412: Million Dollar Idea

412: Million Dollar Idea

Jul 16, 2010
Back in the 1980s Michael Larson made the most money ever on the game show Press Your Luck. And it was no accident—Larson had a plan to get rich that surprised everyone: The home viewers, the show's producers and mostly Larson himself.
This and other stories of million dollar ideas, including some from our listeners.

Web extra: Listen to Producer Robyn Semien talking with a listener named Abel Gonzales, about his million dollar idea.

  • Hanco's and Henry's are two restaurants in Brooklyn that sell Vietnamese sandwiches and bubble tea. Their menus are identical, down to the order of the items, the layout, the fonts. Ira Glass investigates, and finds out about Henry's million dollar idea. (8 1/2 minutes)BusinessFood/Drinks/Cooking

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  • In the world of engineers and investors, there's something called the "elevator pitch." It's what you'd say if you ran into a rich investor in an elevator, and had only 60 seconds to sell your product. The concept is so common that MIT actually hosts a contest for the best elevator pitch. Ira speaks with the contest's judge, Tim Rowe of the Cambridge Innovation Center. (11 minutes)Education
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    • "Sexy Pitch", MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition

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  • Comedian Kumail Nanjiani makes his pitch for a product you may have heard of. His story was recorded at Comix in New York. You can get Kumail's tour dates on twitter. (2 1/2 minutes) DrugsFunnyLive Performance

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  • Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt has this story about a really ambitious million dollar idea: Getting people to see the good side of death. Planet Money is a collaboration between NPR and This American Life. Check out their blog and twice weekly podcast. (15 minutes) DeathDrugsEconomics

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  • Shawn Allee tells a story of the oldest kind of million dollar idea, the scam. Or was it an honest venture? Back in the 1980s Michael Larson made the most money ever on the game show Press Your Luck. And it was no accident. Larson had a plan to get rich that surprised everyone. (18 minutes)Personal FinanceTelevision

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Photo

Larson on Press Your Luck, where he won a record $110,237 in 1984.

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