I'm in Germany right now for a 2 week visit, and spent the last two days traveling. (Actually, I traveled all Wednesday, arrived Thursday morning, and then slept away half the day.)
Flying internationally is never fun, especially when the trip involves 2 lay-overs (9 hours in airports) and 757 jets without seat-back videos.
But recently, my trips have started getting a little longer because I keep getting delayed during my security checks.
I've traveled a lot, so I know how to get through as fast as possible normally. I wear slip-off shoes, pack my bags so I can easily pull out my electronics, and forget about belts, jewelry and hair clips.
It's... the protective screen on my laptop!
Couple months ago, I discovered Schtickers - a company that makes colorful "skins" for laptop computers. They have pre-loaded designs, or you can upload your own. The skin can be made to size, and is easy to remove.
I ordered the Starry Night print for my laptop and I love it because it makes my laptop a lot more fun. (Let's face it, matte steel grey is "so not creative"!)
But it has been the worst traveling decision I've made! Every time I go through security, at least one of the scanners pulls me aside and questions me:
"Where did you get that laptop cover?"
"Did you make it yourself?"
"Where did you buy it?"
"Can I get it in Europe?"
"Do they have other pictures?"
"Does it come off?"
"How much did it cost?"
And my favorite question:
"Do you get a lot of attention with that cover?" (Asked by one of three extremely-interested security officers who were peering at my laptop instead of screening passengers.)
I've been pulled aside in Minneapolis, in Chicago, in Connecticut, in Amsterdam and in Hamburg. Always with the same questions.
It now takes me longer to get through security than the time I accidentally brought an apple into the US (don't do that!), or the time security searched my laptop for dynamite (yes, dynamite!)
It's hilarious - because everyone is completely enthralled by my laptop.
Schtickers are not the kind of ideas that change the world. Instead, they are the kind of solution that most people don't even know they want... until they see them!
That's what makes them brilliant - the fact that they tap into customers' deep desires for individuality in a way that most people would never even think of on their own.