When I woke up the other day, I had this idea for a product. Seriously, the perfect name for it came to me immediately. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because I want to do some research and see if it already exists — and also because you might laugh, or steal my idea. And if it doesn’t exist, I might do something others are doing in this Internet age to take their ideas to market.
The same day I had my inspired moment, I ran across a video on cnn.com about Quirky.com, a company that touts itself as accomplishing “what was once unthinkable: bringing one brand new product concept from sketch to store each week.”
Quirky is a social product development company. Would-be inventors submit product ideas and the Quirky community and team work on them, deciding which are worthwhile and tweaking them. Quirky then sells the product worldwide and shares the revenue with the inventor and all influencers who vote for the winning idea.
As the company explains in its FAQ: "Say your awesome idea is the awesome idea of the week and chosen to move forward ... right there, you've just earned yourself about 40 percent influence. If you want that to sound even cooler, we could say it like this - that means you're pocketing 12¢ for every dollar your product brings in online, and 4¢ on every dollar the product brings in at retail. Seriously, that's pretty unreal. B-b-but wait, it only gets better ... because your influence can grow just like everyone else's by continuing to weigh in and rate ideas throughout your product's process."
Forty percent influence? What is influence? According to the FAQ, influence appears to be money earned by contributing winning ideas or voting for them.
Of course, before jumping on the Quirky bandwagon, I'd have to wade through the site's legalize, which could take some time. And I'd have to decide whether I want my product made in China. Ugh …
I searched the Quirky site for information about the manufacturers it uses. Couldn't find any. Maybe it's there, but its location isn't obvious to me. I know a little something about Web sites, enough to know that when you want someone to see something on your site, you make it highly visible — easy for visitors to find. If information about Quirky's manufacturers is on its site, it's buried somewhere.
However, I continued to search the Internet and found this gem of a video on YouTube in which Quirky founder, Ben Kaufman — who went directly to China at the age of 18 to have his first invention manufactured — explains the decision to have Quirky products made in China, at least for the time being. Apparently the company looked at U.S. manufacturing, but couldn't find a domestic producer who could meet the desired production timeframe or price point. In the video, Kaufman invites manufacturers worldwide to contact his company immediately "if you think you can provide a quick turnaround time, quality product in an ethical, humane manufacturing environment, we're interested. That’s Quirky. You know how to reach us. The little tiny dinosaur at Quirky.com."
I must need to have my eyes examined. I couldn’t find the dinosaur either. But a general e-mail address can be found on the site’s contact page.
I’m not sure Quirky's for me, and apparently, for the time being, it isn't for U.S. manufacturing either.
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