of the keystroke,” Hargreaves said. “It looks nice, but it is obvious that style was more important than function in this design.”
Employees: 15 full time and contractors. The company farms out most of its manufacturing to China.
Financials: The privately held company does not disclose any earnings or sales figures. Hargreaves said it has maintained profitability since 1996.
Tap dance: Those seeking true ergonomics will install a foot pedal. The user can program frequent commands to execute with a tap. While it can get fancy, the most common and useful instruction is a single click. The mouse is still used, but only for cursor control.
Infinite loop: The company is making a big push into the consumer market but won’t soon appear in a box store near you. “People only ask for the things they know, and the large stores only stock what people ask for,” Hargreaves said.
— Charles Bermant