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Quirky makes rubber bands with hooks?

Quirky Inc. founder Ben Kaufman introduced the Egg Minder on "The Tonight Show" last fall, calling it "the world's smartest egg tray."

But few wanted to pay $79.99 to count the number of eggs in their fridge via smartphone—or determine which egg had sat in the tray longest. It sold fewer than 4,000 units.

By contrast, he ridiculed rubber bands with hooks, calling the invention "the stupidest thing I've ever seen." But then Quirky sold more than 835,000 packs of Bandits.

Separating winners from flops is the challenge facing Quirky, the five-year-old New York-based invention-facilitating company that is expanding into new categories even as it tries to hone how it uses the crowd to determine what products it sells.

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