Dan Klitsner & RITE
The next part is a tip. So the tip, which now, telling that story is important to give it context, 'cause we can relate back to it. This is sort of a tip on how do you sell, how do you know when your invention is ready, or your idea is ready to sell, your invention? And I like to say that everything, for Bop It to sell, everything had to be just R.I.T.E., R-I-T-E. Everything was right except the spelling of the word R.I.T.E., which has no G or H in it. But anyway, everything had to be R.I.T.E. So most people think, when they have a big idea, they go, I have, it's my idea. It's an amazing idea. It's something that I can take and that's all I need, this singular thing. It's like a giant pillar, and I'm gonna take this concept, and I'm gonna stick it up there on this table, on this pedestal, and that's all I need. Well, the problem with that is if you idolize just your idea, you miss something. One, it's kind of unstable. If you aren't careful, and if you don't, if that idea isn't so stab...
le and so big, the idea will fail. It'll fall off that table, that invention table. So that's just one part of this, if you know, the I, of course, stands for the Idea, in R.I.T.E. So that isn't the only thing you need to know when your invention is R.I.T.E. It can't just be your big idea. In fact, I is the second letter of this word, R.I.T.E. What's the first? It's an R. What does that stand for? If you wanna take a guess, it's in the word, it's part of the word, of the name of the person, who comes to see and look at your ideas. Inventor relations, the Relationship. So in any, selling in any idea, whether it's a champion, you could go deep into this idea of relationships. Relationships are, first, it isn't just, you need to know someone internally, it's your relationship with that company you're inventing for. Do you understand their culture? Do you, you don't just say, I have this idea, and you start trying to throw it all these people. You have to know which of those doors that are, which relationships actually want to look at your idea. The third thing is Timing. Timing is something you feel you can't control, but actually, if you have great relationships, you can control it, because you actually know that it's good timing, for this company, to show them this idea. This guy says, we're not doing games like this right now, but we should be. If he said, we're doing a lot of games like this right now, that's the other problem, is we don't need any more like this. So, the timing, when you evaluate, is very important. The last thing is the part where, you know when people say, I had that idea! That was my idea. I had that same idea a year ago. The timing, I was at perfect time, and I knew the right people. I showed it to them. Well, what it is is you think you have the same idea, but it's about Execution. This idea of animating people could have been done several ways. It was how it was executed, how it got translated, that could go on forever. So it's something that you can't necessarily know the answer, but sometimes it's that, upline, you know it when you see it. So what do we do with these four pillars? Well, we make them into pillars. And we don't just have one pillar. We say, how do we take and use these? We use them because, if you have four legs to a table, it's a lot more stable. And that is what you should look for anytime you're creating something. It's, they're not really, it's not how to invent, it's how to evaluate whether your invention is right, whether it's time to sell it or not, who to sell it to. So these four legs, if you think about it, you not only want four of them, you want them to be kind of equal power. If you have an out-of-balance table, it will also tip over. You might have this amazing idea, but you can kind of, you look at it and go, I don't think, I don't actually have the best relationships with the right companies yet, so I should strengthen those up. And then, if you might have the relationship, but you say, I'm just feeling the execution is weak, or you've gotten feedback from people that it's weak, so it's really just this idea of visualizing a table, put your idea on top of it, really be self-critical, or let other people be critical about what of these things aren't right. Is the timing right? You've got, everything's right, maybe we should wait on it. Maybe we could do something to speed up that timing. Maybe we can, so it's just I find with these four different things, and of course, the last one being, you could know everyone in a company, have the right thing, have the great timing, have this beautiful-looking prototype, but everyone kind of goes, you know, the idea's just not strong enough yet. It's just not gonna fly. And so, it's not only having those, it's also having... Think of those as being as tall as possible. You really want the invention table to be up here, not where it is right now, down here. You want it to feel like you could always, you know we like to say, if you have something, you think it's a 10, you've gotta say to yourself, it's really a five, I know, I'm just gonna say it's a five. What do I do to make it a 10? How do I make this, always think there's, you know there's gonna be something better. Don't settle. Imagine someone else has a table, and theirs is sitting here, what can I do with these four pillars? So this is just like the self-evaluation sort of checklist. So that's your invention table. We won't ask if there's questions, 'cause there's true/false. Did I really build that table? No, but it's a great image. So, the last part of this talk is what I call the Philosophy. This Philosophy is really, like I said, why we play, and why play is valuable. So, it's really not as much a philosophy, it is a philosophy, but I like to call it Frivolousity. So the philosophy of Frivolousity, and that is that, sort of asking ourselves when we do something in terms of play and toys, is this frivolous? Is what I do frivolous? Is it just sort of extra? There's all the important things that people do or invent, these amazing, like all my friends from industrial science school, obscure medical equipment, and things that save people's lives, and all this. That's great industrial design. What is the value of what I do? So I started thinking about it, and when you think about the word value, and the word frivolous, they don't seem to be related. But my theory is that it's extremely important that the things that you do for play are frivolous, to give them value, and this is why. So when I asked you what is the most valuable thing you have? Okay, so your house is burning down, what would you run in and get, besides living, besides people and pets? There's something in your house. What do you run in to get if you can only go in and grab one thing? Anyone.
