Almost everyone in the world believes that they have an idea that is capable of turning them into a millionaire but in truth, there are very few inventions that prove to be successful. For every creation or innovation that turns out to be a hit there are countless others that fail miserably. However, there are plenty of incredibly simple inventions or seemingly obvious ideas that no one else had thought of that went on to make millions of dollars, making their creator fabulously wealthy for what seems like almost no work.
The yellow smiley face is a plague that has spread all around the world. It is hard to go anywhere and not be able to see the huge grin, often accompanied with the words “Have a nice day!” smirking back at you. The image was created by Charlie Ball and he was paid $45 for the rights to the image. Later, two brothers stumbled across the smiley face and realized it had huge marketing potential. They went on to make more than $50 million from licensing the image out to companies and businesses to use on packaging and commercials.
The Slinky is arguably one of the most famous toys in the world. For those living in the Western world it is virtually impossible to have not encountered the spring like toy at some point in their lives. The inventor, Richard James, actually came up with the idea by accident when a spring fell and “walked” along the floor. After a showing at Gimbals, he sold out of all of his Slinkys and they soon became a must have toy, going on to net James and his family around $250 million.
The idea behind Velcro arose when George de Mestral noticed how burrs from plants would stick to his pants. When examining them under a microscope he noticed how each burr had tiny hooks that fastened to the small hoops of his trouser fabric. Realizing that he could create the same effect with artificial materials, he set about creating Velcro, an invention that is sold all over the world and brings in revenue of around $100 million every year.
Straws have been around for centuries and have been one of the most common ways that people drink throughout the world. The design hasn’t changed much throughout all that time because there was very little need. One man, though, decided that a way to get children to drink juice and milk rather than soda would be to create a fun straw rather than a boring straight one and thus bent his straws into unusual shapes. They proved to be a huge success and are sold in their millions every year.