Lame Christmas Presents? Build a Better Mousetrap!

Monday, January 4, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 1:37 AM

Originally Published 2007-12-25 17:20:10

I was just flipping channels looking for a replay of It's a Wonderful Life on television and was struck by the sheer number of commercials advertising lame products.

I was also struck by the fact that I wanted to buy half of them.

So, before you curse the 14 Chia Pets (see video below) you received this year, ask yourself, "why does this [lame] product exist?" and then consider your own entrepreneurship. Because, if you have been stuck in product development, trying to decide on the perfect widget, pushing your creative juices into the best possible mousetrap design, I urge you to take a look at the commercials on cable television.

Because the best ideas, the truly disruptive technologies, the amazingly insightful products -- most of them fail the first time. You don't need to build a whole new breed of mousetrap to forge your path to fame and fortune. You just need to build it. With few exceptions, no product you've ever considered hasn't been built before. And, in fact, you'll probably do better if you copy someone else's idea and instead make an incremental improvement. Or sell an equally good replica for less. Or sell it using an alternative sales channel. Better yet, all three. You don't need to be original to employ the perfect business model.

Now, I'm a technologist, so I can note most of the precursors to modern technology devices that are making a killing. Before you used a Blackberry or a Treo, Apple's Newton and the Go Technologies palm computer died premature deaths. Before you heard about iPod, Creative was making ridiculously lame flash based devices that cost too much and played too little. Before you gave all of your personal data to Google, Excite, Lycos, and Infoseek all burned through hundreds of millions of dollars vying for your search traffic. And before you put all of this into a Excel spreadsheet, Visicalc was selling millions of Apple IIs.

In the spirit of debate, I have a challenge for you. Post a comment on an original technology product currently for sale and I'll note an older product that did the same thing and died.

As for our Chia pet, the hard part isn't the pottery or the seed. The hard part is coming up with a better jingle. Chuh-chuh-chuh-chia!

Comments

On 2007-12-25 17:37:47 Apple Ipod, Ipod Nano and Ipod Video News » Lame Christmas Presents? Build a Better Mousetrap! said:
[...] Admin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt I was just flipping channels looking for a replay of It’s a Wonderful Life on television and was struck by the sheer number of commercials advertising lame products. I was also struck by the fact that I wanted to buy half of them. So, before you curse the 14 Chia Pets (see video below) you received this year, ask yourself, “why does this [lame] product exist?” and then consider your own entrepreneurship. Because, if you have been stuck in product development, trying to decide on the perfect [...]

On 2007-12-26 16:40:18 O'Neill said:
The wheel.

On 2008-01-09 16:23:36 Truck Driving Schools said:
i cant believe those chia things still exist! who buys them?

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