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Author Topic: How do you deal with your destruction?  (Read 923 times)
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Pittsburgh, PA
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Thomas Countz
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We all know when we have those moments, where you've just thought up the next big idea. So you go to your workbench and start drawling up some schematics and plans and this and that, so then you rush to your computer and get on Goldmine or All Electronics Corps. and you max at your credit card buying all of those components to create your newest project. But wait. There's one thing in your project that you don't quite know how to do, so you do some research and BAM! someone else has started your same project. You feel hopeless and alone. Your not going to get any credit from what you just accomplished. Your just another one of those amature electrical engineer putting some stuff together to make an LED blink. How do you deal with this feeling? How do you sit at your computer and watch all your hard work go to waste? How do you deal with you destruction? :-[
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I do it anyway, tinkering with it along the way to see if I can come up with a more elegant solution.  The way I see it, there's no such thing as wasted work when it comes to creating something you thought up on your own.  It's a learning experience.

Something else to think of; maybe the path the other person is taking won't lead to a working project... smiley-wink
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Wasted work?...your right....there is no such thing, but of coarse it's a learning experience and a great way to expand and of coarse wishful thinking at best can lead to the "opponents" demise, but that about financial loss. I'm talking about an invention that can lead to a financial gain. lets now say that this once "project" in now a potential money making invention and then you find someone else possibly creating the same, if not just similar, invention. new question: How do you deal with your financial loss?
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At that point it's only a matter of beating your competitor to market with a better product.  Just because someone happens to be developing the same thing doesn't mean you can't make money from it yourself.  It's classic free market competition.  If you're worried about them patenting something you've developed yourself independently, make sure you publish your prior art as soon as possible (or beat them to the patent office).
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Wonderful thoughts....just to clear any questions, I am not currently going through any of the scenarios depicted and I'm just asking questions for reference purposes. I have a new question now:

How do you get various financial support from the private, commercial, or governmental sector, to support your product, service, or invention?  

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you should just keep going. In the art world this happens all the time, and it took me a while to realize that it doesn't matter if someone has done "the same thing" before, as every person will do it differently. Making is a process of choices, and no two people will make the same choices, so the end result will always be different. As well as that, your choices will be tempered by what you know about the other "same project", and you'll probably make it differently in five or ten ways.

D
« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 10:34:45 pm by Daniel2 » Logged

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Quote
Wonderful thoughts....just to clear any questions, I am not currently going through any of the scenarios depicted and I'm just asking questions for reference purposes. I have a new question now:

How do you get various financial support from the private, commercial, or governmental sector, to support your product, service, or invention?  


First and foremost, the invention should solve a problem, make a process more efficient, or, appeal to a need. You build a prototype, then approach the people who'll likely be customers. Once you have someone that's interested in buying it, then you can approach various institutions to obtain funding for production and deployment.

Talking to others about your invention, is essential in determining it's viability. Patent law permits a window for such a process to occur, mainly because the office is full of worthless patents that weren't researched properly to begin with. So don't be too worried about someone else stealing it and trying to beat you to the patent office, unless it's something of obvious high intellectual property value potential, like a new packaging system for storing milk that can be summed up in one simple diagram. You can file a provisional patent, and that will provide 18 months with which to create a final specification for a full patent application. Such instrument ensures your idea is franked, and gives you time to discuss the concept, pitch it to potential client's, and find investors.  

Millions of people each year, invent things or change something, that they think will win them a Nobel, so the grounds are very well trodden, meaning, you can learn from the success or failure of others throughout history. Such case studies make compelling reading, and can illuminate a path to the most obvious sources of funding, most of the time, a majority of it will need to be your own money. The people who are most likely to be in a position to offer additional funding, will likely host many such requests each day. How you win favor over all the others, is by demonstrating to the investor how fast they will make a return on their money, and that requires a comprehensive business, marketing, production and financial plan.

Many business plans are all about what a great idea it is, but investors will be looking for a quick return (put yourself in their shoes - wouldn't you?) so focus on that. Lots of ideas get shown the door because someone knows a business already doing it. Positioning yourself against competitors demonstrates that you understand your market, so you need to be thorough in your discovery of others inventions that might be similar to your own, you wouldn't want to suffer the embarrasement of someone less specialized than yourself, pointing out your invention has already been done by someone else.  

