Friday, August 29, 2008

The secret of becoming an Everyday Edison?

I am selected as an Everyday Edison at their season 3 casting call. And I am working with them for my inventions at their innovation station and I had my successes and failures. Although I may not the best person to provide tips on how to become a winner for their show or product search; I do have my own observations and conclusions. I can post it on Edison Nation or inventorspot yet I choose not to. I like to keep a lose secret so I don't create strong competitor out there. So if you see this, just keep it to yourself and use it for yourself.

First, let’s look their official selection requirements:
1) The product/idea must have mass market appeal.
2) The product/idea must have novelty in order to get IP protection.
3) The product/idea must be able to be developed within a year in their workshop.

I can’t stress enough on how important requirement 1 and 2 are; yet I am more interesting at how requirement 3 will work out.

They said a year; in fact it’s more like 3 months at engineer department, and 3 months at marketing to manufacturing. They spent 6 months on selection process itself and left very limited time to develop each product. One observation from Stephen Key, a famous inventor is quoted and also at link

I noted that the products shared several important qualities. Each had a retail price that fell between $20 and $50. Additionally, only a single product was electronic. The remainder were extremely low-tech. EE’s development team (which is also featured on their website) simply doesn’t possess engineering skill needed to design and produce high-tech products. So, it appears clear that a product that is too expensive, too inexpensive, or too technological will not be selected.

Yes, I also noticed electronic is not their strong suit, they are good about wood or plastic, maybe some basic electrical; but not electronic. If there are some existing parts they can buy then maybe they can make it.
But why the $20-$50 comment? I think the reason is that they may become the vender of that product to their retailer customer. If a product only sells for $5 dollars in a mass production, do you think they want to go in and handle that kind of scale to make it economic sound? They are shooting for high profit margin and good profit in small to media quantity production. It would be best without any major investment.

And there is another piece of comment also from Steven:

The main focus of the TV show appears to be demonstrating the complex process that is required to bring a product to market, and especially how difficult it can be. EE wants to go look good – if you bring them a product that is already fairly finished or polished, part of the glory they seek is diminished. They want ideas they can actually mold and work on.

I think it’s also true for the TV show, but I am not so sure about live product search , but we will see.

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