A YouTube gadget game show that’s funny and loves inventors
Many of the new gadgets we know and love come to us from big international companies – Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Apple, to name a few. But America is all about the entrepreneurship of its citizens. So many innovative, useful, and just plain nifty gadgets come from mom-and-pop garage inventors. There are legions of teachers, truck drivers, plumbers, lawyers, nurses and others who work full time to become inventors and entrepreneurs in their spare time. These people make products that are often sold directly on the inventor’s website. Since this is often a single reference, these products are hard to find in Target, Walmart, or other big box stores. And then there is the challenge of telling the world about the gadget. Buying TV time or even social media can add up and getting to CES or other tech shows is time consuming and difficult in the age of the pandemic. Meanwhile, landing an appearance on Shark aquarium is like winning the lottery. (It can be a game-changer when this happens, but you sure can’t count on it.)
Enter Steve Greenberg, a champion of mom and pop inventors for years. In 2008, he wrote the book Nation of gadgets, which showcases the gadgets and gadgets of over 100 novice inventors. For over a decade, Greenberg’s has been demonstrating in-house gadgetry inventions on NBC Today broadcast and on local television stations across the country. He also hosted a Food Network reality show called Invention hunters, which led him to search the United States for the next hot kitchen gadget. He was even a member of the board of directors of the United Inventors Association.
âI like inventors. My dad was an inventor and I want to do what I can to help inventors showcase their new gadgets, âsays Greenberg. âIt’s frustrating because I see so much more gadgets than TV segments. I really needed another place to share more new products. Greenberg wanted to create another platform to showcase new gadgets from mom and pop garage inventors, so during the pandemic lockdown, he launched a gadget-themed Zoom game show on YouTube. It’s called What is this thing? “It’s a kind of Shark aquarium meets What is my line? or maybe I have a secret,” he says.
During each episode, the panelists attempt to guess the identity of a mystery gadget. Viewers play the game. If you know your gadgets or have a high ‘gadget IQ’, you will guess the gadget before the panelists. So far the guests have included everyone from the comedian Judy Gold and drag performer Sweets samples To YouTube Superstar Matty Benedetto (Useless inventions) and consumer electronics Public relations guru Lois Whitman Hess. For a quick overview, check out this fun mini-episode featuring Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager in a recent episode of Today.
âThe show is very simple and a lot of fun,â says Greenberg. âHopefully we can make the game show a much bigger show. To get there, I need more viewers, more free subscribers, and ultimately I need a sponsor. I have supported inventors and the gadget enthusiast community for years. Now I hope these same people will support me by watching and subscribing to the YouTube channel.
The spectacle is pleasant to watch. The panelists and guest panelists are hysterical, the gimmicks are hard to guess, and they’re all real. âEvery mystery gadget featured on the show is available for purchase; none are a prototype, âsays Greenberg. “I know my gadgets and I know I have been puzzled many times.”
Tom is the editor-in-chief of Dealerscope.