Kaufman would know. As a self-described “maker and breaker,” Kaufman emphasized the importance is being a little crazy—so crazy that you follow keep on inventing even when others may not see your vision. As the founder and CEO of Quirky, he has created a new paradigm for making invention accessible to everyone in a crowdsourced fashion. Kaufman’s unique concept and commitment to invention has led to profiles in the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, TIME, and many other publications.
Ben Kaufman was a fitting guest speaker for this annual event, now in its 32nd year, which is the largest of its kind in the country. An inventor all throughout this childhood, Kaufman remarked on the important support he received from his parents. Instead of quashing his fantastical thinking, they encouraged it.
In his talk to the young inventors gathered on May 2nd at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut (UConn campus), he remarked how he would have loved to have the support of an organization like Connecticut Invention Convention when he was a kid. The assembled K-12 students had just wrapped up a long day of enthusiastically showcasing their diverse range of inventions to the thousands of people in attendance.
But the main takeaway he wanted to inventors to have is that the process is not ending at the event when the awards are given out—it is just beginning. Commenting on the inventions he had seen throughout the day’s event, he stated how he would love to buy some of the inventions as finished products.
He wanted the inventors to be encouraged to continue tinkering with their ideas, and to treat them with a level of seriousness. He wasn’t talking to kids with fanciful ideas, but potential current and future entrepreneurs.
Microsoft Accessibility Award Winners
Name: Cooper Dwyer
Town: Somers, CT
School: Somers Elementary School QUEST Program
Invention: Pajama Weights
Name: Samuel Harmon
Town: Colchester, CT
School: Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School
Name: Eli Mathieu
Town: Colchester, CT
School: Talcott Mountain Academy of Science, Math & Tech
Name: Logan Reese
Town: Naugatuck, CT
School: Cross Street Intermediate School
Invention: The Shoe-matic Popper Box
Name: William Seward
Town: Branford, CT
School: Totoket Valley Elementary School
Invention: The Safety Swing
Name: Liam Wrynn
Town: Ellington, CT
School: Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy
Invention: Port Plug Pocket