Invent It and Quirky May Build It (if the crowd likes it)

How many times have you seen a new product and thought to yourself, “I had that idea!!” Sure you did…at least some variation, right? But ideas without action are just ideas. Most of my own are fantasy-driven such as the :60 second blow dry (going to the car wash to dry my hair is not an option). I’m equally obsessed with my dog’s paws which are the size of my head. Daily doggy walks with a 115 lb. Mastiff inspire gadgets I’ve dubbed Doggy Bombs and Dirty Pawz, but I’m not sharing. Not just yet.

Introducing Quirky, the innovative company that makes invention possible. Their revolutionary online platform is fueled by the crowdsourcing of user-generated ideas which are then analyzed and driven by a team of in-house engineering, design and marketing experts. For only $10 (less than a salted margarita in NYC), a user uploads an idea and receives constructive feedback from the community. Every Friday, the Quirky team selects two ideas to be reviewed for internal consideration, with the deliberations viewable on Quirky Live. Winning ideas are prototyped, branded, manufactured and marketed. If you’re successful, you’ll be collecting royalties for the duration of the product cycle.


If you’re more the opinionated type, become a community contributor and let someone know why their idea rocks or needs a serious overhaul. Vote for the products you would love to see created. Take surveys. Choose product colors. Track. Comment. Share.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say — but what do I get out of helping someone else besides good karma? Profit-sharing.

By “distributing the power of influence,” Quirky’s founder Ben Kaufman invites individuals to have “a little piece of something huge.”

If the product you collaborated/commented/shared makes it to shelves or an online shopping cart, you will share in the revenue (30-40% is divvied up according to influence and contribution level).  Sure it could be a penny on the dollar, but all it takes is one Snuggie-like fad to make serious dough.


Kaufman, an enthusiastic 25-year-old isn’t just a young guy with a cool idea. He’s been there, done that. In high school. What were you doing in high school, besides sneaking booze out of your parent’s liquor cabinet?  Kaufman’s parents mortgaged their house to fund his invention, he hopped a flight to China and returned to launch a successful iPod accessories company, Mophie, which he later sold. But don’t worry, no need to beg family members to finance your dream. You now have a community and Quirky is it.

While weekly viewings of Shark Tank may light your inner Thomas Edison, Quirky is 24/7 and addictive. Leave Mr. Wonderful, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban on DVR, and check out Quirky’s scrolling user-submitted inventions to get inspired:


Equally addictive: the Quirky Pricing Game. This is for ideas that have made it much further down the product funnel, and gives new meaning to making test metrics fun.


Any initial skepticism I had was shoved aside when I viewed their online store. One of Quirky’s bestsellers looked very familiar. That’s because I have three (!) in my apartment, Pivot Power:


Seriously, the sexiest power outlet ever. Browsing their online catalog has me itching to grab my Visa card now. Beware!

What I’d love to see from Quirky next:

Campus Creator Lockdown. It’s no surprise that a large majority of great ideas and hot startups were first sparked in college dorm rooms and born out of grad school theses. Bring Quirky’s masters to campus and lock them up (with food and water) with a group of inventive students for 48 hours and see if they can bring their idea to life.

QuirkyTV. I’d had enough of the Pawn Store spinoffs and Orange-glazed Plastic Wives of Wherever, I’d love to watch a web video series capturing the workday unfolding at this New York City mind meld. I want to see  brain burn, sweat stains, Macs being tossed, round-the-clock building and then finally — the end result! A few video snapshots posted on the site provide a sneak preview, but I want more! And the heck with cable TV, this web series should be pitched to YouTube. With massive fragmentation among TV audiences, who needs the constant pressure of impossible ratings that turn reality shows into scripted BS.


Quirky, you’ve made my DigiDay!



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