21 Ideas to Become a Billionaire
This is a bit different than most articles I share.
Most of us in the professional world have chosen, or will choose, a career path, then acquire the education required to pursue that career, find a job, and work to succeed along that path, or other future career paths.
However, I am sure that all of us, at certain times, have asked ourselves questions such as – “Why didn’t I come up with the concept of Amazon? Why didn’t I anticipate the need for a smartphone and invent one? Why didn’t I develop the business model for Netflix? Why couldn’t I see that electric vehicles would become popular and invest in various technologies to enable them to succeed? Why didn’t I get a patent for the idea to sell a smart doorbell that videotapes anyone coming to the door?”
Not to worry, we all at times ask ourselves these questions. It is tempting to think that all the great ideas and inventions are behind us. It is easy to assume that there are no big future opportunities to create a new solution or business and become a multi-millionaire or billionaire. All the great ideas and concepts must have been developed by now, right? It would be wonderful to be a pioneer and really make a difference in peoples’ lives in a BIG way, but those opportunities are long gone.
However, here is something to consider before you agree with the statements above. Do you believe that, in the main, the great inventions and innovations are driven by need? “Necessity is the mother of invention?” Let’s take Amazon as just one example.
Did Jeff Bezos have some amazing insight that allowed him to pursue a new model of commerce that would change the planet? I have the opinion that anyone could have seen the need and created the concept. (Execution and success are two different issues however!) How could any of us have seen that an Amazon model would succeed?
All any of us had to do was to listen to others, and yourself, and ask a simple question. “What do we all find tedious, boring, and wasteful of our time and resources?” One thing that most of us despised, going back 20 years or more, was taking the time to identify specific products we needed, make a list, get in the car, and drive store to store to store seeking the products we needed to solve our own problems. Usually when we found what we needed at a store, we had precious little time to comparison shop on price and features. Maybe the store only stocked one brand and one version of that product. It could have been much more expensive than an alternative right down the street, but who had time to comparison shop for a new skillet or sneakers or a jacket or light bulb?
Why did we hate this activity? If you had a job, there was already precious little time left for family, fun activities, exercise, hobbies, etc. Who wanted to be running errands on your day off or during the few hours you were not at work?
Any of us could have realized that with the internet available to so many, a company could step up and provide ONLINE access to products, accompanied with delivery services so that the PRODUCT COULD BE BROUGHT TO YOU, instead of you visiting so many retail stores. What is even better about the Amazon model is that one truck going down your street delivering many products to many customers is MUCH more efficient than all of driving our vehicles to a variety of stores.
Well, I would contend that there are STILL hundreds of opportunities out there to find new solutions to make a big difference in the lives of many. I want to share just a few that I thought about just over the past few days. There have to be thousands more. You just need to ask yourself and others about the things that bother them, or waste their time, or cause frustration.
I will skip over the huge opportunities that are in the news every day, because those issues are already getting plenty of attention and investment. Things such as solving global warming, eliminating government corruption globally, finding cures for common health issues, resolving religious conflicts, etc.
But what about the following list? I contend that if any of you are able to develop solutions addressing any of these needs, and if you move to file for the intellectual property behind the solution, and invest the effort to implement a solution, you can become the next billionaire or multi-millionaire and make a significant difference in the lives of others. Happy hunting!
1 - A secure, easier-to-use, voting process. There is consumer technology just about everywhere. Someone will find the right combination of technologies and processes to make voting easier for all, AND more secure.
2 – Spam and scam phone calls. We all waste time answering scam/spam phone calls, or checking our phones when a call occurs to see if the number or name is someone we recognize. 90% of all calls I receive are spam or a scam. This is one of those problems that everyone complains about but nobody can find solutions for, such as the weather. Somebody out there will solve this problem! Scammers and spammers do NOT have the right to waste millions of hours of consumers. We all deserve better.
3 – Being stranded ‘on hold’ with a company. We have all been left for long periods of time after someone from ‘customer service’ has placed us on hold. We all realize that after 5-10 minutes, it is likely that we are lost and nobody will ever talk to us again. So, we hang up and start all over again. Technology MUST be available to solve the problem. The first company to develop a solution can sell it to thousands of companies or consumers around the world.
4 – Packaging / containers that are too difficult to open, especially for the elderly or youth. From cans of soup with a ring pull, to clear plastic ‘bonded’ packaging that requires sharp objects to open, there must be better solutions. I used to hear my parents complain about this as they got into their 70’s, but now I find that I am one of those challenged with poorly designed packaging. It is only a matter of time until I am forced to use a sharp knife to open a plastic package (again) and I seriously cut myself, causing a visit to the local ER.
