Categorized | seriously smart

In the “I wish I thought of that” department . . .


Fifteen years ago, I figured out I could clean my keyboard with Play-Doh. Why, oh, why didn’t I add antiseptic, a huge dose of day-glo jimmy juice, and then patent the damn thing?!

Looking a bit like a irradiated version of BOB the blob from Monsters Vs. Aliens, this gob of gook is one of the most brilliant products we’ve seen in, oh, at least a few hours. Like some grown-up version of Play-Doh, you just push and mush this stuff down on your keyboard or whatever and it removes all the garbage. (Remember Ethan Hawke in Gattaca with his ultra-teensy vacuum removing all stray biological bits from his keyboard every afternoon to prevent anyone from snooping around in his genetics? Betcha he wished he had a fistful of this goo in his pocket.)

As an added bonus — this is the part the folks at CyberClean probably missed — you can probably talk your 4-year old into cleaning your computer and your car and your cell phone. “Hey, little br–er–angel, here’s a brand new toy!” If, that is, you trust your computer or your car or your cell phone to the wise and considered judgment of a four-year old.

We here at Shoestring Venture feature new and brilliant product ideas just to let you know that the library of brilliant products is far from saturated. Fifteen years ago, I began using Play-Doh to clean my keyboard and thought it a wondrous flight of inventive imagination. I could, of course, have leveraged the idea into a money-making business, but, well, I wasn’t that imaginative.

The very best product ideas, to my mind, have an indisputable obviousness to them, a back-of-the-mind, gnawing feeling that this product is so obvious it should already have been invented. Don Debelak calls it the “wow” factor; I call it the “obvious” factor. The more head-slappingly obvious a product seems, the more likely you’ve got a hit on your hands.

Once you see the video, you’ll slap your forehead, too. (Yeah, this stuff has been around 6 months already, but we just happened on it.)


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