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Ideas Are Power

Postby Road Show » Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:53 am

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I keep coming back to how little regard the world in general has for the simple "idea". With all the invention contest debate raging here lately, I just couldn't help but try to put my own spin on the various attitudes regarding inventors and inventing.

I recall reading about an employee who worked for the maker of Ajax household cleanser. The company was looking for ways to sell more product, and this guy came up with the idea to add more holes in the top of the cap. A simple idea. The deed was done and volume of product sold increased by 50% in the year that followed. The guy went on to become a VP with the company.

The breakthrough idea that made the incandescent light bulb a viable product was not the type of filament to use...the search for which became legendary in it's scope...but rather to create a vacuum in the space which housed the filament. A single thought that made an ENORMOUS difference.

Place both of these events against the backdrop of the current climate of commercializing the inventive process through contests and reality TV shows, and who knows what would have happened. Would Edison have taken a shortcut by entering a contest to commercialize his light bulb? I doubt it...folks weren't so pampered back in the day as we are today, so the do it yourself attitude was the unquestioned way of doing things. But still, I have to say that I am disturbed by the attitude of invention contest promoters who seem to relegate the "idea man" into an inferior role. That the marketing alone is what propels a product to success in the marketplace. Perhaps this is because so many would-be inventors push inferior ideas forward with no real understanding of how to evaluate their idea's potential, and thereby give the perception of that inventors are a bunch of needy paranoid schizophrenics who believe their idea is going to make them millions.

I know I'm just rambling...mostly because it is Sunday morning and that's what I do, but I really would like to hear everyone's thoughts along this line.

RSG

Postby Work2XL » Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:51 pm

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I feel for you, but just can't reach you Road. The idea is "Marrying today's technologies for tomorrow's applications" TM Sometimes it is a simple technologies that are adapted. In most cases we are not pioneering new technologies, we full fill a simple need with a simple technologies.
At least this is my opinion as it pertains to what I do.

Randy

Postby Scrupulous » Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:19 pm

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It's easy enough to prove that any royalty under 5% is almost entirely arbitrary.

I mean, let's say you gave 3% of wholesale into the production of an item, instead of earned it. As far as the other parties would be concerned, it scarcely makes a difference at all. That should tell you all you need to know.

The appropriate royalty ought to depend primarily on the retail price, and the costs involved in putting that product into the consumer's hand. If anyone tells you, in effect, that the percentage difference between those two numbers never varies more than 2 or 3% for all products, then maybe they either have no business saying that or they're in business for saying it.

The difference in the potential profit for any two products can be staggering. And I know what the challenges can be, in terms of quality production. That's probably the one aspect that get overlooked most often. As an inventor, I think the best you can do is get a good sense of what it takes to produce an item, or get to the point where you can aggressively bounce ideas off other people. Either way, you're in a much better condition to decide whether an idea is worth pursuing.

Postby Levi Porter » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:49 am

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For whatever it's worth,

I don't think the simplicity or complexity of an invention or idea necessarily has anything to with marketability or actual marketing.

Marketing has been used to promote products or ideas ranging from frivolous and or useless scams to brilliant contributions benefiting modern day civilization.

I think if I understand what Road Show was getting at... was that it can be a shame when useful products or ideas with merit are rejected due to expectations on the return of investment from marketing.

I see this as a double edged sword. If a contest, show, manufacturer, or investor is interested in the quick buck, or most widely consumed, then that is their prerogative. Only if they misrepresent themselves do they violate any ethics...(just my thoughts)

A useful product needs some form of marketing to create a profit, even it's starts through grass roots networks of a word of mouth.

I think useful products or ideas will fail if they are not marketable or if the costs of marketing exceed the return on investment. (Hope that wasn't an over obvious statement)

For some reason, this thread made me think of Bottle Slings' Sling. I don't think that it is necessarily patentable, yet I could see it on the shelves in stores allover the world. Just because it may be simple or something that someone could make their own version at home doesn't mean it isn't salable.

I would sure like to think that a baby products manufacturer would license the idea full well knowing that other manufacturers could and would at some point sell there own version. This shouldn't detour them from being the first one to have the sling on the market.

I think I'm starting to ramble on too much

Last thought: MARKETING = Necessary Evil... sometimes things sell themselves, not usually.

Postby Levi Porter » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:03 am

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Road Show wrote:Re: Ideas Are Power


Only in the right hands and or if unique and useful.

Frivolous senselessness is useful if it generates a profit and doesn't hurt anyone.

Postby Work2XL » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:31 am

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I think therefore I SPOT or I Spot therefore I Invent.

I'm not sure which is the egg and which is the chicken.