5 – Underground varmints. Here is a different one. For those who are homeowners, just about all varmints, insects, squirrels, etc., can be managed either with ‘varmint’ products or via contractors. But nobody seems to have found the solution to the moles and voles which tunnel under our lawns and flower beds, searching for worms and grubs, creating trip hazards and unsightly tunnels, not to mention dead grass. There are dozens of products out there, but I have found NONE that actually work well. I had a lawn care company employee actually tell me ‘I hate these damned moles and voles too. They have no natural enemies and we can’t kill them either!’ Some claim that ‘poison plastic worms’ that you place into their tunnels will kill them, but those have not been successful for me.
6 - Finding the beginning flap of a used roll of tape. So, we go out and buy a huge roll of duct tape or scotch tape, and the first time we use it, all is well. The beginning of the tape is marked and easy to access. But the second time, it becomes nearly impossible to find the start of the tape. This should be an easy solution, but nobody has solved it as yet!
7 – Roads that do not last. This is an old problem, but it still exists. Way too many roads and highways must be repaved over and over. It seems the average lifespan of a newly paved road is 5 years or so. Then we all pay to get the crews out there, interrupt traffic flow, put down new paving, get tar on our cars, etc.
8 - Commercial airplanes with precious little leg, shoulder, or storage room. It seems every year, seats, leg room and bin space get smaller and smaller, all in the pursuit of jet fuel efficiency and a drive to cut airline ticket prices. Come on, can’t we design a commercial jet 50% more passenger space per passenger, so that we can sit comfortably with some ‘social distance’ between us? I have seen ZERO INNOVATION in cabin design, and I have been an airline traveler for over 50 years. Since there is a global oligopoly in the commercial jet industry, we may never see better solutions, but perhaps someone with develop a patentable design and technology and sell it to one of the commercial jet companies.
9 – A complex tax system. At least in the U.S., we have a very complex tax system (even with recent simplifications) that requires many of us to hire expensive accountants just to file our taxes every year. Now, the IRS and federal government are saying that they have to hire thousands of more highly trained IRS employees just to ‘keep up’ with the tricks and loopholes that taxpayers use. Who created the loopholes and deductions to start with? Congress, of course. This is a terrible waste of time, taxpayer dollars, and IRS effort. I don’t know the solution, but simplification has to be part of the answer.
10 – Cannot find products in large stores. Consumers are plagued by large department stores (hardware, retail, supercenters) where it takes forever to find what you are looking for, and a lack of employees to help you find what you need. Why can’t there be ‘search stations’ located in the stores where you can type in the item you are seeking? This is a true story. My wife and I decided that we had run out of rubber bands, which we used for a variety of organizing purposes. I went to three large department stores, looking for ONE bag of rubber bands. I found none. I even asked 3-4 employees in each of the department stores, and they had no idea where they were stocked. My wife finally found some on her trip to a different department store. Haven’t retailers figured out yet that one of the HUGE frustrations with shopping at their stores is all the time required to find what you are looking for? Until they solve this problem, Amazon will continue to take away market share, because they DO provide a ‘search for products’ function that is easy to use.
11 – Lack of wine or bottle carriers. OK, if you are not a wine drinker, you don’t care about this one. But just about all wine stores that I have visited do NOT provide free or low-cost carriers or boxes for you to carry a case or even six bottles to your car. So, what do consumers do? They only buy 1-2 bottles since that is all they can easily carry to the car. This is a huge waste for the consumer, and a lost sales opportunity for the wine store. When I ask an employee “Do you have a box or container I can use to carry out a case or half-case of wine?”, I usually get a strange look as if nobody had ever asked that question before. If I am lucky, I get an answer of “I will have to go in the back or basement and see if we have an empty wine case box you can use.”
12 – Moldy roof shingles. Why is it that roof shingles develop mold and stains on the north side that look bad after only 5 years or so? Can’t the roofing companies develop a new shingle with some sort of chemical embedded to resist the growth of mold?
13 – Moldy concrete. A close cousin to #12 – Most concrete walkways and driveways develop mold and stains after a few years and must be pressure-washed, or have chemicals applied, to remove the mold and stains. Can’t we find a way to mix concrete to include a chemical that helps prevent mold from forming?
