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In 1977, Richard Thalheimer founded a company that would eventually bring James Bond gadgetry into the hands of the every day consumer—The Sharper Image. With the futuristic persona his tools and technology projected, there was hardly a person who did not marvel at the ingenuity he was witnessing.
As a result of this seemingly universal intrigue with compact, intelligent tools and technology, The Sharper Image has grown faster than any other company of its kind with sales that exceeded $525 million in 2007.1 Its scope of goods now includes everything from automated barbecue tools to talking robots to personal hygiene technology, and the meteoric growth of The Sharper Image was due, in part, to its originality and unique retail outlet. However, more than anything, its explosive success was representative of the inherent human fascination with ingenuity and technology.