How a $20 Alarm Clock Saved My Life

Take a look at this ugly alarm clock:

What an ugly alarm clock
What an ugly alarm clock (Photo:

This $20 clock is the cheapest looking alarm clock around. It seems straight out of Chinatown. It does nearly nothing. But every morning and every night, it saves my life.

You see, we all have the disease of wanting more with our iPhones. We want one more peek at messages in the morning, and one more peek at Facebook at night.

This little alarm clock has no apps. It does not have Donald Trump or Buzzfeed. It does not notify me when a friend from high school has joined Instagram. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m not terrified of it. It means I don’t stare into it’s bright light and see a work email from my boss. This clock has a zero percent chance of ruining my sleep.

It makes no noise. There is no ticking, and no bells. And the very best part is it has one tiny white light that only turns on for a few seconds and then fades when you physically pick it up.

How much would you pay for a device that never gets upset and “chooses” not to text you? How much would you pay for a device that does not allow for you to connect it to the internet? I’m guessing a couple hundred dollars. And if it was an Apple product, double that price.

The world is a better place with this dumb alarm clock. I get more sleep. I maintain control. It allows me to be proactive and create my world. It has only been since I stopped incessantly checking my email that so many wonderful things have happened for me. And when I stopped checking mobile notifications thanks to this alarm clock, life got that much better again.

My alarm clock in action next to my bed
My alarm clock in action next to my bed (Photo: Ben Smith)

This is not an adrenaline fueled Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose podcast on tech bro gear you must possess. This is one guy finding something that helped him make a better day in little ways and big ways.

Me making out with my alarm clock
Me making out with my alarm clock (Photo: Ben Smith)

Sometimes it’s the features the best products don’t have that make a world of difference. If a $20 clock can save my life, can you imagine what other cheap objects are sitting there in plain sight, waiting to help?

Disclaimer: Ben is in no way affiliated with this alarm clock company and is not even positive who really even makes this alarm clock.

Ben is an active investor in VR and digital media, and is based in Los Angeles. Ben was an early Google and YouTube exec, and has founded and led multiple venture-backed video startups. Get more of his insights and interviews hereIf you want to collaborate with Ben on cheap alarm clocks or small objects saving lives in real time, hit him at @benjaminsmith.

How a $20 Alarm Clock Saved My Life