Robin Raskin - Why Every Journalist Should Build a Product of their Own

You know what amazes me?  The fact that any toy or game turns an idea into something you can see on the shelves.  Parts, prototyping, refining, packaging, shipping, tech support.  It’s a miracle that something, anything ever gets made and shipped to consumers.

My life these days is mostly centered on creating conferences and events that look at the high tech world through the lens of lifestyles:  Kids, moms, boomers, health, fashion, and more. You may have even seen some of our company’s Living in Digital Times extravaganzas at CES in Las Vegas each year.  Before that I was in publishing, first as editor of PC Magazine and then various publications and books.

 In total I've been playing with tech for more than 30 years but it wasn't until, on a somewhat drunken bet one night, I said that “a tech pundit isn't worth their salt until they've built a product and understand the process”.

My first go-round was a decidedly non tech product.  Inspired by the Mao watches featuring a waving Mao, I worked side by side with my engineering friend to create “The Election Watch”. A simple wind up watch with an articulated arm, it came with a few SKUs.  The ecommerce was tied to  The Election Watch website which  registered a sale and tallied up the votes for each candidate.  At the time I knew zilch about middlemen, the madcap world of Chinese parts and manufacturing, or how to ship and package.  It wasn’t a get rich quick scheme.  But there was a positive ROI.

I’m about to do it again.  This time the tools are much improved – my connections to the engineering, prototyping and manufacturing world are better.   The bar to entry is lower.

The toy is called Faux Glass --- yes, they look like other high-tech eyewear you’ve seen but they cost only $19.95 and they’ve got a series of colorful  LEDS, a magnifying prism and a faux solar panel to keep ‘em charged.  With Faux Glass you’ll get a Fauxpedia of commands that don’t do much of anything but make you laugh. Tap the green button and you’ll be in i-Faux-to mode. It doesn’t take a picture, but no one will know. Tap to red and it’s the What-the-Faux mode – the GPS that won’t get you too far either. But you’ll look cool and it’s non-elitist.  Faux Glass is for everyone who with geek envy …Faux Real.  They’ll be available later this fall, in time for the holidays.  And you’re some of the first to know.

 I’m not giving up my day job just yet. I love visioning conferences and events that bring the worlds of CE and toys together and I hope you’ll come and play with us (under Mary’s watchful eyes) at CES this January. Each year the world of youth electronics becomes more essential to what it means to be a kid today.  I love priming the pump for that conversation.

But I gotta tell you, I have a respect for designers and developers that goes deep and wide. And it’s because I believe that until you walk that mile in their shoes, you have limited cred when it comes to  critiquing products.                            

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Robin Raskin is an editor, author and tech expert.  She founded Living in Digital Times Robin Raskin founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today's digital consumer.