Howdy Reddit! My name is Matty Benedetto and I am the creator of Unnecessary Inventions! For the past year and a half I have designed and built 181 fake products that solve problems that don't actually exist. Some of my favorites include the Not Hot Blanket, One Butt Jeans, Pandemic Prevention Utility Belt, and much much more!
People have been asking for a new AMA recently so I thought I'd take some time on this summer Monday to answer whatever unnecessary questions you might have about my inventions, how I make them, where my inspiration comes from, my personal design background, or just about anything else in between. Ask Me Anything!
It wouldn't be a good AMA without some shameless promotion! After 181 inventions, I have decided to finally take a crack at releasing one out into the world on Kickstarter! You can check out the entire Kickstarter Campaign for the Jigsaw Puzzle Coffee Table here!
Now hit me with your best questions!
Admittedly this is not related to your inventions (which are amazing, BTW), and I recognize that this might come off as kind of a rude question (not my intent at all but I can understand if it does), but it's something I've been really curious about since I started following you on Twitter and I've kinda been dying to ask you this question:
Why do you photoshop/enhance your already-beautiful eyes in your promotional photos?
When I first started following you and saw your photos, I couldn't believe how green your eyes were. Just, amazingly beautiful. At first I wasn't sure if they were really that green, but every single photo you posted had the same color eyes, so I assumed they were just unusually vivid and I was floored with how pretty they were. But then I saw some videos, and I noticed your eyes in your videos were not quite as green as the ones in photos, and I could only conclude that you must enhance the vividness of your eyes in your publicity photos.
I don't really know what I'm getting at here, and I totally understand if you don't answer this question. But my thought is that you already have amazingly pretty eyes. Like, one-in-a-million set of gorgeous green eyeballs. So why go the extra step to make them look unnaturally green? Is it a vanity thing? Or is it an unconscious thing and you just make all of your photos extra saturated? I work in design and illustration which requires a lot of attention to detail, so it might just be that this stuck out for me specifically because of the line of work I'm in and not something that anyone else really notices.
~A girl probably a tad too obsessed with how pretty your eyes are lol
The short answer, everything I do is fake.
Have you ever been partway through building an invention and said to yourself, "damn, this one is actually useful." ?
Technically all of my inventions have a use. A lot of people confuse the words unnecessary and useless. I like to design products that all have a physical use to them but there is always going to be an easier way to do it or a more practical way.
But my mind is pretty visual when I'm coming up with ideas. I pretty much have the final product look and function visualized in my head before I start building it, so I pretty much always know how it's going to turn out.
My ideal for an Unnecessary Invention would be a belt with fake hands sticking out of it, so my three kids can all hold “my” hands while I also push a full grocery cart. I submitted this to you and sadly but not unsurprisingly got no response. So, honest answer, how bad of an idea is it?
(I like your stuff. Most of it. Some is just weird.)
It’s actually not a bad one - not sure where you had submitted it but I may have just missed it. Now who is gunna let me borrow their kids for the photoshoot haha!
Does it piss you off that I comment "you should make _____ condoms" on every one of your posts regarding the new invention?
I started with the crocs-condoms one, got a bunch of upvotes, and now I can't stop. Won't stop.
I always feel that the entire point of posting my inventions online is to create a conversation. Sometimes I purposeful put something into a photo or video that I know will spark a slew of comments. So to me - the more comments the better regardless on what they are commenting on. :)
Whats your one unnecessary invention that you use on a daily basis?
How did you come up with your marketing image? (Ie, your look and style for pics/vids)
I was super hungover & tired the first time I took photos of one of my unnecessary inventions and didn't exactly do it on purpose. But when I was editing the photos the next day I thought, yeah I'd probably pretty lifeless if I had to use these. So I just refined it a little bit and stuck with it.
Any plans for a sequel to the coffee table? Maybe a 50,000 piece dining table?
