Archive | Inventing success RSS feed for this section

Adapting to Change

24 Jul

I think that there is an inventor inside of us all. Having chased the dream of inventing success for many years it is not a path I recommend to anyone. Chances are your idea has no merit, is unpatentable or unfit for mass consumption. Inventing  the ‘next item to fly off the shelves’ at Walmart is near folly. Here’s a bit of wisdom I have gleaned from my own folly: It is not the best ideas which get to market, it is the ideas with the most resourceful promoters that get to market. By resourceful I mean money, connections, savvy, experience and a big dose of good luck. When you lack those things you have to climb a great big hill by yourself and in the process I have seen too many inventors spend way too much money trying to get over the next hurdle.

My inventions come from my own personal needs. My market research tends to be too limited. I figure if I need it and can’t find it that there are millions of others just like me who would buy it if they could just find it. I build working prototypes which cost very little and then try to find paces to license my inventions. So far I have one success-sort of. I developed a tool to assist in installing kitchen disposers. If you have ever put on your DIY pants to change out, service or install a disposer you’ll know exactly what I am talking about.  I do it many times in a year and it keeps getting harder as I get older. Long story short, I developed a working prototype and received so much good vibe from people who saw it work that I went out to find a home for it. By sheer luck and little else I found a wonderful product development company called FastCap (www.fastcap.com) They manufacture and distribute the product, now called The Disposal Jack. So I have a product out there but it is a tool with a very limited market. It will never make me a lot of money but the satisfaction of having something I created ‘out there’ is worth more than money since I have about $50.00 in development costs in this product.

Today’s video is a demonstration of another of my big ideas going nowhere. It’s aim is to create a safer alternative to the kind of electrical adaptor that is widely and unsafely used (is that a word?) In trying to show my child to the world I have been amazed at the push back I get for something that really works. The market? There are millions of homes out there that still have old-fashioned two prong outlets. You can’t plug you big screen TV into one without using a ‘cheater’ that by-passes the ground (the round pin on a three prong plug) Properly addressing the problem is and advanced DIY skill or expensive if you use an electrician. My adaptor will make the world a little safer. However I do not have the resources to pursue patenting, testing and liability that comes with this kind of product. This is the kind of product that can suck down a fortune and leave the inventor exactly where he started. So instead I’m just putting this out there hoping that the right set of eyes might see it and know how to move it from conception to the big box store.

So if you know of a home for this orphan I hope you’ll pass it along. You just might save someone’s life.

Inventing Success

7 Feb

One unexpected surprise of my handyman work has been coming up with solutions to everyday problems. Installing and servicing disposers is difficult work. You have to lift, align, and compress the mounting gasket of disposer all in one movement while twisted in an awkward position. Its hard on your hands and back. Handymen use all kinds of methods from piling up phone books to scissor jacks to make the job easier. I’ve tried them all and was still frustrated. I came up with a much better solution using a bottle jack with a special attachment I fabricated. Delighted by my own brilliance I went looking for a tool manufacturer to develop my concept (and pay me $$$$). Commercializing an invention is nearly folly. But by a series of accidents I ended up connecting with a wonderful company, Fast Cap, that makes tools for cabinet makers and wood workers. We collaborated on the development of the jack featured in this video. If I make $100 on royalties it will be the best money I ever made. And as they say on late night TV..”It really, really works.”

%d bloggers like this: