Thursday, November 15, 2012

Me in the Shark Tank

I love the TV show Shark Tank. Have you seen it? An average person brings four rich investors an idea/invention he developed and asks them to invest a specific sum of money to become partners in the product. It is a great show. The four investors are Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary, Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran.

The concept of this show got me thinking. I started to image a conversation that "might have taken place" twenty years ago between a young inventor (like me) and the Sharks. Here is how the conversation might have gone:

Me: Sharks, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I have an idea that will make you rich...sorry, you are already rich so it will make you richer. I am looking for a $50,000 investment for a 20% share in my invention.

Mark Cuban: Well, Tony $50,000 is a lot of money to most people, but a mere pittance to an NBA owner like me.

Robert Haerjavec: Come on Mark, give the guy a chance...Tony, tell us about this invention of yours.

Me: Well, Sharks this (I hold up a cellphone) is an ordinary cellphone. But MY invention makes this much more.

Kevin O'Leary: Hey, that looks just like my phone. Tony, I like my cellphone, so I'm not sure I want you fiddling with it. But continue...

Me: That's what is so great about my invention, you can still use your cellphone as you always have, but with my invention you can send written messages with your cellphone. I call it... "text messaging".

Barbara Corcoran: Are you talking about the type of cellphone that Kevin and I use to talk on?

Me: Yes! Isn't it wonderful?

Mark Cuban: Excuse me, but I've made billions and I don't get it...Isn't it easier to talk to someone with your cellphone than it is to write them, or... what do you call it, "text"? Who's going to want to write a message?

Me: Actually, Mark I call it... "text messaging".

Kevin O'Leary: So let me see, you want $50,000 for 20% of this "text messaging" invention which means you believe the invention is worth $250,000...sorry, but I'm out.

Barbara Corcoran: Tony, I like you, you seem like a nice enough guy, but I'm out too...frankly I actually think the idea is ridiculous. No one is going to use his cellphone to send written messages instead of talking. Kevin, what do you think?

Kevin O'Leary: I'll wait a little longer...I'm a little intrigued.

Robert Herjavec: Me too, "a little"...I think "text messaging" could have a use, but the market your appealing to is very limited. Maybe, high level business people like Mark Cuban who don't really like each other and don't want to talk to each other. They might like sending a "text" as you call it.

Mark Cuban: Come on Robert, me and my rich buddies all get along...Tony, I think this idea is stupid, I'm out. If you need tickets to the Mavericks let me know.

Announcer: Two Sharks are out and two still remain.

Me: Kevin and Robert, will you give me $50,000 for 40% of my "text messaging" invention?

Kevin O'Leary: Tony, don't misunderstand me, Your "text messaging idea doesn't intrigue me, but I'm really intrigued that you would have the audacity to think that one of us would invest money on the premise that anyone in his right mind would want to write messages with a cellphone. I'm out. Robert, what are you going to do?

Announcer: Now three Sharks are out and the fate of Tony's text messaging invention rests in the hand of one Shark, Robert Herjavec. 

Me: Come on Robert, help me out here.

Robert Herjavec: Tony, maybe you need to go back and work on this invention more... here's an idea. How about a cellphone with some sort of recording device that allows you to send a voice message. That might be more marketable. But as far as I'm concerned the only people that are going to use this "text messaging" thing are people that don't want to talk to each I'm sorry, but I'm out.

Announcer: All four Sharks are now out.

Me: Thank you Sharks...but I respectfully disagree, I think twenty years from now, you'll all wish you had invested in "text messaging", because I truly believe people will send millions of "text messages" by cellphone each year.

Reality: 2011, 8 trillion text messages were sent. "See Sharks, I told you so".


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