Solving three challenges of innovation

One of the challenges for many inventors is identifying the market potential of their idea.  Another challenge is manufacturing their idea.  Perhaps the biggest challenge is distributing and selling their idea.

Check out how Quirky solves all three of these problems by crowdsourcing opinons about new products and helping inventors to get started.  Some of the products developed on the website even sell on HSN!

SXSW – The First Morning

I spent the weekend in Austin at South by Southwest Interactive with the imo team, which I recently joined.

This was my first time at SXSW and I had a great time.  The event was much larger than I expected – close to 20,000 attendees over the course of a week.  This made for some pretty packed sessions and escalator rides!

I arrived late on Friday night, so the first panel I attended was on Saturday morning – Social Media Mythbusters, presented by Peter Kim of the Dachis Group.  Peter had some fantastic examples of memorable marketing campaigns, including one from Nuts Online about their “nutty” campaign to save Jericho.  Nuts Online shipped 40,000 pounds of nuts to CBS to lobby for the show to be saved.

I’ve met Jeff from Nuts Online and I love that the company is a family business that has been passed down for three generations.  I also love that they sell the most excellent chocolate-covered macedemia nuts ever!

Back on track.

I then attended a “Core Conversation” (i.e. an interactive session in which the participants and speakers sit in a circle and interact closely), hosted by Cathy Brooks, Founder & Raconteur at Other Than That, and Ellen Mcgirt, Senior Writer at Fast Company.  I’ve been a subscriber to Fast Company for 7(!) years, so I was excited to listen to the hosts’ (and fellow participants) discussion of online identities and authenticity, and let Ellen know that I’m a loyal subscriber.

After the session, I met Michael Margolis of Get Storied, a professional storyteller.  Michael helps companies and individuals create narratives around their work and passions, which I thought was a fun way to spend the work day 🙂

And that was just the start…

The Ultimate Evangelist

One of the great things about living in California is the proximity to In-N-Out Burger.  As I got out of my car outside the In-N-Out in Mountain View a few weeks ago, I saw a sleek roadster pull up into the space next to me.  From the sound of the engine (or lack thereof), I knew it was a Tesla.  My husband and I admired it from afar as we enjoyed our burgers.

As it turned out, the owner was leaving In-N-Out right behind us and my husband complimented the driver on his car.

“Do you want a ride?” was the owner’s response.

It turns out that the owner had bought the $100K Tesla specifically to share the experience of driving it with others.  He has become my reference point for the ultimate evangelist, despite his denial of being an evangelist and insistence that he just believed people need to overcome their misconceptions about the technology. While companies may hire evangelists for their products, here was a consumer willing to spend $100K on a relatively new product (his car was #40-something off the line) to educate the public about its greatness.  He says that he regularly offers people rides and often lends the car to his friends to share it with others.  Wow.

Oh, and the ride was amazing.  When the driver punches the “go” pedal (no longer the “gas” pedal), the car just takes off – it’s almost eerie not to hear the gear shifting as you are pushed back into your seat by the force of the rapid acceleration.  What a way to end an unassuming outing to In-N-Out.

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The New Blog

This blog continues the conversation about innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and technology from my previous blog for Young Inventors International.

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