Think Small and Go Big

July 1, 2013

This morning I read a blog by NY Times contributor David Pogue on innovative products that solve small problems . If you have time, check it out. There are a few cool products that might raise your eyebrows.

Lego Star Wars figures with R2D2

Pogue’s piece made me think of the controversial and widely panned talk that the Silicon Valley angel investor Dave McClure gave this year at Big Omaha. McClure’s larger idea on focusing on small ideas that solved problems was lost on his unfortunate and vitriolic delivery. However, he did make a good point. McClure encouraged entrepreneurs to look at solving small problems. His philosophy is that we’ve accepted mediocrity as a new standard and ample opportunity existed in the marketplace for innovation by simply making some lackluster product or process better. My favorite example was airplane food.

Of the products discussed in Pogues blog, I really like the “Charge Card,” a much more portable charging solution for your mobile devices that fits in a wallet and does not require a cable. For me this product saves a couple of steps. I currently use a portable charging battery that is too bulky to carry in a pocket and requires frequent charging from an outlet prior to use. At $25, the Charge Card is a great value and comes with a lifetime guarantee. It’s not sexy but I see universal appeal here in this little wallet sized savior of the dying phone battery. I cannot risk the possibility of running out of juice prior to hitting the 150 picture quota of my bemused children playing outside. My facebook friends who pine for said pictures would be remiss.

Volano Solutions is working with another problem-solving innovator, Hunt Force. Hunt Force is a Louisville KY based software developer creating an application that will more easily manage the motion-detector photos used by hunters and taken by trail cameras. In a previous blog I mentioned that we were partnering up with start-up accelerator Straight Shot to help companies whose ideas helped solved problems. Hunt Force is a great example of a company that decided to make life a little easier for a group of people that had a common problem. The time hunters and property managers currently spend transferring data from these trail cameras and physically having to save and delete images took away from their time actually hunting.

So if you have time, check out the MagSafe product featured in David Pogue’s blog. McClure was right… That $20 glorified plastic clothespin might be the best spend in your IT budget this year. It doesn’t save the world but it solves a headache to which Mac users can attest.