I grew up getting the Guinness World Record books every single year, so getting a world record is rear the top of my list for things I want to do. Doing the "biggest something" has always been my thought of how I would go about it. *googling world's biggest puzzle*
Have you been noticed from making your inventions out in public?
I have been recognized. I'll get messages now and then of someone asking if I was just in a particular place because they thought it was me. I've also had a few bartenders recognize me and offer some free drinks which I'll never turn down.
Hey man, hope you are well. How much space does your past time take up, does it fit in a garage? Do you need to lease a warehouse? Also, who has been the inspiration to you to start this inventing. All the best, keep up the good work.
Luckily it's moved beyond a past time into my full time. I have a 1000 sq foot design studio!
Have you been in touch with Croc since the C&D? Generally the legal departments are far removed from the marketing department so I hope there’s no bad blood. It was a massive viral opportunity.
Crocs x Posty were hype.
Gucci x Andrew (GucciGhost) blew up a while back.
I would have snagged your Croc gloves so fast.
I had maybe 2-3 back and forth's with the law firm that represents them back when it happened. I know it was probably exactly that just a firm doing their job representing their client when it popped up online. I'm still waiting for the full circle moment when they want to bring them to life - Crocs CALL ME!
Have you accidentally made any necessary inventions?
I don't think I've accidentally made any necessary ones but I have purposely made necessary inventions. I've launched a handful of actual products over the past 15 years or so online.
I love the sense of fun you bring to this. Were you the kid in class always getting in trouble for being silly and making jokes or did that develop as you got older?
I would say so I probably was to a degree. I was also always just creating from stuff from duct tape wallets and learning how to knit when I was like 10. Being a little bit out there and creative has always been a part of me.
how often do you get confused with Nascar driver Matt DiBenedetto?
I'll get message now and then of people asking if I've heard of him. People seem to like to correlate me more to a budget Aaron Rogers.
Have you ever considered selling your inventions?
Well - I just launched one of my inventions on Kickstarter last week! You can check out the link in the original post above.
Why won’t you make the avocado stapler? So you can staple your avocados together so they won’t roll off the counter?
If I paint my stapler green, can we call it a finished invention?
Could you please invent something to flip jigsaw puzzle pieces over to the correct side? I would also like a car with the steering wheel in the middle, to make things even. It would be nice to have counters on kitchen and bathroom items to see how many times a day you open the fridge, etc. How about a washing machine that ejects the clothes like bread from a toaster and sends them over to the dryer? Too necessary?
If you buy me a spare car and washing machine - I'd be happy to at least try to build them ha!
What’s your education background? How do you know how to make so much stuff???
I actually went to school for business & marketing. All of my product development and design knowledge has just been self taught over the years through Youtube/trial & error. There is so much free information online if you want to learn something new - you can really learn anything if you just take the time to commit to it,
What was the first invention or idea that got you into this hobby?
Do you have another job besides making unnecessary inventions??
Right now it is my full time job.
What kind of hobbies do you do for fun?
Thanks for your constant content, I follow you on Reddit and am always happy to see your stuff. Keep up the great work and have a wonderful day!😊
I live up in Vermont so lots of outdoor activity with skiing being my go to!
Is there a dream project that you really want to make but due to cost, scale, or any other factor, not feasible?
Well my dream project is to open an Unnecessary Invention Museum - where you can check them all out in person, watch the fake commerical, see the 3D printers and other tools in action making them, a space to learn and brainstorm your own ideas, etc.
Mainly covid is making it not as feasible as I would like but I'm slowly putting the pieces together for it.
Hey Matty - so I’ve asked this question to a number of people; from Pablo of PBS Kids’ old show Zoom fame, to a pornstar, to recently, Tom DeLonge of Blink-182/Angels & Airwaves, and I’ve got a number of different responses. But with each response, it leaves me wanting to know other peoples’ stance on the worldwide debate:
Is a hotdog considered a sandwich?
Do you see UI as you finally finding your calling or do you want to eventually do something entirely different now that you have a bigger platform?
