The common theme with all six contestants last night, and maybe all of the semi-finalists, was a general disgruntlement with the design companies they had hired. Sharon fired hers for being too far left field, Bobby split his money between two firms when he was unimpressed with the first, Jodi complained that hers tried to throw in too many bells and whistles, Ed and Janusz were both told their goals were impossible, and I am appalled at what happened between the Saffutos and the Flushpure design team. I think there's certainly a fine line between being in control of your product and being completely close-minded. The Sackmaster inventor is the prime example of a man so convinced of his tool's perfection that he declined any outside input.
Sharon's decision to leave her first designer saved her a month's worth of frustrating conversations with someone who clearly did not share her vision. When she met with the second team, she found exactly what she had in mind. As a huge fan of alternate reality movies like Sliding Doors (starring, my hero, Gwyneth Paltrow), I often wonder how small choices affect the ultimate outcome of our lives. In this case, had Sharon stayed with the original designer, would she still be in the competition? Is it really true that 30% of women's bathroom stall doors are broken? It seems more like 97% to me, but maybe that's because the public restrooms I use are predominantly at dive bars.
Was Bobby right to hire two design firms? He ended up with essentially identical products, and I wonder if this is because he gave both companies the same directives. He would have been better off, in my opinion, if he had used the strengths of each of the design firms to improve his product in different ways. The first group he met with had some valuable suggestions on making the belts easier to use, with better grip. The second one only seemed to add a splashy package that mimics every other as-seen-on-TV! at Bed, Bath and Beyond. And, I'm sorry, but that Tonerbelt looks way too easy to use. Even if that self-proclaimed "laziest person alive" bought one, she'd probably grow bored with it after a week.
Jodi did as Peter told her when she broadened the market appeal of her Headline It, but this is what I really don't understand: Children and firefighters, sure, but what about the drag queens? Also, how can she have spent FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS and still not have a strong adhesive or a pad that fits correctly? Her test video was very disappointing. Although I support the idea of an absorption liner for people who have to wear wigs and hats, I thought that even if you looked past the horrid design, a dollar per liner is absurd. Maybe if she had simplified further, abandoning the fancy colors, she could have saved her consumers another fifty cents.
I'm not going to waste too much breath on the Flushpure (shudder the thought). I am as paranoid as the next guy about toilet microbes landing on my toothbrush, but it is unlikely that I will buy a whole new seat cover to install in my bathroom. Hopefully, the Saffutos have considered going straight to seat cover manufacturers, or even high end retailers like Kohler, and tried to get them to license and incorporate Flushpure.
Finally, I am elated about the four finalists we will see compete next week in what I think will be the final episode of the season. I want Erik to help kids across America improve their football catch. I want Francisco to make it possible for people to ride bikes two at a time. I want Ed to help improve spelling skills. And I very much want Janusz to save the lives of thousands of children. How would the world change if we choose any one of these four over the others? Who has your vote?