Randy

Postby Scrupulous » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:29 am

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I've often thought that the Bottlesling may be a prime example for consideration...

Here we have a guy who is probably just as personable as anyone you'll meet (and I've never met him). He has his share of quirks. But, I would doubt there a many people with a capacity to invent that are quirk-free.

His situation probably is not unlike that of most pre-entrepreneurs. There is confidence in the product, doubts about the future, and confusion all along the way.

It has yet to be determined if the Bottlesling will enjoy commercial success. I get the sense that the effort required to manifest that has not even been approached.

Yet, we may be narrow-minded not to embrace the idea that the advent of success can be caused by different factors every time, alone or in combination. Certainly the production challenges are there in this case, and so is the lack of a readily identifiable product appearance. Those aren't reasons to abandon the idea.

There would be many more considerations, and that's just it...that would be the typical scenario. I think that having practice in building a marketing model, which can accept any given product, would have value in and of itself. It would be dynamic, unique for each situation, and it would have nothing to do with predetermined percentages of share necessarily IMHO.

Postby Work2XL » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:41 am

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Can someone tell me when we stop flogging BSG? I think I like the old BSG better. Passions boiled more with the old BSG. Bring him back once in awhile. Besides, nothing bonds us together more then when we are beating up on someone else. :wink:
Come on take one for the team.

Randy

Re: Ideas Are Power

Postby key on the kite » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:31 pm

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Road Show wrote:I keep coming back to how little regard the world in general has for the simple "idea". With all the invention contest debate raging here lately, I just couldn't help but try to put my own spin on the various attitudes regarding inventors and inventing.

I recall reading about an employee who worked for the maker of Ajax household cleanser. The company was looking for ways to sell more product, and this guy came up with the idea to add more holes in the top of the cap. A simple idea. The deed was done and volume of product sold increased by 50% in the year that followed. The guy went on to become a VP with the company.

The breakthrough idea that made the incandescent light bulb a viable product was not the type of filament to use...the search for which became legendary in it's scope...but rather to create a vacuum in the space which housed the filament. A single thought that made an ENORMOUS difference.

Place both of these events against the backdrop of the current climate of commercializing the inventive process through contests and reality TV shows, and who knows what would have happened. Would Edison have taken a shortcut by entering a contest to commercialize his light bulb? I doubt it...folks weren't so pampered back in the day as we are today, so the do it yourself attitude was the unquestioned way of doing things. But still, I have to say that I am disturbed by the attitude of invention contest promoters who seem to relegate the "idea man" into an inferior role. That the marketing alone is what propels a product to success in the marketplace. Perhaps this is because so many would-be inventors push inferior ideas forward with no real understanding of how to evaluate their idea's potential, and thereby give the perception of that inventors are a bunch of needy paranoid schizophrenics who believe their idea is going to make them millions.

I know I'm just rambling...mostly because it is Sunday morning and that's what I do, but I really would like to hear everyone's thoughts along this line.

RSG


People have little regard for ideas because they are not tangible. People would much rather hold a wad of bills than realize that they have invented something (like the cure for baldness :lol:). People are pampered nowadays like you say. The beauty of an idea is, IMO, its elegance and what it may become. Many people simply can't understand some things, much less appreciate them. "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

A consumerist society needs to keep the majority from being free thinkers. Otherwise, people would stop working for their toys, sit down, and start talking philosophy. So, inventors are compartmentalized with everything else that average people don't understand and don't need to understand: the "kind-of weirdos". Whereas consumers are respected, "Did you see his new Maybach? I bet he has a huge... bank account." Movies show us what to think and think about how thinkers are portrayed compared to consumers:

In the Bond movies, Q was perhaps the most interesting character in my mind, because he came up with all the devices that made Bond a viable agent. Q was somewhat respected for what he did, even if he had a very small part of the movie. In the first 'XXX' movie from a few years back, the movie makes out the American version of Q to be nerdy, unpopular, and a bit of a wimp. The movie producer do this either to make Vin Diesel's character look more macho (not likely needed) or to reinforce the current belief that people who think of things, people who invent things from nothing are oddballs who must not have anything better to do (such as blowing stuff up, looking good, procreating). So admiring the Vin Diesels and laughing at the Q's helps perpetuate the consumerism. It's a silly way for the media to keep the consumerism going, but it works very well.

Postby Scrupulous » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:32 pm

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Work2XL wrote:Can someone tell me when we stop flogging BSG? I think I like the old BSG better. Passions boiled more with the old BSG. Bring him back once in awhile. Besides, nothing bonds us together more then when we are beating up on someone else. :wink:
Come on take one for the team.

Randy


Hohh-oh-oh we'll be flogging him some more. You can bet on that! :)
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