16th of July, 2020
We consistently talk about how as humans we continually strive to produce more with less. To become more productive, more efficient and ultimately more profitable.
Unfortunately humans far from perfect creatures. The concept of the Investor’s Emotional Rollercoaster is proof of this. Typically investors feel most comfortable investing right at the point of MAXIMUM RISK.
Conventional economics assumes that as a species we will make rational decisions to ensure that we receive the best outcome for any set of decisions.
I think this is complete and absolute rubbish and to help prove my point I would like to introduce you to some of the worlds’ most unnecessary inventions.
These are gadgets that do NOT improve one’s standard of living. Contraptions that clearly show that given a finite set of resources (as modern economics expects us to believe), there is NO way that human ingenuity was best focused to achieve a more productive outcome.
Humans are NOT a rational species. And despite what free market economics preaches to us, we do NOT always ensure that our constrained resources are put to use for the most productive purposes.
Below are some of my favourite useless gadgets. Some of them were a commercial success however didn’t do much for society.
I think you will enjoy the videos…
1. The Butter Stick
Finding it difficult to spread that refrigerated butter onto your toast? Well maybe you should try the ButterStick…
No more knives, just a handy stick of butter ready to easily spread at your convenience. Hard to understand how we survived so long without it…
At last, underpants for our hands!
With a multitude of uses and even longer list of those occupations and segments of the community it can assist, Handerpants will do everything from keeping your gloves fresh to ensuring sanitary handshakes.
Fashioned in old tighty-whities, the sales pitch is enthusiastic if nothing else! But you have to give them credit for thinking of everything, as even the Handerpants Ring tone is available for download
Now here is an interesting invention. Retailing at the discounted price of $12 bucks, it’s the NoPhone.
Described on their website as “The least advanced phone, ever” and it has:
- No Screen
- No Battery
- No Phone
Its specification include:
- Zero MP Pictures
- Zero GB storage
- Zero % phone
- Zero warranty
The NoPhone was pitched on the Shark Tank as a “technology free alternative” (Click here to watch https://www.thenophone.com/blogs/news/116858371-the-nophone-will-be-on-shark-tank) and even caught the eye of Time Magazine (to view click here https://time.com/4066321/nophone-zero/). The NoPhone has no warranty and is not intended to be used for anything.
They do claim that the revolutionary design is “Completely toilet bowl resistant” and you can purchase it with the “Selfie” upgrade so that you can send selfies to yourself in real time, via a mirror……
4. YOUR ROCK PET ROCK
In the 1970s, Gary Dahl, as a joke conceptualised the idea of “The Pet Rock” that ended up selling over 1.5M in the first six months!
Each Pet Rock comes housed on a bed of straw within a cardboard box complete with breathing holes.
These Pet Rocks are the perfect pet according to Gary as they don’t need to be fed or exercised. They don’t get sick and are never disobedient. However, to ensure that first time owners knew what they were doing, each rock comes with an official 32-page training manual.
Want to buy your very own Pet Rock complete with walking leash? There’s even a modern version that includes a USB port (that also does nothing) – they still sell them on Amazon.com
5. Big Mouth Billy Bass
Big Mouth Billy Bass ‘The Singing Fish’ hardly needs any introduction. Originally created in the late 1990’s, this singing fish on a board became a huge sensation – although you really have to wonder why?
In its prime, Billy could be found hanging on the walls of George Bush’s oval office and in the Queen’s Balmoral castle. With a cost price of $4.50 a unit, this extremely annoying fish made 100’s of millions in profit, although the necessity of this invention and productivity gains from this Billy Bass still remains a mystery!
Doggles – yep you read that right – Doggles!
Now I have a dog, big Tex, the Boxer – he’s a fun loving dog who lives a pretty cushy existance. BUT- Sunglasses for a dog?
Doggles is of course a play on Goggles: for your dog. But really…
“When her border collie struggled to see the Frisbee on a sunny day during a game of fetch, Roni Di Lillo decided to invent Doggles, a pair of tinted glasses for dogs”
Get a prescription from your vet or a vet ophthalmologist? No problem, prescription Doggles are available too!
And NO! Tex does not have any Doggles!
7. WALKING SLEEPING BAG
Rodrigo Alonso Sleep and Wear System solves the age-old problem of lack of movement being the greatest obstacle that the majority of sleeping bag users face.
Being able to remain comfy and warm with a degree of mobility while camping is solved by the Selk Bag’s Sleep and wear system. So instead of putting on a jacket or thermal underwear while sitting around a camp fire on a cold night you can just pop on your Walkable Sleeping bag where you can move and stretch your body freely.
Due to the ability to reposition your body without restraint, the applications are endless relaxing or reading on the sofa, nap in the office, nurse the patient in the night and so the list goes on…
8. CAR LASHES
I’m not sure who decided that cars needed eyelashes or even why.
Available in sparkly, chrome, ombre, iridescent, and more, these lush-lashes fit right over the headlights enhancing your cars personality.
You can even get diamond crystal eyeliner “for extra exterior vehicle decoration”
9. Clip On Cup Holder for Office Table or Desk
I’ve racked my brains and still fail to see the need for this one? A coaster, OK, but a Clip-on-Cup-Holder for your office table or desk, now that’s got me beat!
Its marketing promotional material includes
- Strong grip that can be tightly attached to your desk.
- Can be attached to any tables up to 1.5″ thick,
But why you would not just put the cup on your table is a complete mystery to me….
10. The KING of Unnecessary Inventions
It would be amiss of me not to reference the KING of Unnecessary Inventions and the inspiration for this blog “Matt Benedetto”.
This guy is a genius at, as his website says, creating products that solve problems that don’t really exist by creating products that no one is really asking for.
There are literally hundreds of useless inventions and here are Matts top 10 Unnecessary Inventions
- Right Round Ramen – Rotating Chopsticks
- Road Rage Restrictors
- Jiffy Cuts – Cut all your nails at once
- Bubble Bursting Belt Buckle
- Helping Hand Visor
- Turtle Zipper Neck
- Family Feud Fender
- Dual-Odorant – Swipe both pits with one flick
- Inferno Knuckles
Want to see more of Matts completely useless inventions, then visit: https://www.instagram.com/unnecessaryinventions/
Efficient Use of Resources
Economics textbooks teach us that with limited resources and unlimited wants, humans will make the most efficient use of our available resources to create the maximum outcome.
That we will act in a rational manner with logical actions.
I think you would all agree, from the above examples, that humans don’t always make good rational choices or make the best use of our resources.
We are emotional creatures, where fear, greed and the need to feel included and safe within “the crowd” distorts our actions.
It is why regardless of what “theories” are being taught we must look to how human actions manifest in reality.
How we react, the decisions we make both without and whilst under pressure have not changed over time and history can be a great guide with this.
Let’s not pretend we are completely and robotically rational. So let’s not expect completely and robotically rational investment decisions to be made by investors.
After all markets are just a group of “handerpants wearing, butter stick spreading, nophone holding, rock walking, sleeping bag wearing, Billy bass listening to” individuals…..
I think you get the picture!