5 Consumer Innovations That Blew My Mind in 2014

I am not an easy sell. I’m rarely enticed by coupons, promotions or ads, with maybe the exception of a Florida oranges spot from the 1970s (using slo-mo video of a fresh orange being pulled apart; misty juice jetting in the air).

So looking back on 2014 and recalling not one, two or even three consumer discoveries that thrilled me, but FIVE, I figured I had to share.

I preface this by making clear that these innovations are not necessarily new, but they are new to me. Additionally, I have no connection with these companies except as a consumer. And finally, the inclusion of Uber was a last-minute decision, not so much to inject “controversy,” but because these lists require an odd number in the headline (e.g. “5 Habits To Avoid On A First Date”…”7 Things Never To Say To Your Mom”).



Still have a landline phone and 90% of your incoming calls are telemarketing robocalls?

And you’re baffled because you’re on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call list?Don’t waste time complaining to the FTC. Just sign up for Nomorobo. It’s a free cloud-based service that uses the simultaneous ring feature to automatically hang up on robocalls after one ring.

It makes life quieter immediately.



My friend Caleb and I once went on a search for Delsym with a pal of his who was suffering a winter cough. That pal referred to Delsym as a miracle drug — and he happened to be a priest.We went store to store asking for the OTC medication, and one employee was particularly amusing with his loud, flummoxed response: DELSYM?!!

Cut forward to last week when I finally tried Delsym amid a bad cough and flu. Not 20 minutes after drinking the 10 ml dose, the cough was stopped cold. Active ingredient dextromethorphan is miraculous.


Kleenex Cool Touch

During the same flu I needed tissues and in my search for an aloe vera type (which feel better on the nose) stumbled upon Kleenex Cool Touch, which promises to be cooling to the touch with a mix of aloe vera, coconut oil and other moisterizures. How true could that be? Seriously, the box actually feels like it’s been been stored in the refrigerator!

Kimberly-Clark really delivers here.


LED lightbulbs

How many humans does it take to change a lightbulb? None, once LEDs are in place.

The light emitting diode technology encased in durable shells will last for several years. And the “soft” or “warm” type — rather than “daylight” — provides a higher quality light than incandescent bulbs IMO. I was skeptical about these following a horrible era enduring the previous “it” bulbs; the unbearable Al Gore-inspired curly compact fluorescents, which produce DMV-quality light. People ask “but are LEDs really worth shelling out that much more money for?” The answer is yes.



This startup has managed to withstand excruciatingly negative media coverage for one simple reason: it’s upended an industry so entrenched in its ineficiency that people fall in love with it instantly. One side-benefit of Uber: all those entertaining fits of “outrage” about surge pricing help create “teachable moments” for kids learning about supply and demand (so they will grow up to be responsible and informed Internet commenters).


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