How many Million Dollar Ideas have I had in my life? Oh, a dozen, maybe two, possibly more. I've forgotten most, though my husband may have a better memory of them. Because when I come up with a Million Dollar Idea I don't shut up about it for at least a month.
I know every family has stories about how some distant relation came up with a Million Dollar Idea, failed to act on it, and then someone else came along with the exact same idea and made a fortune. That is not the case with me. My ideas are all still up for grabs.*
The Refrigerator Hat, for example. The idea is simple: you take a regular baseball cap and sew in a little pouch on the top of the crown part. Then you take one of those flexible ice packs and put it in the freezer over a round head-shaped form. Then when the ice pack is frozen slip it into the little pouch on the hat's crown, and behold -- the Refrigerator Hat!
Not everyone would want one. But I believe that the Refrigerator Hat could be very useful for those who spend long periods of time in non-temperature-controlled environments, such as bone fishermen, migrant grape pickers and Southern Conference football fans. Also anyone whose car air conditioning has been broken for two years and they can't fix it because it's a Volvo and once the air conditioning goes, that's it.
I'm realistic about the prospects for the Refrigerator Hat; I don't expect any late-night TV entrepreneurs read this and pounce. But my friend Leslie had a Million Dollar Idea for a piece of kid equipment that I still think has real commercial potential.
She actually had a prototype made for her own use, which I admired. It looked like a big a bucket with legs, and the idea was that a child could stand in the bucket and be at kitchen counter height. So while mom was fixing dinner the kid could be at her side making playdough pizzas or racing Matchbook Cars. Anyone who has ever tried to cook and entertain a three-year-old at the same time will appreciate the brilliance of this. (If any venture capitalists out there want to get in touch with Leslie, I'll be happy to pass along a message.)
Many people are reluctant to share their Million Dollar Ideas on the grounds that someone will come along and steal them. I no longer feel that way because I've figured out something over the years: Million Dollar ideas are a dime a dozen. The hard thing is actually doing something with them.