In 1975, Gary Dahl, a California advertising man came up with the idea of a pet rock after a conversation with friends about cats, dogs, and birds being too much trouble and costing too much money. He said a pet rock was an ideal pet – easy and cheap. Apparently he was right.
The next 2 weeks he wrote the Pet Rock Training Manual – a step-by-step guide about taking care of your pet rock and how to train it. He went to a builder’s supply store and found a Rosarita Beach Stone that sold for a penny. He packed the stone in a box shaped like a pet carrying case along with the book.
Dahl introduced the Pet Rock at a gift show, where the store, Neiman-Marcus ordered five hundred of them. Newsweek later did a story on him and his pet rocks and within a few months he was shipping 10,000 Pet Rocks every day. He even appeared on The Tonight Show twice.
By Christmas that same year two and a half tons of rocks had been sold, three-fourths of all the newspapers in America had run Pet Rock stories. A million rocks sold for $3.95 a piece in just a few months making Gary Dahl an instant millionaire. I remember as a kid thinking why in the world would anyone buy a rock when you can walk outside and find one and paint it yourself but people did. The man had an idea, he pursued it, and it made him a millionaire. What’s the lesson of this story? No matter how silly your idea may be, there’s guaranteed to be someone out there that will like and pay you for it, society is gullable and always looking for the next trend, the next thing that seems so unrealistic and so crazy it has to be cool.