Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Threat Contest Business Ideas

For this contest, the goal is to create fear. Not just any fear, but a fear that you can alleviate through the sale of your new product idea. There are lots of risks out there, some of them serious, some of them so unlikely that we shouldn't worry about them, and some of them completely made up. And there are lots of products out there that provide security against those risks. Your job is to invent one.

First, find a risk or create one. It can be a terrorism risk, a criminal risk, a natural-disaster risk, a common household risk -- whatever. The weirder the better. Then, create a product that everyone simply *has to* buy to protect him- or herself from that risk. And finally, write a catalog ad for that product.

Here's an example:

"A Turtle is Safe in Water, A Child is Not! Even with the most vigilant supervision a child can disappear in seconds and not be missed until it's too late. Our new wireless pool safety alarm system is a must for pool owners and parents of young children. The Turtle Wristband locks on the child's wrist (a special key is required to remove it) and instantly detects immersion in water and sounds a shrill alarm at the Base Station located in the house or within 100 feet of the pool, spa, or backyard pond. Keep extra wristbands on hand for guests or to protect the family dog."

Will be judged on creativity, originality, persuasiveness, and plausibility.

It's okay if the product you invent doesn't actually exist, but this isn't a science fiction contest.

Portable salmonella detectors for salad bars.
Acoustical devices that estimate tiger proximity based on roar strength.
GPS-enabled wallets for use when you've been pickpocketed.
Wrist cuffs that emit fake DNA to fool DNA detectors.
The Quantum Sleeper.
Fear offers endless business opportunities.

Good luck.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Solve the Impossible Business Ideas
As a college student, George studied very hard and always late into the night. So late that he overslept one morning, arriving 20 minutes late for class. He quickly copied the two math problems on the board, assuming they were the homework assignment. It took him several days to work through the two problems, but finally he had a breakthrough and dropped the homework on the professor's desk the next day.

Later, on a Sunday morning, George was awakened at 6 a.m. by his excited professor. Since George was late for class, he hadn't heard the professor announce that the two unsolvable equations on the board were mathematical mind teasers that even Einstein hadn't been able to answer. But George Dantzig, working without any thoughts of limitation, had solved not one, but two problems that had stumped mathematicians for thousands of years.

Simply put, George solved the problems because he didn't know he couldn't.

Bob Proctor tells us to "keep reminding yourself that you have tremendous reservoirs of potential within you, and therefore you are quite capable of doing anything you set your mind to. All you must do is figure out how you can do it, not whether or not you can. And once you have made your mind up to do it, it's amazing how your mind begins to figure out how."