I'd get my art.
Passport (laughs). Good call.
Pictures, mementos, irreplaceable things from someone you remember. It's pretty, most people come to that conclusion eventually. It's like, what's irreplaceable? Even though I might have put my pictures up in the cloud, and they're digital, I still want the originals. I still wanna feel them. I want the memory of the people I love, usually, is what people want, or people they've lost, and they have something that reminds them of them. So that is, almost universally, what people agree is sort of the most, when they boil it down, that's the most valuable thing to them. Irreplaceable things. So those are things that are irreplaceable, or what we say is memories. They're kind of irreplaceable. You have to create them. And once you have them, you want things to jog your memory, to bring them back, so you can sit there and enjoy this valuable thing that you've created. So in talking about value, then let's go on to what is the value, then, of your free time, the time when people usually play? The value of your work time is usually quite finite. People understand it. I'm paid $20 an hour, $50 an hour, $100, a million dollars an hour, doesn't matter. It's a number, and they know what their value is when they get paid for it. What is the value when you don't get paid for it? Well, I think the fact is, when someone, all you have is your time, you might say that it's of infinite value, that everybody who has free time, that's their time. And so that's all you have, it's pretty, also universally thought of, that infinite value. So, our feeling is that if memories are the most valuable thing you have, and they're of infinite value, because they often happen, I guess I should jump to, in your free time, that play, when people talk about their favorite memories, a lot of that time is, that's maybe the part I skipped there, is when we asked people, what were your favorite memories of the people that are in those photos? What were you doing with them? And does anyone have a thought, often people, I'll just give 'em to you quickly, often people say, camping is one thing, when we were off in a state of not-work. We were playing together. Or, literally playing. One of the most common answers is playing a game, sitting around a table, doing something where I was in a state of play, and that memory sticks with people, very strongly. You might think of it now, you were with your family some moment, people laughed. They had something they remembered. So my theory is that if memories are that most valuable thing that you have, that you would run into a burning house and save, and if they're of infinite value, then memories have this value of the biggest value, which is infinity. And if games and play create most of those memories, and if those are done in your free time, which has an infinite value, then we simply have infinity plus infinity, which equals infinity times two, okay? (spectator laughs) So that is, when you look at the value of memories and time, and most of these are created by games and play, those are the things that stick. People don't say, I remember, do I remember what I had for dinner? Do I remember this? Do I remember this thing at work? It usually is about play, and that memory there. And lastly, it's part of the reason you get this state of memory and this really heightened state of play, is that because, basically, play is, the fact that it's so frivolous is why it sticks with you. Because when I spend an hour, we say we're gonna play a game together, we are going to agree, it's this agreement to play, means that you're in a state with someone where you're giving the most valuable thing you have, which is free time, and you're gonna do something frivolous with someone else. You're not doing it 'cause we have to get this done. We have to solve this problem. We have to do this. We're gonna do, the more frivolous, the better. We're gonna play this stupid game, where the only reason I'm really here is 'cause people kind of intuitively get, I wanna spend it with you. There's no redeeming value, other than to play with you. And then that moment often becomes, like people, the thing that I love the most. People will say, we played Bop It at Thanksgiving, and this, and my grandma laughed, and we had to, and then they remember that moment forever. And that's probably the thing that got me the most. Those are gonna be those golden moments people remember. How cool is that? I guess I do something frivolous but valuable. And so, that, to me, is that Frivolousity is sort of this thing that, lately, I've been thinking is, design things, invent things, if you're doing things in play that are as frivolous as possible, and those will be the things that are most valuable to people. That's it. All I could say is, think it. (everyone laughs and applauds)
You could do this class.
If there are other true/false questions, or real questions...
Oh, I would, I would say to that, what I thought was so fascinating about what you just said, Dan, is that agreement to give your precious time that is not the value of work time, but the other time, also fades into something we'd been talking about earlier, which is this idea of cross-pollination, of choosing and creating my moments where people come together and share ideas. And again, that's so meaningful, because people are doing that on their own time.
That's another agreement. It's sort of an extension, 'cause I think that memory thing is, you remember having fun, like you're playing. And so you're having fun. It's such a joyous thing.
There is so much written on that, and when you've switched your brain into a state of play, it is a totally different brain. And it's getting to that state, if you can create that, then you will have fond memories of, of course, creating with people, and that energy that you get from it being, it wasn't about the thing, it was about the connection, and that energy. That's what games are doing when you say animate the people, it's that same thing in any presentation. You wanna get people up. You want 'em to clap. You wanted this. It's all about animating people, and that's what creates the connection.
See, I love that, 'cause it's so similar to, so the adventurous thinking mindset, it's a thing I'm trying to force, by forcing through these lenses, and forcing opportunities, 'cause it's a mindset that some people struggle for. If you just say to people, hey, you should be playful, it's a hard thing. Better off, really, to hand them a Bop It, or something that actually allows them to get themselves over that barrier of knowing they're an adult, or knowing they'll look a certain way, or understanding that, at some point, you're gonna fail. I actually,
What I love is the Bop It pretty much sums up adventurous thinking, in terms of having to be in that spate of bearable discomfort, where you know at some point you're gonna fail, and you're totally good with it.
