May 7th, 2012
03:23 PM ET

Quirky.com: where inventions go public

Americans are known for being a nation of tinkerers –  inventors with imagination, creativity and pluck. But despite that legacy, and the largest consumer market in the world, it’s nearly impossible for an average inventor to see their idea actually make it to store shelves.

Ben Kaufman is determined to change that. He is the 25-year-old founder and CEO of Quirky.com, an innovative startup that is turning ideas into real-life products.

Kaufman, subject of last Sunday's "The Next List" on CNN, says his mission is “to make it possible for all people to execute on their great ideas, regardless of their luck, their circumstance or their pedigree. To give everyone a chance.”

The Quirky process leverages the power of thousands of community members and the experience of top-notch designers to take an idea from the “what if” stage all the way to the marketplace. Members not only vote on the products they’d like to see, they double as built-in buyers. And everybody who influences the final product gets a cut.

After only three years of operation, Quirky expects to pull in more than $20 million in sales revenue this year.

Joe Pine, veteran business consultant and author of “Infinite Possibilities,” says consumers are looking for the type of experiences that Quirky offers.

“To be on that site is an experience, to be able to contribute to it is an experience, to feel a part of a production process is an experience. And then you have the opportunity to be able to recognize the creation of something that you envisioned, and that’s just a powerful, powerful incentive.”

Kaufman is shaking up the way consumer products come to stores. More importantly, he is opening up a path to invention for anyone with a great idea.

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Filed under: Innovation • Internet • Tech • The Next List • Video
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. matt hinkel

    my idea is make a fiber optic u.s. flag that you plug into a 120 volt outlet. it would light up at night elimating the need for a spotlight at night shining on flag. it would wave in the wind.

    September 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  2. Sustanon 250 mg

    But i want to tell that this whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com is extremely helpful, Thanks for taking your time to write this. regards

    December 3, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
  3. dj quimper

    Je navigue plus souvent sur le net avec la visite de Quirky.com: where inventions go public – What's Next – CNN.com Blogs.

    August 8, 2012 at 6:03 am | Reply
    • Muzammil

      as much about access as much as it does about culutral norms and practices. Secondary education in the two countries is drastically different, and in general (from what I've read, at least) a person with a secondary education in the UK is more prepared for the workforce than a comparative individual with similar education in the US. (Here I could tangent off into a discussion on how I think our education system is flawed, but that's for another blog comment another time, I guess!)As for food deserts, I'm not sure why international comparability is relevant; in my understanding, they're an American phenomenon caused by our unique structure of food distribution. My reason for bringing this up in response to your comment on American spending was mainly to say that, regardless of American tendencies, I think you're asking the wrong question to begin with. The question isn't so much Are Americans cheap? but What is the status of consumer access that influences these buying decisions? Far more interesting!

      October 24, 2012 at 5:39 am | Reply
  4. Andrey

    iPapy qu'a tu fait ?Ce Podcast est tout simplement e9norme Et c'est arvrier d'Adrien au moment cle9s de la Keynote, tel Zorro arrivant au moment qu'il faut et brandissant son e9pe9e pour de9fendre les adorateur de la Pomme, qui n'aime pas eatre pris pour des bille Adrien je te rejoins e0 100% ce que tu as dit.Apple nous met e0 jour son iPhone pour l'OS 3.0, met ou sont les coques e0 fleur et multicolore ? ou est la came9ra frontal ? Ou je met les grains de cafe9 ??? Reviens Steve Reviens (JPP si tu nous lit)Une question me turlupine depuis la Keynote : Pourquoi le Control vocal n'est disponible que sur le 3G S ?J'utilise actuellement un Nokia E71 ainsi iPhone 3G est je ne vois pas d'inte9reats pour le moment e0 migrer vers un iPhone 3G S Le seul inte9reat cote9 iPhone sur cette Keynote et l'OS 3.0, qui apre8s 1 ans nous autorise enfin e0 l'utiliser le Push Notification et aussi comme un vrai GPS au passage TomTom e0 l'air vraiment sympa.Pour ce qui est des MMS il e9tait temps !J'espe8re que cette ensemble ne nous fasse pas exploser l'autonomie de machine qui e9tait de9je0 un peu limiter.Sinon je sent qu'un MacBook Pro 15 va faire mal e0 mes e9conomies !Merci pour cette Mowbli’s Radio, en espe9rant une nouvelles tre8s prochainement.Loefc

    June 12, 2012 at 1:39 am | Reply
  5. social network

    kind of kickstarterish?

    May 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  6. Athar Afzal

    Wow – this is encouraging. I know of a similar service in Toronto, ON called sprouter.com, where they faciliate entrepreneurs to share and showcase ideas. The great thing about them is the Q&A offered by existing successful entrepreneurs.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply
  7. Norman Zachary Taylor

    Please view my invention on Youtube called Taylor's Juicer, it is made for the safety and convenience of drivers and passengers traveling on the highways, no need to stop along the highways just fill up this container with any beverage and with a press of a button your juice is dispensed into a cup. It is so unique even a child can operate. Please give me a chance. Thank you, your response will be greatly appreciated.

    May 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply

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