No Matter How Good, Some Inventions Just Aren’t Meant to Be. Here Are 15 Billion Dollar Ideas That Never Happened.
Dead and buried with a secret. A secret that had the potential to change the world as we know it. A secret so big that someone wanted to keep it quiet forever… No, it’s not the trailer for a dam* good movie but rather, what really happened to some people who had billion dollar ideas that never happened.
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Here’s a quick little billion-dollar-idea, you can switch over to the video version if you’re not set to read a long article:
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Aluxers, imagine driving 100 miles on just a gallon of fuel? What ripple effect would that have had on the world as we know it?
It was almost a reality when Tom Ogle invented a system that increased fuel efficiency exponentially. He revealed a modified Ford Galaxie in 1977. It could achieve an unbelievable 100 miles per gallon! Unmodified, a mere 13 miles per gallon.
When interviewed by journalist, Ron Laytner, he was asked whether he was afraid that oil companies would come after him. To which Ogle replied, “No. Not anymore. I’ve had too much publicity. If I’d kept my invention a secret I might be worrying. But there’s nothing to worry about anymore.”
He spoke too soon. Within 3 years, he died from mysterious circumstances and he and his secret were buried forever.
Global Wireless Power
Born during a lighting storm with a photographic memory is Nikola Tesla. He was a great Serbian inventor, just like his mom.
He introduced several inventions, including the Tesla coil, the neon lamp, the radio-controlled boat and the Tesla turbine.
Unfortunately, one of his greatest ideas never came to fruition. He managed to come up with a plan for an affordable global power and communication system. He said this system would enable “the transmission of electric energy without wires” globally.
He was incredibly open about his idea and towards the end of 1900, received funding from banker, JP Morgan. Sadly, Morgan withdrew his funding, and the idea was eventually discarded.
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Some might say it was luck of the draw, or a little before it’s time – whatever reason you give it, it’s fair to say that it was one of the incredible billion dollar ideas that just didn’t make it.
Amp’d Mobile was a cellular phone service launched in 2005 in the US and 2007 in Canada. This was officially the first entertainment-based mobile phone. It offered 3G voice and data services, text and images, push-to-talk, and could download Apps and content.
You must wonder why it didn’t work with so much going for it. Because there was so much excitement and eagerness about the product, everyone and anyone was signed up to the service. After 90-days, Amp’d Mobile realized that many of their customers couldn’t afford their services and were unable to pay the monthly fees. Within 2-years, the company was out of business.
To think, if they had managed their new customer sign-ups correctly, we’d all probably be wondering if we should be buying the latest Amp’d Mobile or iPhone.
Dubbed the material that could have changed the world, Starlite is a mystery. There was a feature done on the compound by the BBC in 1990 on the show, Tomorrow’s World. During the demonstration, presenter Peter Macann uses a blowtorch on a raw egg. You’d expect the egg to crack, explode and be kind of cooked inside – but that doesn’t happen. Instead, barring the shell getting a bit black, the egg remains raw.
Invented by British hairdresser and amateur chemist Maurice Ward, Starlite’s ingredients remain a secret. It’s assumed it contains a “variety of organic polymers and co-polymers with both organic and inorganic additives,” according to Wikipedia and was said to, “withstand attack by a laser beam that could produce a temperature of 10,000 degrees Celsius.”
Long story short, Ward didn’t want to reveal his secrets as he was worried the formula would be stolen, but he also couldn’t name a price for the recipe. When he died in 2011, so did the ingredients for Starlite.
There have been attempts at replicating the original formula, but to date, nobody has quite cracked it.
You’re probably thinking we’ve lost the plot here, as inhalable insulin has been available since 2014 when the FDA approved Afrezza, but long before this, Pfizer also introduced an inhalable insulin which never took off. It was one of the billion dollar ideas that would have made the investors billions, had they handled it properly.
It’s hard to understand why it didn’t take off back then, as surely, it’s a much more appealing idea to inhale insulin rather than injecting it?
It took Pfizer 11-years to perfect their inhalable insulin, Exubera, but only one year for Pfizer to discontinue it. The inhaler was bulky, costly and not selling as they’d hoped.
Afrezza addresses all those issues with their discrete inhaler, but even their success has been turbulent and at one stage, it was off the market.
Healthline.com reported that it was to return to the market, with Dr. Steve Edelman of UC San Diego and TCOYD stating, “Afrezza really does work extremely well. I can see myself taking it for incidental hypers where subcutaneous insulin is way too slow and stays around in your system way too long.”
Maybe a few more tweaks and this incredible idea will get a breath of fresh air.
Pay by Touch
It was almost 20-years ago that Pay By Touch came to being. Not an unusual concept by today’s standards, where one could pay for anything using biometrics. The start-up, by John P. Rogers, received $340 million in funding from several billionaires, including Gordon Getty and Ron Burkle.
Rogers claimed, “We’re changing the way the world pays.”
The aim was to make credit cards, check books and cash obsolete.
However, Rogers squandered the investments, and ploughed through $8 million a month… many speculate on drugs.
We’re not sure where Roger’s is now, but we’re certain that Pay By Touch never happened.
Sloot Digital Coding System
Romke Jan Bernhard Sloot died of a heart attack. His death happened one day before he was going to sell a source code that would have made him a billionaire and changed the way we save data.
