How bad can it get?

Well, this proves you really need more than a great idea or product. If these stupid things sell better than your brainchild you have to work harder on your marketing skills.

Invention vs innovation
Any one can come up with an invention, it certainly doesn’t have to be a good one. The trick to elevate it into an innovation is to make sure many others use and benefit from it. Well, they don’t really have to benifit from it. In the case of these crappy infomercial items, the video clip above shows, the inventors have done a great job marketing their horrible stuff. Most likely more than a few idiots have purchased them and thus turned these piece of shit inventions into innovations.

Complaining is futile
You and I can surely come up with something better. But before we complain about it we should try getting your super usable invention that will birng world peace and improve the every day life of humanity in to an innovation. That is the truly hard part.

Missing the deadline

Illustration of breaking pants.
Rushing production might result in material failure.

An earlier SNAFU* with the bastard advisor had delayed my progress. Now everything was rushed on to deliver in time for the retailers catalogue.

Just in time… NOT!
I was in a very tight spot. They released their catalogue twice a year and wanted my Gearfix drill bit holder in the next edition. But I was in the middle of developing it and could not guarantee it would be ready in time. In fact, I couldn’t guarantee anything.

Worlds best retailer
They were concerned of me rushing the development and told me about another invention they had last year. He had a very clever tool, but it was rushed into production. That resulted in material failure and they had to recall all units. It simply broke apart in the hands of the customers and the product got such a bad reputation it never recovered.
He ended saying -”Developing new products have to take its time. It’s better you aim for next years catalogue Martin.”.

Yep, I missed it
I even missed our next deadline by a few weeks. But it was about five months until the next catalogue so no one really bothered. However, not being in the catalogue from start turned out to have a negative impact later on.

*Situation Normal All Fucked Up

Blind test

Naked illlustration
It went something like this.

The manufacturer was curious of my choice of material for the drill bit holder. So was I.

Rubber samples
I got a few strings of an elastic plastic they manufactured something else with. It was a bit stiff but very resilient. I had no clue of what I was doing so I just say OK and hoped for the best. I moulded the prototypes in my basement with a cookie jar and figured these experts should be capable to do this much better than me.

Casually taking a plunge
You have to be a bit naïve going forward with a venture like this. I often have to take calculated risks based on gut feelings. Comparable to jumping in a pool hoping to learn to swim before drowning.

Was it a floater?
The actual result was a metaphorically equivalent to the pool being empty (as my illustration). There was no water to drown in but I was presented to another equally troublesome problem. Something I’ll write about in future posts.

Package developement

Gearfix box design.
Early box design.

Sometimes the container of your innovation seems more important than the actual product. This really sucks when you don’t have any money.

The Gearfix shape
Needs explanation.

A strange product
Gearfix looks a little peculiar and its shape doesn’t really help you understand it’s a drill bit holder. A functional presentation was important. I thought the consumer should be able to feel the product to understand it was elastic and could wrap around his/her machine nicely.

In a perfect world…
… you wouldn’t need to spend cash advertising stuff. Every one would intuitively understand their needs. But reality bites and I had no money. The package had to catch the customers attention, advertise and educate them instantly.

Candy box filled with rubber.
This candy box would have been perfect. But the candyman wouldn’t sell any to me.

Thinking inside the box
My Gearfix invention would have a small paper tag with the necessary information. And if I put a bunch of them in a nice box there would be plenty of eye catching box space to profile my gadget.

Sugar daddy got what you need
For the first order I only needed about 60 retail packaging boxes. I looked around for quick and cheap solutions. Custom designing them would probably be super expensive and I found a special chocolate-candy box that was perfect. But the manufacturer wasn’t interested in helping me out. Sugar daddy was cruel and I had to think of another way to solve this.

International expandation

usaI just made a sale to one more country. What does it take to call your self an international business man?

Google translates version of the above:

  • swedenJag gjorde bara en försäljning till ytterligare ett land. Vad krävs det för att ringa din egen internationell affärsman?
  • polandZrobiłem sprzedaży na jeszcze jeden kraj. Co trzeba zrobić, aby zadzwonić do siebie międzynarodowej działalności człowieka?
  • norwayJeg har nettopp gjort et salg til en mer land. Hva vil det ta å ringe deg selv en internasjonal business mann?
  • canadaJe viens de faire une vente à un autre pays. Que faut-il appeler votre auto un homme d’affaires international?