Sometime around the year 1440, a young Rhineland, Germany solopreneur began tinkering with the design of the wine press. Rhinelanders had recently begun using wine presses, and the wine industry was on the verge of huge growth.
Our solopreneur was fresh from a disastrous business venture: manufacturing small mirrors with supposedly magical healing powers, which he intended to sell to religious pilgrims. But then the bubonic plague happened, and it put a huge dent in the size of the pilgrim market.
However, the failure of the trinket business was a blessing for our hero, because it sent him down a more ambitious path. He had immersed himself in the technology of Rhineland vintners but Johannes Gutenberg wasn’t interested in wine. He was interested in words.