The Strangest Ideas That Made People Rich
We all have illusions of grandeur. We fuel these wayward dreams by imagining the fame and fortune we could amass by following through on that million dollar idea that’s been rattling around our brain for who knows how many years. Nevertheless, doubt and wavering belief tend to quickly follow once the enormity of the undertaking is fully appreciated. Now hold on to that thought while you read about the six weirdest ideas that made millions.
The Million Dollar Homepage
Created in 2005 by Alex Tew, the goal behind this website was to raise enough money to help pay for college tuition. Individual pixels were sold for a $1 apiece. Initially meant as a gag, the notoriety of the site become widespread with every pixel being sold off. Alex Tew reportedly made a net profit of $650,000.
This ingenious idea made a reported $15 million in its first six months! Creator Gary Dahl, an advertising executive, launched an ambitious marketing effort that’s only objective was to create fever throughout the internet and profit off the pandemonium.
It worked. His pitch to prospective buyers was a chance to own a pet that was completely “hassle-free.” The pet rock came with a training manual and cardboard box that could be used to transport the rock around.
Yellow Smiley Face
Originally created by Harvey Ball, you’re probably more likely to associate the yellow smiley face with America’s largest retail chain, Wal-Mart. Harvey first drew the image in 1963 when he was working for Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio as a freelance contractor. Having never applied for a trademark or copyright, Harvey only earned $45 for his work.
Bernard and Murray Spain, two brothers from Philadelphia, started to sell products with the logo and added the now famous catchphrase “have a nice day” attached to it. Acting quickly, they trademarked the logo and phrase and proceeded to create a fad in pop culture. Their efforts led them to a windfall of about $50 million by the time the consumers had moved on in 1971.