Category: Product Marketing

CES 2023: The 25 Non-Obvious Inventions, Technologies and Ideas To Watch



Welcome to the future. Or rather, the future normal. That’s what I expect to unfold today from the Consumer Electronics Show here is Las Vegas. CES 2023 is back with full global participation and much of the usual innovation we have all come to expect from the show. Thinner screens (and foldable now too!), lighter laptops, more connected devices for the home, AI-enabled everything, VR headsets and lots of automation in automobiles. Reporting from the trade show floor all week, here are some of my early picks for the most non-obvious inventions to watch and why they are so interesting.

1. CRDL Therapeutic Instrument

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Sometimes the most interesting inventions defy description and are rife with contradictions. The CRDL was the perfect example … a device that is a therapeutic tool, magical instrument and art piece all in one. It was easily one of the most beautifully designed products at CES this year, and won an innovation award too. The mission of the product is also magical, as it uses tones and human-centered design to enable more meaningful connections between people with physical or cognitive impairments such as dementia, autism, mental disabilities or visual impairments by translating touch into sound. “Different types of touch will trigger different sounds that enhance the emotional experience, enabling people to connect naturally and spontaneously.” The only thing that is a miss with this product is the terrible name. Obviously, “CRDL” is supposed to stand for “cradle,” but it looks like “curdle” or like the keyboard (Read more...)

The Most Popular Non-Obvious Stories of 2022 (Based On Reader Feedback)



Every week for the past year, I’ve curated the most fascinating stories every week in my weekly email Non-Obvious Insights Newsletter. This year the newsletter was honored in the prestigious Webby awards too. It’s always interesting for me which stories seem to resonate most with readers based on how many email responses I get, how frequently a story is shared on social media and how frequently the link to the full story is clicked. Based on this combination of quantitative and qualitative data, here is a partial list of some of the most popular stories of the year, based on what my readers shared (scroll down to read the full stories):

  1. The Surprising Forgotten Medieval Habit of “Two Sleeps”
  2. Does Science Need To Be Dumbed-Down To Make It Meaningful?
  3. Why Humans Learned To Laugh (and Naming the Uranus Mission)
  4. The Predictable Failure of Unlimited Vacation Policy
  5. The Backstory of the Bookshelf That Converts Into a Coffin
  6. Is It Ever Possible to Avoid Buying More Stuff For Your Stuff?
  7. The Science Is In. Wearing Your Shoes In the House Is Disgusting.
  8. Oslo’s Secret Future Library Holds Books To Be Published In 100 Years
  9. Why Do So Many Media Personalities Use Our Hate As A Popularity Test?
  10. Why I Just Became A Noble Citizen of the Micronation of Ladonia

Note – Some of the most popular links are to stories that have photo collections such as the winners for the World Press Photo collection to TIME magazine’s best photos of the year (Read more...)

California DMV Approves Usage of Pointless Digital License Plates



If you’ve been patiently waiting for your chance to buy a digital license plate for your car … you clearly have too much money. This week, California approved a digital license plate for use on all vehicles. So what does it do?

The features for this relatively pointless innovation include a combination of everything you can already do on your phone (renew your registration without going to the DMV!) and features that most electric cars already have (remind yourself where you parked!). The digital plate can also turn from dark to light, display a custom banner message, broadcast that your car is stolen and allow you to track the thieves location (unless they happen to remove the license plate!).

The problem is, this license plate doesn’t do any of the things that drivers would actually want from a digital plate. Like changing my plate number to a random number when I’m going through a zone that has photo speed cameras. Or letting me broadcast an angry message to the asshole driving too close behind me. Or letting me use a really cool photo or piece of digital art as the background to personalize my look. I mean, if you’re going to create a frivolous way for me to waste my money, at least make it fun. 

Monopoly Makes Kids Angry, For Their Own Good



“Throwing the Monopoly board across the room has the potential to strengthen your relationship with your family.” That’s the unusual insight at the heart of a new brand advertising campaign from Monopoly that showcases kids raging after a turn doesn’t go their way.

I really wish I was in the room when they presented the insight behind this campaign to Hasbro. It’s bold, clever and deep in a way you don’t expect marketing to be. If it hasn’t already, this is sure to win some industry awards. And definitely make the Scrabble team jealous. I mean, for kids and adults alike, that’s a way more frustrating game than Monopoly ever was.