Idea #24: How to Use Ear Plugs Without Looking Like a Goofball

See also Idea #20: Why Music Venues Should Be Required to have Publicly Accessible Sound Meters

The Problem

I go dancing quite a bit but the venues play the music at unsafe levels. The immediate solution is earplugs, but reusable earplugs are just gross. And disposable ones make you look like a hammerhead shark.

The Solution

Watch the video!

Idea #23: The Device Apple Should Have Made Instead of the Macbook Pro with Touchbar

The Problem

Apple is certainly getting the technical things right with thinner, faster, and more powerful mobile computing, but if you're like me you've felt a lack of vision and excitement in the last few years at their releases. "Underwhelmed" is the word I see in many reviews. But what's the problem? Where should personal mobile computing be going if thinner and lighter is "underwhelming"?

The Solution

A brand new device designed from the ground up with one purpose: to unleash human creativity with optimal speed and precision.

I call this device the Mikebook Pro. And it truly is a book - designed from the ground up be used like one.


The guiding principle for every aspect of the Mikebook Pro experience is that the enemy is input.

Input. Your keyboard is an input device. So is your trackpad and mouse. So are your fingers. When you think about it, even all those stupid menus you dig through are all just input devices. The only thing anyone really cares about, though, is the output. I just want to get the idea in my head into this window as quickly and accurately as possible. Everything else are just tools to that end. 

The enemy is input

Rather than constraining creatives with decades-old input devices, Mikebook Pro liberates creatives to use whatever input devices best suit their needs. It's two 12.9 inch Force Touch surfaces make the traditional laptop's typewriter-like design a thing of the past.

Writers now enjoy a digital keyboard custom-sized to their hands available in every language that they can speak. Artists can draw and paint without obscuring their canvas or contorting their hands with keyboard shortcuts. Sculptors can feel the clay beneath their fingertips. Animators can push and pull in 3dimensions while animating the 4th dimension, time, simultaneously. Musicians now have pressure sensitivity at all ten of their fingertips. And the list goes on and on and on.

It is the next generation of mobile device - a device designed to conquer the enemy of creativity - input - forever.



Mikebook Pro replaces keyboard shortcuts with context-aware shortcuts. It's Apple's touchbar done right. Enjoy multi-touch, gestural, and pressure-sensitive input devices that provide greater performance and precision. 

Combination input

Multi-touch, multi-hand combos make using your computer more like sitting at your workbench than poking through a filing cabinet. Combination input methods such as dictation and multi-touch are at the heart of the Mikebook Pro experience and are integrated deep into the OS.

2-Gesture Navigation

Forget clutter-prone workspaces. Mikebook Pro is optimized for in-app multi-screen mission control organization. Any command, panel, file, or option is no more than two movements away.


Mikebook Pro also gives you access to and command over memory usage. Push your device to its limits and when it chokes, know why and how to fix it.

Unleash Your True Potential

With such an advanced input device, why go back to antiquated keyboards, mice, and trackpads? When you need more power or screen real estate connect Mikebook Pro to any desktop computer and control all your favorite programs with world-class precision.

Thank you for taking a look at the imaginary Mikebook Pro, the first mobile device designed from the ground up to unleash human creativity like never before.

Write. Dictate. Draw. Paint. Sculpt. Animate. Compose.

Mikebook Pro: The Enemy is Input







Idea #22: A Coloring Book You Have to Ink First

The Problem

Coloring books come pre-inked so my children (or whoever is coloring) will never be challenged to use a pen or brush with precision. In addition, I'm a firm believer that a strong background in tracing leads to great drawing abilities.

The Solution

Not surprisingly, the solution is a coloring book that doesn't come pre-inked. In fact, it could be a whole line of coloring books ranging from typical children-style versions with cartoons to grown-up versions with more complex illustrations. I would be interested in this grown-up version if it had pencils from my favorite artists (or a variety) for sure and perforated pages so you can detach the art and hang it up after you've created it. Perhaps for the uber nerd a variety of styles would also be included to challenge your inking abilities.

Of necessity, the paper quality would need to be suitable for holding ink, and the entire product line would of course not be suitable for very young children.

Idea #21: Per-chapter & per-page purchasing for non-fiction Books

The Problem

Non-fiction books are like a music album - 8 out of 10 of the songs I just don't want, like, or need. Why should I have to pay for the stuff I'm not interested in just to get access to the information I am? 

The Solution

Per-chapter and in some cases per-page purchasing of book content. Give me a TASTE of each chapter of the book, then let me decide if I want everything or just certain chapters. It's no different than what iTunes did for the music album.

Why this would be useful

Art Collecting & Study

I can only speak for myself, but in the world of art books I simply don't feel like I have the need to purchase all of an artist's content or sketchbook. In many cases I only like a selection of an artists' work. Do I really need to drop $30 or $50 just to get the 3-10 images (not even digitized ... ) in print form that I want? This same concept could also encourage numerous smaller micro-payments on something as simple as an Instagram post. Can you imagine if each time someone liked your content they were instead donating .05 to you?  Maybe that's another idea altogether ...