14 – Mailbox abuse. Just about once a month in my neighborhood, I see a mailbox that has been hit by a car or truck, and owner must dig out the old mailbox, buy a new one, pour concrete and reset the new mailbox, taking hours and sometimes days to resolve. Why can’t we find a better solution? Some neighborhoods have figured this out by having ‘common mailbox’ sites where all mailboxes for a street are in one place, but this creates some addition travel or walking for residents. How about someone invent a ‘spring-mounted’ mailbox that, when hit by a vehicle, bends over but springs back into place?
15 - Delivered packages on porches or driveways that get stolen by passers-by. This is perhaps already being solved by Amazon and other retailers, using garage door openers to deliver packages more securely.
16 – Speeding cars. Increasingly is seems, we have more drivers on streets and highways who drive way above the speed limit, with no effective way to get them to slow down. Most drivers have no business being behind the wheel when a vehicle is travelling at 70-80 mph with all the distractions of music, phones, texts, etc. I have learned the hard way that if someone veers quickly into your lane, none of us have sufficient driver training to control a vehicle well after an evasive maneuver at 60 or 70 miles-per-hour. Also, there are too few patrol cars and police for enforcement. Electronic cameras to assign speeding tickets have not been accepted by most communities or cities. It seems that as a society, we value ‘fewer speeding tickets’ more than safety for those who do obey the law or for walkers alongside the road. Maybe self-driving cars are the answer, but probably not in my lifetime.
17 - Tailgating has become the ‘cool’ way to drive on highways, perhaps because too many have watched NASCAR drivers travelling at 150 mph, only a foot or two behind the car in front, ‘drafting’ them to save fuel and to increase momentum for an upcoming pass attempt. It is as if highway drivers think that they are saving fuel AND punishing the ‘slow’ driver ahead of them who is travelling at the speed limit, or they are fantasizing that they are in a NASCAR race. I have a solution, but I am not sure it will be adopted. When someone is tailgating me, I would like to be able to push a button on my dashboard, which would have my rear trunk camera take a picture of the vehicle and driver behind me, record the speed of my vehicle at that time plus the date and time, and to display a message on my rear windshield informing the tailgater that I have taken their photo, and will send it to the local police if they do not back off. I suppose I would take the risk that the tailgater might get upset and drive even closer if I did this, but if the traffic fine was stiff, it might be effective. Something has to be done to protect the safety of drivers. This is especially alarming when the tailgater is on their phone while tailgating you within a few feet of your bumper. If you are driving at 60 mph, and someone accidentally ‘bumps’ you from behind, good luck controlling your vehicle. You will likely swerve from the road and hit some object, or worse yet, swerve into oncoming traffic. Of all 21 ideas listed here, I like this one the best and believe this will be implemented by someone.
18 – Garden varmints. We need an effective and economical way to keep varmints and animals out of our gardens. Fences no longer seem to work. Deer, chipmunks, groundhogs, squirrels, etc., all are happy to enjoy the fruits of our labor, but are not willing to help plant, pick weeds, fertilize, etc. Home gardening is a healthy hobby, is good for our bodies and spirits, and gets us outdoors in the fresh air. But varmints ruin the experience. I am about to give up my gardening habit because of deer who roam our yards at night eating all our produce, jumping fences, and killing plants.
19 – Fall stinging insects. We need a way to address the problem of bees/wasps/hornets getting aggressive in the fall and stinging people, and just being a general nuisance to everyone wanting to spend time outdoors. I am guessing some technology could be developed to repel aggressive stinging insects when you are sitting outside.
20 – A better lightbulb. For all the promise of LED lightbulbs, we still need a better solution to lighting. I find myself continuing to change lightbulbs as often as before, and now the light bulbs are a lot more expensive! I feel like we have been tricked in some way.
21 – Better virtual doctor visits for the elderly or immobile. If you are elderly or somewhat immobile, travelling to see your doctor or to the local health testing facility (blood work, BP, etc.) is a major pain and can be dangerous in bad weather when icy sidewalks can create fall hazards. I am beginning to see doctors and hospitals advertising the availability of ‘virtual’ appointments, but they rarely promote them to patients, and the elderly usually lack the technology access to take advantage of a virtual appointment from home. There has to be a better solution for patients. I am sure doctors prefer a ‘hands-on’ appointment, but the elderly sometimes avoid doctor appointments just because they despise the process of getting ready, travelling to the appointment, waiting, then travelling back home.
OK, so there are 21 opportunities for you future billionaires and for those wanting to make a big difference. If you take a few days, I know you can come up with your own 21 opportunities as well. I have hope that some of you out there can make all our lives better!
If you have any comments or other ideas to solve these issues, I would like to hear about them! If you solve any of these, please remember me as possibly ‘planting the seed’ of your solution!