The Norwegian electronic engineer claimed that he could compress a file, the size of a movie, to just 8-kilobytes. He had created a data compression technique that to this day has never been recreated.
A key piece of the technology is allegedly stored on a floppy disc, which has never been found. Sadly, the claims remain unverified with no living person to share the code or the truth. These kind of billion dollar ideas are tragic, because they leave the planet along with the inventors.
The British French Concorde
Aluxers, the British-French Concorde was as bad*ss as you could get. It had its first test flight on March 2, 1969 piloted by André Turcat. It could cross the Atlantic in less than 3.5 hours, and flew at twice the speed of sound.
Only 20 were built, with just 14 delivered to two airlines – 7 to Air France and 7 to British Airways.
It had flaws though. It was noisy, caused a lot of pollution, cost a fortune to maintain and tickets were h*llishly expensive.
The fleet was retired in 2003.
If you’d love to own your own jet, we highly recommend you watch our video:
American author, Fletcher Knebel once said, “Smoking is the leading cause of statistics.” So, here’s another smoking statistic to add to the list. In the USA there are currently 2.5 million electric cigarette users.
Now, if only Ligget Myers could have seen the future because he might not have given up on his dream of “safer” cigarettes so quickly. The palladium cigarette also known as the XA cigarette was the idea of Myers and developed in the 1950s. It reduced the toxic properties of cigarettes and made them less harmful over time.
The idea eventually went up in smoke, despite spending over $10 million on research and development. It is also believed that Myers was afraid of breaking ranks with big tobacco companies, like Benson and Hedges.
Aluxers, such billion dollar ideas are billion dollar lessons as well, as this whole situation clearly reflects what happens when we let fear get in our way on the entrepreneurial journey.
Ahh, 1999 – the year of Y2K, the year PayPal was voted one of the worst business ideas and the introduction to Spongebob Squarepants.
It also looked like a sparkling year for the Sega Dreamcast – I mean it had everything going for it – online gameplay and interactive memory cards, huge media launch and each Dreamcast included a modem.
The Dreamcast was plagued with problems and didn’t even sell 10-million units in the 2 years it was available. One problem in particular was that Dreamcast didn’t have any restrictions on copying CD-R discs. This led to the discs being copied and being sold way cheaper elsewhere.
It also only offered dial-up, so when PlayStation 2 was launched with broadline online connectivity, Dreamcast just couldn’t compete anymore, and it was “Game Over.”
Home Automation is par for the course for most modern homes these days, so why is Revolv in the list of billion dollar ideas that failed?
Revolv’s vision was for one smart hub to be able to control many home devices regardless of the manufacturer. By doing so, users could select the devices according to their preference and not ones that only synced with specific hardware.
They have since launched, “Works with Nest” where 3rd party devices can communicate with Nest along with several brands of smart device manufacturers.
If you are looking for luxury tech products for your home automation, check out 10 Best Luxury Tech for the Modern Home.
Man has wanted to control the weather since the dawn of time. The idea of the Cloudbuster was developed by Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich.
According to theguardian.com, “this device manipulates Orgone Energy, a cosmic life force which also happens to hold clouds together. It resembles the chi of traditional Chinese belief and has yet to be detected by orthodox science.”
It’s basically hollow tubes that point to the sky that can allegedly form or disperse clouds.
In 1953, desperate blueberry farmers appealed to Reich to end the drought they had been experiencing, which he duly did… the very next day, it poured, and the crops were saved.
Coincidence? We’ll let you decide.
Dome homes date back to the Romans, and despite the concept being sound, they haven’t quite taken off just yet.
Dome homes have many advantages, from being near-indestructible… hurricane, what hurricane? To being exceptionally strong and energy efficient.
So, why has the idea not made its way to a neighbourhood near you?
Turns out, people are not that wild about having the odd house on the block, they’re quite pricey to build and with little experience in that field, many builders are not interested. Add to that, all house-holds items are designed for square houses – so imagine your bed against a round wall… it would look awkward AF. So let’s call this the awkward moment when billion dollar ideas are ‘circled out’ of the game.
We get it, you might be thinking… Alux, this wasn’t such an incredible idea… but hear us out. There were good points regarding Google Glass. In an environment where safety is paramount, like a hospital, factory or workshop, Google Glass allows the wearer to be hands free but still have access to all information they need to fulfil their task at hand.
It’s also believed that these glasses could benefit children with autism.
Right, so perhaps those good reasons weren’t enough to deter us from the fact that people looked f*cking ridiculous wearing them, they were super buggy and completely over-priced.
However, it certainly set the stage and made the mistakes, paving the way for more user-friendly options to be made available. Speaking of seeing, have you wished you could look into the past?
As they say, what happens in the Vatican, stays in the Vatican.
In 1972, an article was published in an Italian newspaper claiming that the Vatican was storing a secret machine called Chronovision.
This machine allowed users to see the past, even the death of Jesus. Said to be the invention of Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti in the 1950s, Ernetti produced a photograph he took of the crucifixion which was also published in that newspaper article.
The former physicist took the machine into the Vatican, never to seen again… well, unless you manage to get your hands on the Chronovision and use it to look for Ernetti – be sure to let us know! Sure this machine is among the billion dollar ideas, because if it was in the market, you can have a kind of a ‘chronovision’ to what would have been the results.
Aluxers, if you could choose to see one of these ideas recreated, which one would it be and why? We’d love to hear from you.