Business Study

A lot of business books fill their pages with case studies. I hate that crap. Here's a $5 book with 2 basic ideas and here's $10 of case studies proving why the 2 ideas are worthwhile. I would shoot myself if I had to listen to all these case studies on Audible. I don't care about case studies. Just give me the meat and cut the rest. It will also allow us as consumers to tell you what we really are looking for.



Idea #20: Why music venues should be required to have publicly accessible Sound Meters

The Problem

I go dancing a lot and sometimes I wonder if my hearing will be damaged from the loud music. Why should I have to wonder this? Don't I have a right to know if a band or DJ is playing their music too loud? It's not subjective - it's science.

The Solution

Pass laws that require music venues to maintain public sound meters both near the speakers / band and on the opposite end of the room/venue. These meters should be easy to read so that even an idiot will know whether the sound being produced is within a safe level to prevent permanent hearing loss. At least at that point it's a matter of choice, not chance.



Idea #19 - Why Science should pay the world's best digital artists to visualize their dreams

Dreams are cool. Dreams are weird. Dreams are mostly ignored.

But why do we ignore them? If there is anything fascinating in this life, it’s dreams. What is it about dreams that makes people reluctant, even apprehensive to talk about them?

Is it because dreams still confound us despite our best efforts? What we know is minuscule compared to what we don’t know.

Outrageous claims surround dreams. Seeing the future. Meeting loved ones. Inventing. Knowing impossible things. But most of all: why even have them to begin with? Where exactly is the dream world? What is it? Because it’s not this world. It’s not even like using one’s imagination. It’s something altogether different. AND I FOR ONE WANT TO KNOW WHAT AND WHY!

In the last 20 years, for the first time in history, artists have been empowered with a digital revolution. Artists are faster, better, and more versatile than ever before. Talented digital artists can paint, draw, and sculpt almost anything they can imagine in a matter of minutes, and I believe that such a gift should not be used solely for entertainment. We need some of these artists to help us decipher the world of dreams from the inside out.

A world-class artist could easily paint a few digital paintings and numerous drawings during the hours immediately following a dream. With advances in VR on the near horizon, it will not be long before a digital artist will even be able to recreate the environments of his or her dreams in a way that others can experience them “like a dream."

If you could live someone else’s dream, would you want to? If you were seen in someone else’s dream would you be interested to know what happened? If you spoke in someone else’s dream would you want to know what you said?

If there were a YouTube channel that told other people’s dreams using world-class artwork would you subscribe to it?

If we had dozens of artists “drawing their dreams" on a daily basis do you think we would learn more about the dream world in a year? In 5 years? In 10?

I believe it’s a no-brainer. As an artist, an adventurer, and a dreamer, I see the dream world, not Mars, as our next great frontier. It’s a fascinating universe of discovery, symbols, and chaos.

Let’s start making our nightly dreams - not our waking dreams - a reality - and see what happens next!

Idea #18: Why I Chose to Give Away My Sketchbook Rather Than Shelve It

This idea is currently being executed in the form of Free Sketch Night @ 311 Gallery each First Friday Raleigh.

The Problem

Real animators are rare, and as such most people never meet one unless they go to a comic convention or live in LA. I didn't find exposure to real animators until college in my mid-20s, and all through school I was behind my peers because of it. If you think a good piano teacher is hard to find -- try finding a good animation instructor!

The Solution

Host a regular Free Sketch Night in the community with the primary purpose of increasing local awareness of animation and animation careers.

Rather than hoard my drawings until I die in sketchbooks that just collect dust I choose to draw on looseleaf paper and give all my sketches away each month at a local gallery during our monthly art festival First Friday Raleigh. In addition, I draw custom sketches from 6pm - 9pm.

Participants can choose to wait for a custom sketch of anything THEY dream up, or pick a sketch (while supplies last) from my free sketchbook.

How does this help me as an artist?

First, allowing others to "borrow" my skill set for a few minutes to bring to life an idea of their own devising is extraordinarily fulfilling for me!

Second, it keeps me drawing regularly and pushes my boundaries because I don't want to disappoint!

Third, it helps drive traffic for the host gallery, which helps my community which I live in.

Finally, sketch recipients are encouraged to share their sketches on social media and tag me, which never hurts!

Idea #17: Legal Document Analyzer App

The Problem

Every website under the sun has long EULAs, Privacy Policies, Terms of Use, etc that we all theoretically read but let’s face it … we don’t. There could be anything in there and yet we still check the box saying we agree to it. This is a terrible habit for humanity in the long-term.

The Solution

A Mac app that analyzes legal documents based on parameters you give it and highlights potential problem sections for you to skim/read to determine if a given website meets your predefined standards.


If a given service has the right to sell or share my info (ie, email) I would like to know.