Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sounding off Local Inventor Finds His Noisy Niche

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sounding off Local Inventor Finds His Noisy Niche

Article excerpt

Take a look at the noisy workers in your office. They slam file drawers, gab with friends and start laser-printers grinding while you're trying to talk on the phone.

You see a gaggle of two-legged noise-makers.

Bill Freund sees a gold mine. At least he hopes he does.

Freund is selling cassette tapes made up of doors closing, phones ringing, typewriters clacking, drawers banging, feet shuffling and unintelligible voices droning in the background.

"Sounds of a Thriving Office," is the tape's title. It costs $19.95 and will never make the pop charts.

Freund, a 24-year-old inventor, doesn't care.

He's targeting a niche market - people who work at home or for tiny companies but want to sound on the phone like they're working someplace really busy. They play the tape near the phone and chat away.

Freund is a tall, slim man who smiles a lot, talks fast and seems about to gush over when he describes his inventions. He spends days working for a company that designs stores for virtual-reality video games.

Nights and weekends are spent on his creations.

He got the idea for the office tape while on the phone at home, trying to peddle his other commercial invention - a voice recording suggestion box.

Phoning from home made him feel like a business amateur. "Every now and then a dog would start barking in the background. It ruined the ambience," he said.

So he hired a recording studio and duplicated the background chatter, bumps and clacks of a modern office.

After a notice in a trade journal, and a mention on CNN, he is starting to land sales. He started shipping last week.

One customer is Kevin Wood, who runs For Sale by Owner Services, a newspaper in Long Island, N.Y., for people who are selling their own homes. There are three people in his office and it sounds "dead as a doornail," Wood said. "You can tend to lose your mind a bit."

The busy office tape lends a "sense of urgency" to customers on the receiving end of a telephone sales pitch. …

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