There have been several terrible products featured on Shark Tank over the years, but tonight’s NoPhone was one of the worst yet. Although marketed as a solution to the crippling smartphone addictions faced by so many millennials, the overpriced hunk of plastic featured during an ill-advised segment of the show was really nothing more than a bad gag gift.
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Chris Sheldon and Van Gould’s unusual pitch began with them staring at their smartphones — a familiar sight for anyone who hangs out with the under-30 crowd.
Once jolted away from their devices, the entrepreneurs made their pitch, and suffice to say, it wasn’t very convincing. They referred to the product as “the pet rock of our generation,” but they also billed it as a tool for helping phone addicts tune back into the real world. Later, they claimed that, although the NoPhone is technically just a piece of plastic, it’s actually much more than a piece of plastic. Sorry guys, but the NoPhone really is just a piece of plastic — and at $18 for the selfie model, it’s a huge waste of money. Those who desire a gag gift can find one for far cheaper, and those who wish to kick their phone addictions can find much more effective ways to do so.
The Sharks were both amused and annoyed by the product, which they politely referred to as “poop.” Mark Cuban had an especially scathing critique; he claimed that the only thing he hates more than seeing people glued to their phones is a dumb patent.
The Sharks are occasionally a bit too harsh with their critiques, but tonight, they were right on point. There are so many hardworking entrepreneurs developing products that people actually need, it’s a shame to see two advertising experts highlighted for developing nothing more than a hunk of plastic.