Investors will also grade you on your ability to concisely explain the invention, their investment decision will be partly based on the concept, the other part, your ability to generate a profit from selling the invention. Investors also have a very short attention span, so having the discipline and skill to summarize your invention to a 2-4 page proposal gives the investor an ability to understand the concept quickly, and it speaks volumes about the type of person you are, and why they might have the confidence to trust you with their money.

Government funding might have a more relaxed set of criteria over private, but they'll still insist on some kind of feasibility study. If one hasn't already been done, then the first part of the funding, will be to pay to have one done. Where other people's money is involved, there's no escaping reality, and a feasibility study will demonstrate to others that the idea isn't fanciful and can turn a profit. I know this from experience, because from the day I stepped out of school, I have, and have had, patents, and private funding, and Government funding, and I have made money from invention. The thing to remember, is that there is always someone smarter than you, no matter how clever you are, so understanding potential customers, markets, competitors, manufacturing, and business in a wider sense, is all critical to the success of any invention. It only takes one person to know more about the habits of the client's you might be proposing to sell to, to unwind a proposal. So in that regard, you need to be a jack of all trades, it's all part of being an executive, and not just another inventor looking for handouts.

Be prepared to invest a considerable amount of your own money into the invention. Investors expect it, it demonstrates that your willing to risk your own money, as well as theirs smiley
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 11:11:17 pm by John_Ryan » Logged

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The trap that a lot of garage inventors fall into is the idea that they have an absolutely original idea that will make them millionaires and that they must protect their idea and develop it in secret because otherwise it will be stolen immediately and exploited (or suppressed) by evil large corporations.

The sobering historical reality is that there are very few absolutely original inventions. Newton's comment about "standing on the shoulders of giants" is very apt, since most inventions and discoveries are incremental and evolutionary rather than revolutionary. I've also decided that there is a certain inevitability about some discoveries and inventions - once the right mix of foundational technologies exist and the right ideas are floating around, certain new applications and combinations of them are almost inevitable and simultaneous independent invention is likely. Many ideas I've come up with are like that - I come up with ideas that are original to me, but with a little research, I find that it's already been done or that someone else has just announced they are working on the same idea. You just have to deal with that as a reality and keep trying.

The second part of the trap is finding that the idea has been explored before, but was never realized into a product or that it was realized into a product, but went nowhere. There are many causes for this. Sometimes the idea sounds valid, but turns out to be impossible (e.g., free energy, perpetual motion, or inertia-less propulsion), sometimes the idea and product works perfectly, but the market just isn't there - either the target market is too small, it doesn't appeal to many for some reason (fashion, culture, etc.). Sometimes the idea was implemented badly causing the market to reject it. In some cases, this is a great opportunity to improve it. In other cases, public reaction was so bad that the market will reject similar items for a long time. Look at how long it took PDAs to become accepted and all of the backlash that early models received.

Take, as an example, this Arduino forum. You read one post on one of the subgroups where someone does something cool. Then you read another unrelated thread where someone else is doing something cool. Then you get a bright idea - "I can combine aspects of both of those ideas into a single gadget!" Congratulations, you just had a totally original idea for an invention. Unfortunately, chances are, dozens of other readers also just had the same original idea. Even then, all of you are a long, long way from a marketable product.

So, for 99% of ideas for inventions, you need to be honest with yourself and be willing to let go of ideas. Often, design, fashion, and usability are as, or more, important than functionality. Look at the iPod, iPhone and other Apple products as an example. Each of these devices offer only incremental technological innovation, but their ease-of-use, "cool factors", and design elements make them a hit. Read books on design, such as "The Design of Everyday Things" or "The Evolution of Useful Objects" for a better understanding of how design is as important as innovation and how having the groundbreakingly original idea doesn't always mean you win the market - it may be the 5th evolutionary generation of an idea that hits it big.

Finally, as others have said very well, if you are still convinced that you have an original idea that you feel is marketable, you still have a lot of work to do. Business plans, multiple prototypes, usability testing, market research, pitches, and so on. You don't want the first investor you approach to say, "I had something like that ten years ago and I hated it!" If something similar was available then, you have to be prepared to explain why you have fixed all of the problems and have a plan for telling the market why your idea is better. If it is completely revolutionary, you may have to build the demand through marketing - remember that there was a time when people didn't think they would ever want or need a cell phone, for example.
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Many of the people I know ,who actually made money from idea's don't even know IT or Electronics.
They can recognize a certain need ,and found out that it didn't exist yet on the market.

Then they just put people to work who are knowledgable in IT or Electronics.

These guys are usually called : business developers.

Most of these succesfull people followed business school. Nothing with technology.
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