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The Key To Your Brilliant Idea

Written by Gina Waldhorn

We’re all the world’s poorest billionaires, just letting our game-changing ideas rot away in our Notes app because for a multitude of reasons we can’t get past “I’ve got this great idea…”

We’ve got jobs. We’ve got kids. I’ve got a dog who lets himself out of my apartment.

The idea is the easy part (isn’t there a saying about ideas being like a**holes, everyone’s got one?), the execution is the true test. So having worked with hundreds of startup founders and successful inventors I’m going to give you a tip that can truly set you on your path towards buying that Palm Beach vacation home with the waterfall pool you’ve always wanted:

Find yourself a partner.

What’s that? You don’t want to give up 50% of your bajillion dollar idea? Well guess what, 50% of nothing is nothing, and that’s what you’re earning now, so get over yourself and get networking. Here’s why finding a partner is going to change the game for you:

  1. Humans because of necessity evolved into social beings. You’ll enjoy the journey when you’re not doing it along.
  2. You need to be held accountable. We can easily let ourselves down, but when we miss a deadline that sets someone else back we feel pretty terrible, which is strong motivation to progress.
  3. You need an unbiased opinion of your idea. Your mom won’t tell you clothes for hermit crabs isn’t a good idea, your future partner will.
  4. I’m 99.9% sure you don’t know it all. Whether you’re launching a SaaS solution, hardware product, or new smoothie mixture you’re going to need to employ a diverse set of skills across business and financial planning, development, manufacturing, sales, marketing…the list goes on. The right partner will complement your existing skill set by filling your gaps.

And here’s the amazing thing: right now there is someone out there who wants to partner with you! How can you find them? Try these tactics:

  1. Attend local meetups for founders, makers, and inventors. Try to join groups loosely in your area, e.g. the local hardware meetup or local SaaS meetup.
  2. Check out sites and events dedicated to helping you find a co-founder like CoFounders Lab or BuildItWith.Me. You’ll also find some great conversations happening on the CoFounder subreddit.
  3. Tell all your friends and family about your idea. You don’t need to worry about someone stealing your idea (unless your friends with Marc Zuckerberg), that’s another BS excuse we make for ourselves for not pitching. Chances are your future business partner is a friend of a friend thinking of doing something similar right now and you’re only one or two degrees away.

Once you’ve made that magical connection you can decide what type of partnership makes sense. I recommend always dating before you jump into a formal partnership. Spend time simply working next to each other and meeting a few milestones. Maybe you’ll end up the next Sergey and Larry, or maybe they simply provide enough of a reason to show up. Either way you’ve got 5 months left in 2018 to find that special someone and get that idea out of your Notes app and release it into the world. Palm Beach is calling…

Written originally for Linkedin.

OMG I’m so thirsty!

Written by Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky 

OMG I’m soooo thirsty!!

I’ve said it a thousand times. I’ll probably say it a thousand more.

But I’ll never say it again without recognizing I have no clue what it feels like to be truly thirsty.

I’ll never know the pain of having to walk 6 hours to find a source of clean drinking water, or carry that water on my back another 6 hours to bring it to my son. I turn on the tap and clean water flows out, and I walk to any one of the 20 bodegas on my block and choose from a myriad of overly designed bottles (or cartons or tubes) of spring, mountain, or even re-packaged NYC tap water.

Quirky recently teamed up with the philanthropic organization charity: water and my perspective was forever changed. There is a water crisis. But unlike so many of the other seemingly insurmountable problems facing the world today, the water crisis is solvable. IN MY LIFETIME.

I didn’t know much about charity: water except that as far as charities went they produced rather beautiful content, and felt more like a cool millennial brand than a typical charity. It was the Quirky community who suggested we partner with charity: water, and from my first step into their office (literally, see below) I knew the community had nailed it. charity: water changed the social good game with a transparent infrastructure that allows for complete accountability – so you can see exactly how they spend each and every penny collected to work with local boots on the ground to support operations and execute “water projects” that bring clean drinkable water to those who need it most. charity: water isn’t a movement. It’s a well oiled machine with strategic and tactical plans that deliver results.

Lissa Regets & I visit charity:water HQ

So we’ve launched the Water Changes Everything Invention Challenge to do our part in supporting their incredible mission. It’s easy to participate because we all drink, wash, and use water everyday, and we can all think of new/better ways to conserve and enjoy that water. From washing dishes to washing the dog, watering plants to slip & sliding, submit your water inventions to the challenge to make a difference. Submissions will be judged on their market potential because Quirky will be donating the profits from the winning invention sales to charity:water!

The challenge is open starting today – World Water Day – until April 23rd. Follow @Quirky on twitter for daily challenge inspiration. If you don’t have an idea yourself, check out the “needs my help” tab on your Quirky dashboard and contribute to others’ ideas. Or share our challenge with your network. Or donate directly to charity:water via our Quirky donation page here.

Quirky and Syracuse Partner to Make Invention Accessible

Students kicked off their spring semester with a 2-week invention challenge hosted by Quirky.

The community-led invention platform Quirky in partnership with Syracuse College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) partnered to deliver a one-of-a-kind invention experience for students coming back from winter break. When students arrived to start their spring semester at VPA, they were greeted by Quirky industrial design lead, Lex Zelekowitz, a Syracuse alumni and briefed on a Quirky invention challenge, The World’s Greatest Party Host, to design the next generation of party planning and hosting products.

Students were engaged and excited about the challenge – with multiple groups starting their brainstorming exercises within minutes following the brief. “This was a great group project, where students from freshmen to seniors had a chance to practice defining problems, communicating the solution and thinking about possible production methods. The collaboration was fantastic. Solutions truly emerged from anyone on the team,” said Denise Heckman, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Syracuse School of Design.

Students will not only receive a grade from the school on their design work, but also vie for the opportunity to be chosen to preview their invention idea live on Quirky partner HSN’s Monday evening show, American Dreams, a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs.

Nearly 100 students participated in the invention challenge, and more than 20 ideas were submitted over the 2 week period. The winning product or products will be selected in March. As new members of the Quirky community, students will also have the ability to receive product royalties if their idea is chosen and commercialized.

Knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts [industrial design] and math (STEAM) can be the key to a successful future. Some of the most well-known leaders of our time, including Steve Jobs and Marissa Mayer, demonstrated strong creativity and technical skills. “We invest in the younger generations because tech is the face of the future. 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills and we believe partnerships like the one we have with VPA will help prepare students for their careers,” says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Press: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/02/prweb15156514.htmq

Standing Up to the #CESSoMale Fail

Last week CES was exposed for the obnoxious lack of diversity on their Keynote Stage. Not one single female speaker, and almost 100% white men. After getting bombarded with blogs and tweets from major tech influencers, diversity advocates, and Fortune 1000 corporations calling for change, they issued the world’s worst excuse. In a nutshell, they said zero women “fit their criteria” for a coveted keynote spot.

Then that response got slammed and slammed again. Naturally. Because it’s pathetic.

CES could have easily added a handful of women and people of color to the keynote stage by expanding the lineup, or simply asking a few men to swap out their spots (of which I’m guessing many of them would have been happy to do). Or hire a badass PR agency like Small Girls to spell it out for them.

The good news? A handful of gender avengers have stepped up to launch their own programming track at CES dedicated to a conversation around the importance of diversity, and showcasing what CES was so blind to see. If you’re planning on attending the show in January, follow and add these sessions to your calendar to get an unbiased view of the incredible work being achieved:

Your fearless female leaders from Quirky (@gwaldhorn and @LissaRegets) will be hanging in the Quirky Invention Suite all week, so come pay us a visit too!