August 6, 2010
All text and photos by Jen Cowart
THE INVENTOR: David DeRouin hopes to spread laughter to others and improve their health at the same time with his new creation, the Press Here Button.
David DeRouin thinks the world needs to be a funnier place, and he’s trying to do his part, one laugh at a time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter helps people deal with the stresses of daily life and can actually induce physical changes in the body. DeRouin is no stranger to stress, having worked in the financial industry for more than 17 years before making the decision in 2008 to get out. The following year, he sold his financial practice.
“The business life just wasn’t joyful for us anymore,” DeRouin said. Once he got out, DeRouin wasn’t sure where he was to go next. Many people might not take such a risk; leaving one job without having another to go to, but he feels that the decisions he made along the way have been with the help of some divine guidance.
Although DeRouin felt as though he was being called to do something different, he did not know what, and he began researching.
“Selling my practice gave me a lot of time to do things like reading and researching on how things work. I thought it would be great to come up with an invention or to create something,” DeRouin said.
Still, DeRouin seemed to be hitting a wall. He had yet to figure out what it was he was meant to be doing in this next phase of his life. And then, when he least expected it, an idea fell into his hands.
“One day I was working with a friend, and we were having a meeting, and we were at a creative road block. One of us said something, and we started laughing and laughing,” DeRouin explained. “By the end of the meeting, we were almost in tears. On the drive home I started to think to myself, ‘Could it be that simple?
Is it all just about finding the laughter in a situation?’”
Coincidentally, around the same time, DeRouin’s fourth-grade son, John, came home with an assignment for school that involved him creating a button for his project; one that people could press in order for him to begin his presentation. When DeRouin heard that, he knew he’d found it.
“That was a divine message that I needed to create a button,” he said. He began creating and researching, looking to see if anything like a button that emitted hysterical laughter when pressed already existed. To his surprise, one did not.
DeRouin began putting the finishing touches on the button he had created, but he hadn’t come up with a name for it, and he didn’t know what it should say on it in order to get people to actually press it.
Once again, a conversation with his son, John, pointed DeRouin in the right direction.
“John came in with his finished project, and his button simply said ‘Press Here,’ and that’s when I knew my button had to say ‘Press Here,’” DeRouin said. In about six weeks’ time, from beginning to end, DeRouin had created and submitted for manufacturing his Press Here Button. Before he knew it, the first shipment had arrived at his doorstep. Now, it was about how to get that button into the hands of those who needed it most.
“My goal in life is just to spread more laughter to individuals,” he said. He began working with Apple to create a mobile application for the iPhone, and established a website for online purchase and information about the benefits of laughter to go along with his button, www.PressHereButton.com. He started sending buttons off to people like Ellen DeGeneres and people who are in the business of making people laugh, or as he likes to call them, “like-minded individuals.”
Ideally though, DeRouin would like to emphasize the benefits of laughter on ones’ health and wellbeing.
“This button allows you to tap into your sixth sense, your sense of humor,” he said. “Laughter is an amazing gift that we all possess and we need to be reminded to use it every day.”
In the meantime, DeRouin hopes that along with showing people the importance of laughing more often, he can also teach another lesson with his journey. “I want to be an example for others that it’s okay to leave a job or any situation that’s keeping you from enjoying life in order to pursue something else that will bring you happiness,” DeRouin said. “It’s not always easy to do, but with faith, confidence and determination, anything is possible.”