Once upon a time, this product was all the rage

06 May 2007

Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to make a comment under his blog posts or send him a personal message at member nickname, "Rich," here at StartupNation.

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We were at wine-aided dinner the other evening and started in on a discussion of favorite products from eras gone by. There were four of us at the table, and product names and brands starting spewing from our mouths immediately! (See list below – we wrote them down to save and share here.)

The products were each in their own way MEGA successes from our childhoods in the ’70s and early ’80s. But the fact that most of them have come and gone also has its lesson for us entrepreneurs: Not all innovations, no matter how "hot," have an enduring relevance in the marketplace. And on the flipside, many things that were once popular and fall out of favor often come raging back… and this spells opportunity anew for smart entrepreneurs.

For whatever reason, the list has a large number of food, fashion and game products…

See if you can add to these:

Shrinky Dinks
Jiffy Pop
Teddy Ruxpin
Moon Boots
Battleship (the game)
Calico Vision (spelling?)
Mattel Pro Football (the handheld electronic game)
Gummie Bracelets
Shag Carpet
Simon Says (electronic game with four lights)
Plastic Spacers for 45 records
Fiorucci Jeans
Rubics Cube
Cabbage Patch Dolls
Big Wheels (being pyros, we set ours on fire)
Banana seat bike streamers

At the point that we had compiled this list, our food was served and we were distracted from the exercise – Please add products that were all the rage and are now relegated to history…

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