Have you ever been flicking through a catalogue, browsing online or out window shopping and thought; ‘what a simple idea, I could have come up with that.’ Everyone has million pound ideas, but few act on them, simply because they seem so silly. However, some of the most popular inventions came from the success of a very silly idea that turned into a million pound business
Here are 5 so-called ‘ridiculous’ ideas we came across:
Estimated Profit: $250 million
Ideas person: Richard James
The idea came from a tension spring being dropped and slinking away across the floor. In 1945, naval engineer, James debuted the toy at a Gimbals in Philadelphia. The first 400 sold out within 90 minutes of going on sale.
2. Beanie Babies
Estimated Profit: $3-6 Billion
Ideas person: H Ty Warner
Who knew filling a sack with beans, giving it furry ears, and a cute name could result in a soft toy empire, selling 30,000 at the first toy show in Atlanta. Ty Warner never advertised Beanie Babies or sold them in major chain stores, like Toys-R-Us. This made the toys harder to obtain and thus more desirable. In addition, Ty would retire certain models after the initial stock-run had sold out, making the few that existed prized possessions. Ty’s line of collectibles created the most insane fad frenzy of all time, and he now sits on billions.
Ideas person: Dave Hampton and Caleb Chung
Since the release of Furby in 1998 they have sold over 40 million of these furry interactive pets worldwide. Who ever thought a hairy mumbling Yoda-look-alike with a beak would cause such frenzy?
Estimated Profit: $200 million
Ideas person: Scott Boilen
The idea is as simple as putting on a dressing gown backwards and so ridiculous it isn’t actually patentable. However, through clever and humourous marketing this ‘ridiculous’ idea sold 20 million items in its first year. The Suniggie quickly became a media sensations featured on shows in the US such as; Jay Leno, Whoopie Goldberg and Ellen DeGeneres. This buzz has led to Snuggie pub crawls, YouTube Snuggie mockery clips and a lot of gag gifts.
Estimated Profit: $2 million
Ideas person: Eric Nakagawa (aka Cheezburger) and Kari Unebasami (aka Tofu burger)
Eric and Kari originally wanted to share an image of a chubby cat with an absurd caption with as many people who cared to see it. This one image was followed by a series of other images and captions featuring the tabby and soon fans began to submit their own creations.
Icanhascheezburger.com now receives more than 35 million hits per month and 8,000 daily uploads. In 2007, they sold the site for $2 million to Ben Huh. Ben has created six sister sites, landed a book deal that was a New York Times Best Seller, and the company makes around half a million from book sales alone.
It isn’t about how serious your product is it is about how you sell that product. There is no such thing as a bad idea, it may not be the right idea for the current time or situation, but all ideas mean something and the examples above prove this.
This can also be said about how you present yourself to employers. In any application or interview think about how you want to sell yourself, push your strengths, show them what you have to offer their company and believe in yourself.
Can you think of any other ridiculous ideas that became all the rage?