Million Dollar Genius is the series that reveals the incredible true stories of ordinary people who started with an idea and through hard-work and perseverance transformed their ideas into wildly successful products.
Some of the stories covered include the creator of the Java Jacket, a simple cardboard coffee cup holder we all use today, the inventor of Rollerblades as well as the person who made millions from his idea for a collapsible garden hose.
Along the way we uncover the secrets of their success from the initial light-bulb moment right through the development and eventual marketing of each idea. Every story has its own unique twists and turns, as well as insights into the mind of each inventor revealing how each overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to become a success.
Each hour contains multiple stories that are aspirational, inspirational, and identifiable; packed with plenty of drama and all ends with big money.
Jay Sorensen was a failing real estate agent in Portland, Oregon when he dropped a hot cup of coffee on his lap. In 1991 Jay Sorenson knew there had to be a better way. He invented a cardboard coffee cup sleeve called the Java Jacket. Today Jay sells over 2 million Java Jackets every single day of the year.
Ron Foxcroft was a high-school dropout and struggling entrepreneur who refereed basketball games to make extra money. As a referee Foxcroft knew that the standard pea-whistle used for over 100 years was flawed and he knew he could build a better whistle. After years of trial and error as well as putting his family deep in debt Ron finally succeeded. Today Ron Foxworth’s Fox 40 Whistle is the go to whistle used by every major sports league, as well as the favorite of lifeguards, police and the military. The Fact is a Fox 40 whistle is sold every 8 seconds around the world.
Todd Greene was losing his hair and decided it would be better to shave his head and go bald, but there weren’t any shavers designed for a man’s scalp. He goes on to create a razor specifically for the scalp called the Head Blade. Todd’s razor is named one of the ten best designs of 2000 by Time Magazine and is now in the permanent design collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MOMA.
Michael Berardi a producer, who makes infomercials for inventors selling their products. One day he finally comes up with his own invention, the Xhose, the world’s first collapsible hose. And after making his own commercial his idea becomes a winner.
Randy Hetrick was an elite Navy SEAL who needed to stay in top physical condition no matter where he was deployed. After many attempts he invents one of the bestselling physical fitness devices ever – the TRX Suspension Trainer.
Gary Clegg was a college freshman when a cold night in his dorm at the University of Maine leads him to invent The Slanket – a blanket with sleeves. Years later after graduating Gary realizes the potential of his blanket with a sleeve and the rest is couch potato history…
Ethan Woods is a New York real estate agent who risks his life savings when he invents the world’s first barbeque grill cleaning robot the Grillbot.
Patrick O’Neil is an amateur photographer who mortgages his house and sink’s his daughter’s college fund to create the first attachable photo lens for the iphone.
Scotty Olson was a hockey-loving teenager in Minnesota during the 1970s who wanted to be able to skate in the summer. Scotty and his brother go on to create Rollerblades.
Wayne Fromm is an amateur photographer who wants to be in his own pictures. He creates the world’s first “selfie stick” which he called the Quik Pod.
David Weck is a struggling actor who creates one of the most revolutionary pieces of exercise equipment, known as the Bosu Ball, in his parent’s garage.
Joel Glickman was a retired factory owner who risked his family’s entire company when he created one of the most successful construction toys called K’NEX.
Ryan Grepper was a part-time salesman who loved to invent things. His big break came when he took an ordinary ice chest and added all kinds of accessories to create the ultimate cooler which he named the Coolest cooler.
Dan Martinson had just sold his business and was planning to retire when he came up with a rubber tie called Gear Ties that he believes will replace everything from bungee cords to rope…
David Hon is a rocket scientist not particularly happy with his job when he designs the first successful folding bike and builds a huge company called Dahon devoted to building his idea.
Meet the man who invented one of the most popular appliances in history, The George Foreman Grill. Because most people have never heard of Michael Boehm he now carries the actual patent with him to prove he is the grill’s inventor.
Patrick Buckley seized an opportunity when Apple released its first IPad. He created an old-fashioned case that was just like a book, named it the DODOcase and sold over $4 million in the first year alone.
Wim Ouboter was a Swiss Banker who invented one of the most popular forms of transportation, the Micro Scooter.
Rick Pescovitz knows what it is like to be a sports’ dad. With three kids playing soccer he was constantly on the sidelines in all kinds of weather. In order to battle the elements and enjoy his kid’s games he invented his own pop-up shelter.
Mary Ellen Sheets was a single parent when she encouraged her two teenage sons to get a summer job. They used their father’s pickup truck to move small loads, but when they went off to college Mary Ellen picked up where they left off. Through hard work and determination she built the fourth largest moving company in the U.S. - Two Men and a Truck. It also became the first franchised nationally moving company.
Dominique Ansel was a French chef when he opened his pastry shop in New York. Trying to find his own signature pastry he decided to combine the classic American donut with the French croissant. He called it the Cronut and a new American Classic was born.
Seth Tibbott was a vegetarian who always felt left out at Thanksgiving. He joined up with a local chef and created the ultimate vegetarian turkey calling it Tofurky. Seth has now sold over 4 million Tofurkeys.
Rico Elmore was a car salesman with a problem. He could never find sunglasses wide enough to fit his head. He decided to create large sized glasses and named them Fatheadz. Today Fatheadz are sold around the world.
Roni Di Lullo had a successful career as a software engineer when she discovered something about her dog while playing catch. He was squinting in the bright sun and missing the Frisbee she was tossing. Roni created sunglasses for her dog and called them Doggles. Today Doggles are a hit not only with her dog but dogs everywhere.
Jan von Heland was a Swedish Civil servant when he had an idea one summer. Jan wanted to create something that could bounce on water. Jan created a ball that continuously bounced across the surface of water; naming it the Waboba Ball. Today it is a huge hit around the world even becoming a sport. Jan quit his desk job and now runs his new million-dollar company.
David Palmer was a massage therapist and teacher when he decided he wanted to make massage more mainstream by designing a massage chair you can take anywhere and creating a 15-minute session to match people’s hectic schedules. Today you will find David’s massage chairs everywhere from airports and malls to street fairs and corporate events.
Bob Plath was a veteran airline pilot who invented the first carry-on bag with wheels. His invention has forever changed the way people travel.
Travis Perry was a guitar teacher when he decided to invent a simple device that would make it easy for anyone to learn how to play Guitar. He named it ChordBuddy and made millions.
Mike Miller was teenage inventor when he came up with a fork and knife combo called a Knork that is changing the way people use cutlery.
Leslie Scott took a childhood game of stacking blocks and made it into the hugely successful and timeless game called Jenga.
Josh Springer was a guy who loved beer but hated waiting for the pitcher or glass to fill up. He knew there had to be a faster way and invented Bottom’s Up a dispenser that fills from the bottom.
Bruce Johnson always seemed to have trouble sleeping. To get a better night’s rest he created an adhesive strip called Breathe Right that helps people breathe easier and get the sleep they need.
John and Bert Jacobs were brothers traveling America and selling t-shirts out of their van, when they were inspired to design a character with the slogan “Life is Good” which became a huge hit.
Jeff Woolf was thrown off his bike, but his helmet saved his life. This incident inspired him to invent a folding portable bike helmet called the Morpher Folding Helmet. To date he has sold thousands of his helmets.