Like Steam before it, the geek-culture retail powerhouse ThinkGeek has finally announced that they will allow their customers to have a greater role in the product development process. It comes in the form of IdeaFactory, where users can send their ideas to ThinkGeek though their online submission form. ThinkGeek reviews the idea, decides whether or not to produce it, and pays the user if they decide to go ahead with it.
On the surface, this is pretty similar to Quirky, but with some major key differences:
- ThinkGeek is big. It has the advantage, like Steam, of already being a well-loved and established retail platform with profits well into the millions. They have the money to spend to make a project like this great, and a huge army of ravenous supporters ready to submit their ideas. Quirky has neither of these advantages.
- The process is so, so easy. All the online submission form asks for is a product name and as much description or image as you’re willing to give. The rest is contact info; your name, address, phone number, and agreement to the Terms and Conditions. In the time it took me to type this, you could have submitted five ideas already. After that, ThinkGeek takes care of the whole thing; no garnering votes, no contacting manufacturers, no raising money. They just make your idea into a product, simple as that.
- The rewards are huge. Just from ThinkGeek green-lighting your concept, you net a cool thousand dollars. After that comes the real stuff. A 10% cut of the product’s profits until it hits $1 million in sales (5% after that, still not bad). A very heavy discount if you want to buy your own product. And perhaps most importantly, the ability to sell the product on your own website, make trade show appearances, and generally keep all bragging rights and fame from your idea.
So if you have an idea for a cool computer accessory, geeky article of clothing, or inventive toy, now’s the time. Submit your idea now, before everyone catches wind of this and floods the system with “human-to-Wookie translator”-caliber ideas.