Name: Matty Benedetto, founder and resident evil genius
Business: Unnecessary Inventions
Products: Inventions to solve problems that don’t exist
Year founded: 2019
Based in: Burlington, Vermont
What does a typical day look like for a self-described evil genius who spends his time creating unnecessary inventions?
Matty Benedetto, who has dedicated tens of thousands of hours to solving problems that don’t exist, has amassed millions of fans on YouTube and TikTok under his Unnecessary Inventions brand. And while he makes his work look effortless online, Matty takes his utterly unserious business extremely seriously.
Aside from creating content that delights his followers, Matty has monetized Unnecessary Inventions by bringing some of his best inventions to market. A coffee table that’s also a jigsaw puzzle? Check. A set of dice that’ll help you decide what to watch on your night off? Yep. And a card game to play with your friends that’ll help you, too, dream up un-useful inventions of your very own. Done and done.
Here, he shares his insights on creating everything from Croc gloves to board games to his weird and wonderful career itself. Making it look easy? It’s all part of the job.
Rise and grind: Matty’s days start when he walks into the Unnecessary Studio at 8 a.m., seven days a week. “I think people think it’s probably a lot easier than it is,” Matty says of his life as a creator. “But the internet doesn’t shut down, so you’ve got to keep feeding the beast and staying on top of it.” Sitting in front of what he calls his “wall of narcissism,” Matty says he’s created more than 350 inventions to date. The wall is a highlight reel of 80 or so of his best.
Critical to any creator’s success, Matty says, is adaptation—experimenting with new mediums and forms, and leaving behind the ones that aren’t working. “My first hundred inventions were only photos on Instagram, and this was pre-TikTok,” he says. “Once TikTok came out, I started really dabbling with developing the more commercial kinds of videos I have now. So I think part of it is knowing you have to adapt with the internet as well.”
On any given week, Matty is building one to three inventions. The week-long turnaround is part of his creative process. “I don’t know how I do it. I just go and do it,” he says. “The pipeline is never much more than a week out. I’m just in deep focus mode. And once it’s posted, it’s out of the brain filing cabinet and the next folder moves in and I’m onto the next invention.” Here, he makes a replica of his hand as part of an invention he calls the Digit Comb. “So you have the fresh, hand-through-the-hair kind of feel.”
Because Matty’s popularity grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, it allowed him to make online relationships that have spilled over into real life. Here, he rejigs a microchip for an invention he’s creating for his friends Colin and Samir, two creators he’s come to know well.
“I’m soldering a little Arduino micro board,” Matty says. “It’s going to be a giant keyboard key that’s going to do something. It’s funny, there aren’t too many creators up here in Burlington, Vermont. So when Colin and Samir and I met in person for the first time, we gave each other a hug. It’s interesting, you build these creator relationships on the internet and when you see them in person, you feel like you already fully know them.”
At Unnecessary Studios, far more happens behind the scenes than in front of the camera. Matty’s inventions must be built to the point of being camera-ready, he says, though the times they aren’t can still make for valuable content for the business. “I like to differentiate my content,” he says. “Sometimes, I’m showing the whole behind-the-scenes process and other times I’m only showing the end product. Because sometimes I don’t know if something’s going to work! So it’s like, all right, I’m not going to film that one. ’Cause I’m not sure it’ll actually come to fruition. If it’s something I’m a little more confident about, I’ll show the process.”
Beside Matty on the couch sit pillowy recreations of his Croc gloves. “I got a cease-and-desist letter from Crocs,” he says proudly. “That’s one of my most infamous inventions.”
Holding up his BaguettePack—a backpack made specifically for a baguette—Benedetto films a TikTok video for his followers. The idea of having followers, he says, still feels a little bit imaginary to him. He gets recognized wherever he goes—on a recent trip to New York to film with The Daily Show, he was getting stopped on the sidewalk, which helps him see actual people behind all of the hundreds of millions of eyes on his YouTube. “In a city of millions of people, they can still find the mustache,” he says, laughing.
But no matter how many views he clocks, the Unnecessary Studio always feels like home. “It’s nice that I have this space I can put my head down, hang out by myself, build whatever I want to build. It definitely puts things in perspective.”
“This is my makeshift shipping station,” Matty says, laughing. On days when he’s not packing orders, it’s just known as his desk, but no matter what he’s working on, he’s supervised by his favorite celebrity looking down from a huge framed poster. “Kate Moss is just judging me and being like, Really? That’s what you’re doing?”
While Matty loves what he does and still can’t quite believe he gets to do it, his sales have been slower to grow—on purpose. He says watching his orders tick upward is a double-edged sword. “I know I could make a lot more money if I sold a lot more of the things,” he says. “But I don’t want to contribute to waste, either. I’m purposeful about the things I bring to life. I don’t want to make something that makes people laugh at Christmas and then gets thrown out. I want to create something that’s going to live in people’s living rooms every day and actually get used. For me, it’s balancing the joke and the function.”