1. The Maestro
Nintendo star designer Shigeru Miyamoto wowed industry colleagues months before the Wii's release when he silently conducted a virtual orchestra using the Wiimote. The performance began the buzz that's helped Nintendo sell 30 million consoles so far.
2. The Bullet Point
The Magic Bullet blender's infomercials intrigued with plots featuring a colorful couple whipping up five-second smoothies and omelets for oohing guests. Viewers bought $250 million worth in two years.
3. The King of Pain
The Police reunion tour last year earned mixed reviews as many fans disliked the massive, impersonal venues and the slowed-down renditions of favorite songs.
4. The Disaster
NASA determined that a root cause of space shuttle Columbia's crash was the Debris Assessment Team's PowerPoint predicting foam damage. It was so jammed with bullet points and shorthand that it was practically indecipherable.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.