Thursday, September 20, 2007

The next great idea

Everyone wants to come up an innovative new idea, right? I used to actively think about what I could invent that would allow me to earn millions, retire, and not feel guilty about it, knowing that I earned all that money myself. I wanted to invent something I tentatively called the lotion sponge (clearly it would need a more clever name before going to market.) I’m not sure how to describe it except to say that it would have been a contraption that allowed you to lotionize without getting your hands all lotiony. (I do believe I just made up two new words in that sentence.) I hate getting lotion on the palms of my hands because if you touch your hair or face then they in turn feel greasy…just a slippery slope and not worth it for moisturized hands I decided. Anyway, I once drew a prototype of the lotion sponge while at work. The summer intern at my public accounting firm told me he worked on an invention in high school but just before he finalized everything, Sony came out with something similar. I was skeptical of his claim, maybe because I didn’t even really understand what the product was. However, since I was having a hard time keeping him busy, I challenged him to put his patent research skills to work and check out the lotion sponge. He found that apparently someone already had a patent on something similar. He encouraged me to follow up, declaring that some people just stake their claim to lots of ideas with no intention of following through, but I let it go. Good review for that young lad though as he was quite the team player in so enthusiastically playing along.

I moved on from the invention idea quite some time ago (at least the active pursuit part of it), but a recent Oprah episode reminded me that I might not want to hop off the wagon completely. Among the “millionaire mothers” she featured on a recent episode was someone who started decorating her daughters’ crocs and ultimately came up with the “jibbitz” that you can find inserted in the holes of crocs across the country. She sold her business of 40 employees, a modest warehouse, and a website to crocs for a cool $20 million. Not bad.

I’ve heard that if you really want to invent something new, you should just stop and take note every time you say to yourself, “There has to be an easier way to do this.” I’ve been doing that lately, but here are the kinds of ideas I generate. All of these things would make my life a little more delightful. I don’t believe I could generate a single dollar from these ideas, but I’d still like my recommendations to be heard:

Drive Thru Ear Infection Line: I took my daughter to the doctor yesterday for what turned out to be her fourth ear infection. Both ears infected this time, NTB. I hate going to the doctor for potential ear infections because my rate of success in guessing that diagnosis is about 50% correct. Although I don’t wish illness upon her, I feel like an idiot when I’ve taken her in only to get a diagnosis of “teething” or “just a cold.” So, a simple line where I could just pull up, have a doctor or nurse check out my daughter’s ears, pay a nominal fee, and drive away…that would be just super.

DVR (TiVo): My passion for the DVR is abundant. It is a life-changing invention, and I am completely serious about that. However, I’d like a few upgrades. The laundry list of shows I have stored can be overwhelming. To assist in finding a specific show more easily, I want to be able to create folders to store “Dora” episodes in one place “Movies” in another “Old Episodes” in another (shows I loved so much that I simply can’t part with them such as the Grey’s Anatomy Prom episode.) Also, I would like to be able to drag the timer at the bottom of the screen to the portion of the show I’d like to view rather than having to use the fast forward button. Maybe this is possible in an upgraded version?

So, if anyone can pull some strings to make those things happen for me, that would be super. Really, really super. I can’t pay you $20 million though.


MEP said...

My Dish Network DVR does allow me to sort items into folders, but it is not all that it's cracked up to be. You can't choose which programs to place in a folder. It's all or nothing. I too would love to have folders for the old stuff I want to save and for Barney, Tubbies, etc. However, I don't want the precious-shows-I-have-not-yet-watched in folders lest I overlook them. As for the drive-thru earache lane, I would be down with that. Also, in the early months of motherhood, I found myself wishing there was a drive-thru lane where you could buy diapers, breast pads (TMI, I know), formula, etc.

Anonymous said...

Just keep bouncing thoseideas around, one of these days I have a vision of you on Oprah. I would love to be a part of that outing. M

Anonymous said...

Work is overrated and I for one am all about inventing something and making my millions. LAP, since we both live in the area maybe we should set up weekly brainstorm ideas. And FYI - I still cannot bring myself to delete the Dancing with The Stars Finale of Drew and Cheryl's memorable "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" number. That has been saved for a year and a half NTB. - Em Fagel

CJR said...

I have been telling people for years if money is what you want, just sell something and claim it is good for the abs. It does not matter what it is. A rubber band. A wheel with handles. An "ab lounger" to make what you did to get bad abs the thing that gives you good abs. A dining hall tray (recall the "body blade" -- same principle). A rock. Whatever. Just identify a thing, then claim it helps the abs, then charge 19.95 or a multiple thereof and you are rich.

Everyone else working just for money is wasting their time.

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