Where you'll laugh at yourself.
And you'll laugh.
Because it didn't outsmart you, it just sort of, you just sort of fooled yourself. But what you said about the adventurous thinking, and forcing these filters and exercises you have, they do the same thing. They animate people by telling them what to do. You need, people need help being told, and once they get going, then the juices get going, so I think...
Then they love it. They're so happy, and then they remember it, and then they do it more. Growth.
Hopefully. Have we got some questions for Dan?
Are you accepting interns? (everyone laughs)
Only psychology ones (laugh).
I was just gonna say, Shari could find a whole nother angle.
What number would that be, Dan? Your cell phone, personal cell phone?
Here it is, cross-pollination at work, right? Because imagine if you brought in Shari's interest in all the clinical psychology and went to things like this and went, this is really interesting, how would that change if I were about to do that on Sideways Thinking? Don't listen. Don't listen. (everyone laughs) It's coming (laughs).
Okay, we'll address that later, yeah.
This is excellent. Well thank you, Dan. This has been fantastic. Right? He is a multifarian. And you know, when I say Dan is a multifarian, what I mean is the multifarious perspective. So multifarious perspective is that idea of these diverse viewpoints looking at one thing. Some people just have it naturally. Dan is one of these people. You're a musician. You design toys. But I feel like every time you look at a problem, you basically walk around and prod it in a few different ways, and then play with it.
Well I think you have to be willing, the reason I tell that story of Bop It was, it's just the flowing with the fact that you think you know what you want. It is important to have some vision of something. I truly thought, this is awesome! TV, kids, toys, I'm gonna make, and did. And this is an interesting story, because the fact that this got made is bizarre, but that, at the time, 20-something years ago, it said TV was big, let's make something fun for kids. It was the right seed of thinking, but it still didn't break the barrier of people doing this, which, I think, is very interesting today, because that's what people do with their phones. It's being broken with voice control. There's ways people, this is long before the Wii came out. And if you remember, video games are played like this. All it took was this one gestural thing. (brays) You're animating the people, and what do they do for their TV ads? If you remember, I remember very distinctly, 'cause it was after Bop It. They showed the people. They didn't show what was on the screen. They showed people doing these crazy things with the Wii, and you were like, what are those people doing? So, literally, they made the people into the screen. They changed, the controller controlled the people as much as the screen. And that was in the ether, this kind of idea, and I've literally used it in almost everything since then, because it always works. It's kind of like make it round, it always works, animate people, it always works.
I will totally back you up on make it round. Everything I've ever invented I've gotta make it something to do with Star Wars, make it round.
Make it round, yeah.
In my head (laughs).
But those are definitely, the little son of seeds about, it's the idea of making that, in all of these exercises, and I loved when you were talking earlier about the brainstorming, and getting people, even the part about being anonymous, it's this involvement. It's giving people permission to do something that just gets them moving. And so, the word animating people sort of, if you tell them exactly what to do, Bop It says, here's three things, just do them. But everyone does them in a little different way. Everyone fails a little differently. People, while you're doing it, other people get to watch you do it. It's like it isn't just about this, it's that, if you just give one thing to do, it'll, and you involve people, then that's really the goal.
I think it's pretty interesting if that was a launch, but imagine if Bop It was the launch point to a whole lot of other innovations. Like you said, you gave that to a primary school teacher, and said, yeah, you can program this many commands to teach, I don't know?
You can now, we have got,
Math, science, whatever. If you then went, okay this is now the tool, the kid is now animated, and now you start laying layers onto it. I mean, it's endless.
It has, there's been a lot, there have been pretty, I like to take some credit, but there was a game after this that LeapFrog did, that had a very similar Bop It feel, but it taught math. And I later met their CEO, and he admitted, yeah, we were inspired. It made me feel good. There's been a lot of things, like you said, share it. Sharing isn't just sharing your idea before it gets made, sharing is put an idea out there, don't try to cover everything, every iteration. Let someone else get inspired by it and say, go for it. So I think I'm proud as much about many, many things that, if you think about when this was done 20 years ago, it was way before a lot of these gestural things. So it just sort of added to that general zeitgeist of stuff in the air that animated people, that worked. All the gesture stuff that we have today was all built on many different people's ideas that sort of got into the air, and all the way into virtual reality, and the things we're doing today are all still getting back to more to the person as the entertainment, not just what's on the screen.
And the idea of watching the person is okay, which comes back to original design thinking. Then you've added your secret spices and sauces (laughs).
Well think about it that way. People are the most entertaining thing. Why we have, for instance, seeing people do stupid things will never get old. That is why we have YouTube (laughs).
So true. It's no big epiphany. It's like, well, yes, putting, watching other people do stupid stuff seems to be here to stay, so if you can design a toy that makes them do that, then you're onto something.
That's awesome. Thank you, Dan. You're a legend.
You're welcome, thank you. (audience applauds)