One of the Aeron’s designers was Bill Stumpf, the son of a gerontology nurse and a preternaturally keen observer of human behavior. So he was well primed in the late 1970s, when the American furniture company Herman Miller began casting about for growth prospects and hired Stumpf and Don Chadwick
After the great dotcom bust of 2000, there was one lasting symbol of the crash: Herman Miller’s Aeron chair. The ergonomic, mesh-backed office chair was launched in 1994, at the start of the bubble; at a cost of more than $1,000 at the time, it quickly became a status symbol in Silicon Valley–spotted constantly in magazines, and in cameos on TV and film.
The dotcom-era profits helped keep Herman Miller alive in the early 2000s, and sales eventually bounced back. Nearly 7 million Aerons have been sold to date, and another one comes off of Herman Miller’s lines every 17 seconds.