Meet Shane Thompson – Entrepreneur, Inventor & Qantas Pilot

As a young child, Shane Thompson would spend Sunday afternoons in the shed with his grandfather, passing him tools and sanding wood as his grandfather built and fixed things. Little did he know, that those afternoons would inspire him to set on a successful entrepreneurial journey he would never have imagined.  His story is nothing short of inspirational and makes you want to take that passion project of yours and turn it into something big and net you some revenue.

A full-time commercial pilot by trade and an adventurer by nature, Shane Thompson has been with Qantas for 10 years, flying around the globe too many times to count.  “I’ve had a thousand adventures in a thousand cities, some planned, most unplanned, met strangers and shared a laugh, a tear, and more or less equal amounts of wine and coffee,“ says Thompson who finds travelling to be the most immediate and authentic way to experience life. It was an incident though at the airport, after a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney where his brilliant idea for a startup was born.

Photo: Shane Thompson in the Cockpit

Reaching out to his bag to get his headphones, he found himself fed up with cords tangled against his money, earplugs, car keys and pen which would happen every single time. Soon enough, a concept came to him that would eventually solve this problem and would soon launch him as an inventor and entrepreneur – the Cord Roll.

With a passion for design and making life a little better, not to mention skilled in carpentry as learned from his grandfather Albert, the self-confessed perfectionist embarked on a creative exploit that comes with being an entrepreneur. Using a home sewing machine and quality vegetable-tanned leather, he stitched up the Cord Roll, a clever and practical travel cord organizer which aims to make travelling with technology easier.

“All I wanted was my headphones, but as everything flew out of my bag and onto the ground in one large, congealed mess, I tripped over myself and thought ‘there must be a better way!’ I immediately set about finding a solution to this problem using the skills taught to me by my grandfather Albert.”

After a year of road-testing and refining his invention to perfection, The Cord Roll was born. He also created a brand and website where he sells this innovative travel accessory, all of which is in memory of his grandfather and the positive influence he had on Thompson in relation to his creativity, determination to solve problems and belief that anything is possible.

Photo: The Cord Roll

Thompson launched his first crowdfunding campaign, the Cord Roll with staggering results – doubling his fundraising goal in less than a week.  When the Kickstarter campaign ended, he had raised a whopping $31,893 which is 530% past his goal of $6,000.

“Having the globe as inspiration and a jet to access it all, has only strengthened my interest and passion in the design space. I always knew that one day I would turn my scribbles into three-dimensional things so to see Afternoons with Albert not only come to life but be so well-received, is incredible.”

Photo: Afternoons With Albert Website

To market his product to a larger audience, Thompson put up a large following on Instagram with a feed every wanderlust could only dream of.

“Ultimately I think the success (of marketing from Instagram) was born from making it easy for people to share the campaign. It’s easy to share when people want to share it, when it looks good.”  He also created a brand and website called Afternoons with Albert; a place where he sells the Cord Roll online.

The secret to Thompson’s success is that he found a solution to a very common problem – and then he built a business around it. Most of the great ideas of our time were born because the doers, thinkers and adventure seekers solved a very common problem many people suffer from. Thompson is no different.

Photo: Pilot Shane Thompson

Currently, Thompson remains a full-time pilot for Qantas and a full-pledged entrepreneur working on other trendsetting product designs to be launched in the near future. When asked about what he loves about running his own business, he replies “The ability it gives me to wander around and get lost in my passion on a daily basis, and the spin-off this has for my customers, friends, family and strangers that I meet. It makes me a better person in every way. And giving my gift to the world is a ridiculously amazing feeling.”


The Entrepreneurial Journey admin is a team of degree-qualified writers with special knowledge in entrepreneurship, business motivation and business education.