Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We all have ambition and at one time in our lives we really think we can make a difference.  Some of us even try to invent   new ways of doing things that would be better.  We try to find solutions to problems as if anybody would listen to us anyway.  Some of us are lucky to obtain an influential ear to listen to us and with the best of luck, your   invention will be mass produced and then you will be filthy rich and proud to go to your   high school reunion saying that you were the guy who invented Post Its.  Luckily there are still places where you can go and someone will hear about your invention.  Today’s quirky idea just might be tomorrow’s must have product.

There is even a company called Quirky.  Is that another name for weird?  The company’s motto is that some of the best ideas in the world don’t come from the boardroom but come from the living room.  It is an unusual approach for a   consumer product company that brought in $48,000,000 in revenue last year and they didn’t invent a   damn thing.  Perhaps the true next best thing was to start a company that featured next best things?  Why didn’t I think of that?  If we could reach our behinds, we would be kicking ourselves in the butt for various reasons.

Good ideas should be out there because quite often they are   the best ideas.  So don’t put your kid   in special education just   because he likes to look out the window a lot.  He could be dreaming about the next great idea.  The company called Quirky manages an international online community of about 900,000 people.  That is a lot of dreamers.  Every Thursday   night, they vote on all sorts of product ideas and what they vote on, gets made.  Imagine all the great things we would’ve had already if Leonardo Da Vince had a place like this to promote all his great ideas that never got produced in his lifetime.  This website gets up to 3000 new ideas each week.

Each one of us are creative people. It is hard to get through a single dinner without someone saying,   ”Wouldn’t it be cool if….or I got an idea to…” Well, your   product could possibly go from Thursday night’s vote to be   on store   shelves within 29 days with Quirky helping you out.  This company is the brainchild of Ben   Kaufman who started this company five years ago at age 21. The company started with a three word mission statement,  to  make invention  accessible .    What is usually   inaccessible   to most inventors is the important steps after the OK I got the perfect thing moment. That is where Quirky steps in with constant communication feedback from its vast online   community .  The Quirky team actually designs and markets, patents and manufactures the inventions they decide are worth promoting. I’m not sure I want the job of pushing something forward that could possibly fail but that is what the voting process is all about.  No individual fails in this company and that is a healthy policy.

If a product makes it to the retail shelves, 10 per cent of the revenue is shared with the inventor and every member of the website who helped along the way whether it was voting on a color or even picking on a name gets a piece of the profits. This is my idea of making money online. No taking money from me upfront and no 50 identity questions from me out there like most online schemes seem to want. So far its online influences shared 3.8 Million dollars. Ok 10 per cent is not a lot of money however, there are not too many better deals out there. The popular TV show Shark Tank rich investors usually want to take a 51 per cent controlling  interest in your company anyway for their help in getting your product to stores.  I want to know if Quirky gets to own your patent too? Lori Greiner from Shark Tank takes pride in owning patents on other people’s inventions and is filthy rich because of her greed.

The company has more than 100 products on sale in stores like Target and Best Buy. Some of the products are weird like a citrus sprayer that you stick into a lemon or orange and then can spray the juice anywhere. Do I really want that? Other products are like the power strip that can curve and actually has enough room to plug in all your clunky chargers. I like   that   practical   product. Of course this is not all about me. No product will last long if it ultimately does not sell on the store shelves. An ambitious product the company is pushing now is the idea from an ordinary guy who would be stuck in traffic every day going to and from work  like most of us who   would stare out of his car   window looking up at the apartments on the streets.  He couldn’t help noticing   all the air conditioners leaning out of the windows of the apartments.  He had an idea and that was it.
Without having any formal education or engineering degree, he simply proposed his inspirational idea.  His thoughts were   that,  Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a remote start for our air conditioners so that  by the time we open our doors, we can come home from work to a cool apartment?  Now this is where a place like Quirky is worth the 90% it will claim in revenue.  The idea could have   remained   trapped into his brain.  He submitted a proposal to Quirky and within months in   partnership with General Electric they unveiled a Wi Fi   enabled   air   conditioner that can be controlled from your I Phone.  Yeah!  Make a call to your air   conditioner and tell it to start purring. His air   condition should   be on store shelves by this summer.  The company expect s this   ordinary guy who spent   hours in traffic every day looking up at a conditioning units to make about $1,000,000 this year alone.  More importantly, he is not just an ordinary guy anymore.  He is a successful entrepreneur.

So whether you are a student, engineer, or even stay at home mom with an invention, Ben Kaufman and his Quirky community just might vote to try and take your invention to everyone.  Try taking whatever it is all the way to the bank.  What next big idea have you been thinking about?

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