I'm trying to become a contestant on the reality TV show Shark Tank, which gives real live inventors a chance to ask real live investors for money.
The thing is, I don't have a real live invention.
I'm not really great with patents, or TM symbols, or building and testing things. I don't have what you might call "follow through." I don't like "leg work." Toil over one invention for eight years? Boring. Units sold? Ick.
And then there are all the parameters you've got to work in these days: no animal testing, no child labor, no lead. Sounds hard.
But I do have ideas for inventions. I come up with ideas for inventions every day. Just last night, I invented the InstaWall ™, a sound proof metal divider that descends from the ceiling to the bed, separating me from my snoring husband. Clap on, and the InstaWall ™ retracts back. There might be a few kinks.
I'm convinced that if you put me in the Shark Tank, I'll be gobbled up. Wait, that doesn't sound right.
What I mean is, the investors on the show are going to love me if they can just hear my ideas. All I'm asking for is a 47-minute brain dump. I have thousands of post-it notes that I could read detailing invention after invention, such as the Note-It Note, square pieces of pale paper that invite consumers to jot down their thoughts and then stick them to random places. Nah, toss that one.
When an idea has already been done, I just think to myself, "Confirms my brilliance."
I have ideas that will make Apple wish they'd return my phone calls, and IBM second-guess that restraining order. QVC could start a new channel just to sell my ideas. I'm not trying to be cocky, but you know that saying, "Somebody should invent that"? Well that "somebody" is me, only the saying goes, "Somebody should invent an idea for that."
I know the investors on Shark Tank would love me if they would just listen. No, I wouldn't bring a "patent-pending product" to the show. That's not the point. It's my ideas that I'm selling.
Lately, I've been getting so caught up watching Shark Tank that I haven't had much time for inventing ideas. I think the investors were dead right when they didn't throw their money at that cellulite-reducing tape. I waffled a bit on the puppy cake. And I sat up most of the night thinking about the man they swindled out of his wine-preserving balloon.
But then I think, hey, it's bloody out there, this is a shark eat shark world. If I get in the Tank and the investors start badgering me around, saying, "Oh, where's your product?" and "Oh, you're a crazy person", I won't just lie there and play dead. I've got a thousand responses written on Note-It Notes, like, "It's time for the grown-ups to talk. Kevin, make me a serious offer and we'll do business."
Also, "Okay, $5,000 instead of $40,000."
Also, "Well all my friends think this is a great idea, so there."
Possibly: "Excuse me while I take this call from Bain Capital."
Where do I get my inspiration? I've been coming up with inventions and not inventing them my whole life. My father did the same, so I guess you can say it's in the genes.
My Dad would look out the window of the car as he drove, pat my knee and say, "Son, one day you and me are going to..." And I would interrupt him and say, "Dad, I'm a girl."
So you could say I'm trying to fulfill my father's wish as his non-son.
When I'm really honest with myself, if I really let the cat out of the kidnap bag (isn't that what your family called it?), I'm not sure I'm cut out for this whole "idea" business.
Wouldn't it be great if other people came up with the ideas, and did the grunt work?
I wish there was a job where I could swoop in at the end of the invention process and make tons of money off of other people's hard work and ingenuity, shaping the product with my advice and giving a couple grand to keep the inventor afloat until we cash in.
Wait, that's it. That's my golden ticket. That's my "snuggie" (thought of that one). I'm meant to be an investor, not an inventor. I'm a shark, not the bait.
Investors, have I got a proposition for you: $50,000 will get you a 30 percent share in my investment firm, Tady & Son. The first thing I'm going to fund is a product called the InstaWall ™, and I've got a few ideas about how to make it better.
Follow Megan Tady on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MegTady