Nope I think this is my calling. I’ve been designing and selling “necessary” things online for the past 15 years or so. I’ve always had this stupid ideas and now I finally have an outlet to bring them all to life.
Do you patent your inventions? If so is it hard to attain a patent for something "unnecessary"? Additionally has anyone tried to sue you for infringing on their design for anything?
I don't have any patents on any yet - it can easily cost upwards of $20k+ and 1-2 years to secure a patent. Even once you have a patent, if someone rips you off you still need to have the financial resources to hire lawyers to get them to stop and reclaim any damages you might have incurred. For certain things I think patents can work, but overall I think the system is somewhat broken and becoming irrelevant.
How and where do you make your inventions?
I use different methods from 3D printing, laser cutting, mold making, and wood working. I have a design studio in Burlington VT.
Hey Mr Benedetto, big fan and aspiring comedian/engineer - no clue which one.
My question for you is about your design process. You make solutions to problems that don’t exist. Which do you come up with first, or which one do you find yourself starting a project with more often - the fake problem, or the fake solution?
I suppose it would depend on the invention. They come to me in all different ways. Sometimes is something neither and I'll think of a funny name of a possible invention and I'll work backwards from there to think of an idea to fit the name I thought of. It really can just happen anywhere/anytime.
The puzzle coffee table. Can you actually make it a thing?
Yup! I already have a furniture manufacture lined up to bring it up to full scale production!
What invention annoyed you the most once it was created?
How long does I take to make them?
I can take anywhere from lime 3 hours to 3 days depending on how complicated the invention is.
Do you take requests for making stuff? If so feel free to use:
1) Hole-y Bible, just a bible with holes cut out rendering it useless.
2) Condoms for gamers
Actually about 30% of my inventions have been fan submissions. But you have to remember my products are unnecessary not useless. They all must have to do something just in a roundabout way.
So, what is the right coast?
The East Coast of the US I guess. I made this account like 5-6 years ago never expecting it would be something that stuck around.
Do you plan on integrating more electronics into your inventions?
I honestly would love to. I have a couple Arduino projects in a few of my inventions but they are all basic servo stuff. It’s mainly that I don’t k ow much about coding, etc and need to learn more to feel comfortable adding them into my builds.
Have you been on TV with your inventions?
I have! I’m actually filming a segment tomorrow for the Kelly Clarkson show!
What invention do you think would sell the best?
It does seem like the Not Hot Blanket really resonates with a lot of people 😂
What is your favourite invention?
I honestly loved how my Selfie Sandals came out!
Are you familiar with Chindōgu?
I wasn’t when I first started doing this but people quickly turned me onto it.
What kind of programs/software do you use to create some of the 3D printed inventions?
I use Fusion360 to design all of my 3d Models.
I heard about it and bought the books after I started making my inventions. I get some inspiration now and then - they definitely are a bit dated at this point with some of the inventions actually becoming real objects but definitely fun to browse when I’m in a design slump.
Hey, any chance you might offer your Drink O Clock for sale? It’s a really attractive looking design!
Not quite sure on that one. The design might need a little bit of work before it could go into production.
have you ever thought to yourself "why tf am I making this"?
I don’t think so. I only tackle ideas that I think will land well and be funny I would say more often, wow that looks fuckin stupid. Haha.
Well my Jigsaw Puzzle Coffee Table that I just launched. It’s been the only one I’ve really push for sale.
Were you ever in the background of a "Billy on the Street" episode? I know how weird that sounds but I saw one of your posts here and then saw an episode where Billy runs around with a group of guys and one looked like you.
Ha! I wish but nope.
Why do you keep showing in my feed? And how can i make you go away?
I suppose because I create content that other people enjoy and it gets upvoted. I believe Reddit has a block feature.
How many of these IAMAs have you done? I feel like we see you do one every few months. Are book sales not doing well?
I've only done one AMA around last September or so. Books are basically sold out after they launched in Urban Outfitters nationwide around Christmas. Working on the second one to launch this fall.