Check the image on the right side of this post. That's me, or at least my hand holding a genuine, original, (sadly without the original packaging), Pet Rock, circa 1975.
In case you're not familiar with the story of the Pet Rock, (read - younger than 35, you have some sort of life), allow our friends at Wikipedia to get you caught up:
Pet Rocks were a 1970s fad conceived in Los Gatos, California by advertising executive Gary Dahl.In April 1975, Dahl was in a bar listening to his friends complain about their pets. This gave him the idea for the perfect "pet": a rock.A rock would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, groomed and would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. He said they were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. However, he eventually took the idea seriously, and drafted an "instruction manual" for a pet rock. It was full of puns, gags and plays on words that referred to the rock as an actual pet.The first Pet Rocks were ordinary gray stones bought at a builder's supply store. They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, complete with straw and breathing holes for the "animal."The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975. Although by February 1976 they were discounted due to lower sales, Dahl sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks and became a millionaire.
Awesome, right? I mean I still have my Pet Rock as you can see in the picture.
But the most important part of the story isn't how ridiculous the idea was/is, or the amazing gullibility or boredom of the American public who snatched up one and a half million of these 'pets', (in our collective defense it was a time before Cable TV and the internet, there was not all that much to do).
The key to the tale is in this sentence from the founder's story:
He said they were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. However, he eventually took the idea seriously
Four buddies, kidding around at a bar, where they hatch pretty much the entire idea for the toy in one beer session. Three of them head home, forget the entire night, and go about their lives, (seemingly their names forgotten to history).
One guy, takes the idea, however silly/crazy/stupid and runs with it, sells a million rocks and gets rich.
And more that 30 years later here I am wirting about that guy. And I still have my rock.
What wild idea have you heard lately that you just laughed at, and swore would never work?