Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
What do you get when you molest and squash live people with a Giant hand? We discover its a giggling crowd and lots of booty shaking. Very cool use of ultra-large screen and public curiosity. In this Art experience, by Chris O'Shea (ChrisOShea.org), we learn how much fun being the hand of God really is.A video camera shows a live image of the audience, who are also participants, watching themselves on a giant screen. Antics ensue when a God-sized hand begins to poke, prod, squash and interact with them. W2G Chris!
Now if only I could get one of these to Washington. There are a few politicians I'd like to give major noogies to. A little squishing would work well too. Universal Single Payer Healthcare will help the economy. Its good for America and Americans!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Want to know why most Tech Projects fail? Then you'll enjoy this presentation which I gave at the Temple Tech group in Florida. In this discusion I reveal the Demons of Delivery and how you can slay them.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I've sold millions of dollars of my inventions and you can too, if you learn the way the system really works."
Me selling products on HSN (Home Shopping Network) a few weeks back.
Want to sell your inventions on TV? You'd think any inventor would LOVE to hear that but let me tell you a story about how inventors sometimes trip over their own shoelaces, again and again and again.
Inventors are most always nice and very well intentioned people, but often they don't understand how the system works. Let me give you an example. Recently I met a nice person, we'll call him Robert. He retired from his profession and following the smell of riches decided to invent.
How did I meet him you ask? He called me, as inventor's often do. Some inventors call for advice or to request financing. Other inventors call to shoot the breeze or simply to show me their invention and get a pat on the back. Robert was a mix of all these inventors. He had a product he filed patents on, registered trademarks and copyright on and even manufactured more than 20,000 units. I guess his total investment was about $200,000+.
What was he doing with his products? Just like most inventors, letting them take up space in his garage. He had almost the entire production run... sitting and waiting.
I looked at the product and immediately saw several mistakes. 1) Package was too big for product, 2) Package did not have even 1 photo of product in use, 3) flowery verbiage never told why anyone should but the product, 4) and etc...
But I liked the product. This is where my heart takes hold of my mouth. Do I tell the person about their mistakes and try to help them or do I just tell them they did a great job? I have to speak honestly but I do it gently to see the reaction. Robert, was receptive but not really. He felt the product was, "his baby", and wanted to get it sold for full price (even though no one was buying at his inflated price). He also didn't want to change the packaging because he put so much time into it (even though it was not selling the product).
I made him an offer. I said, "Robert, this week I am driving to meet the buyers at HSN again. I'll show them your product and if it sells I split the profit with you." (Typically licensing agents get a 50% split.) Robert was not sure. He was thinking about a future marketing event he was going to attend. I asked how many he sold at the last event like that and he told me about 1000 units. He also told me the event was a really long time ago. I could see he felt like he was parting with his baby. How can you sell your baby? You can't.
That is why most inventors invent for the chance of having a story to tell their friends and family. The story is worth more than the money. I left the meeting knowing eventually those 20,000 units would be discarded or donated. Sad. But it is why most inventors don't make money.
If your like Robert, don't call me. Please, tell your stories to your friends and family and enjoy the hobby. It's like bowing but with much more legal fees. But if you have a product you'd like to sell, feel free to call me. IF I like it I might be able to help you. If I can't I might know someone else who can. Bring me products NOT babies.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Last week was interesting. I met a person trying to sell something he did not own. Rare breed? No, the funny part of this story is that I meet these people all the time. They are good people who simply don’t understand the ownership. It sounds strange but it is a common mistake. And it causes inventors and investors to work under a cloud of seemingly endless strife.
Intellectual property is a strange beast but its methods of ownership are well documented. The problem understanding it is that people think they own an idea by just thinking it. They’ll say “That was my idea”, as if simply percolating a thought incarnates ownership in it. It’s not that simple. The path to acquire ownership in an idea is not complete upon the idea’s birth it is simply begun.
Before you can sell an idea you must own it. The best way to understand this is to consider a silly example coffee cart idea. And while it seems silly now, if you’re a Creative there’s a good chance you’ve tried to do this.
Bob asks you to sign his “Iron Clad Non-complete Confidentiality Agreement” and you refuse. Bob agrees to tell you his idea anyway.
Then the rest of the example goes like this. Bob has an idea to open the “Eiffel Tower Coffee Cart” at the base of the Eiffel Tower. He wants to sell you this idea for $1,000,000 and a 10% royalty (its always the magic $1,000,000 and 10%). The visions of Paris and the smell of Hazelnut Creme cloud your thinking for a second or two. Then you begin to ask Bob questions.
You: Bob, do you own rights to the name “Eiffel Tower Coffee Cart”
You: Do you have a lease for a coffee cart at the base of the Eiffel Tower?
You: Bob, have you developed a coffee cart?
You: Do you own a brand of coffee you are trying to sell me?
You: Bob, WTF!?!
Bob has as much ownership in his idea as he does in the Eiffel Tower itself. Bob is NOT Victor Lustig (The man who sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap without owning it)! Literally, Bob owns nothing. And this is usually where the investor tells Bob he has no interest and Bob begins to get paranoid about who will steal his idea.
But Bob does not know that ideas are worthless. Only property rights have value. If Bob could have answered yes to a few of the above questions your conversation may have moved ahead. The rights Bob owned could have given you an edge over competitors because rights enable you to stop others from competing against you. If Bob owned the lease for the cart at the base of the Tower Bob does not need to bother with non-compete agreements. Bob is in control. And control is a sign of ownership.
For Bob to gain ownership he invest time and money in the creation of rights. And he can do that in several ways.
TRADEMARKS: Bob could build a brand of Eiffel Coffee and acquire legal rights in it through Trademarks.
PATENTS: Bob could patent a new and unique Coffee Cart or a method for infusing Coffee with flavors in a new way, if possible.
COPYRIGHTS: Bob could create a series of TV Ads that become so viral everyone knows about “Bob’s Eiffel Tower Coffee Cart”
TRADE SECRETS: Bob could formulate a mix of coffee flavors that are so delicious people wait in-line naked in inclement weather to buy.
REAL ESTATE LAW: Bob could acquire an exclusive lease for a coffee cart at the base of the Eiffel Tower.
Any of these rights gives Bob an ability to control some aspects of his idea. And these rights can be legally transferred, i.e. SOLD. The more rights Bob acquires the easier it will be for Bob to seem credible when offering his “idea” for sale. In fact he’ll no longer be offering an “idea” for sale, he’ll be offering actual intellectual property rights for sale.
Will Bob make money? Working to gain ownership only guarantees that Bob will SPEND money. Acquiring rights is usually a costly venture without any guarantees. The trademarks and patents may be rejected, the lease may be too costly or not available and Bob’s unique coffee flavor my be not so unique. Even with the rights there is no guarantee Bob will make any money.
But without rights Bob is simply a noob trying to sell unicorns and fairy dust. I’m not going to discuss the quality of the rights in this article as that would expand the article into a book. Just understand that not all Trademarks/Patents are created equal. And realize that you must own things before you can sell them.
Friday, June 12, 2009
|Makers Faire is always a blast. And this year was amazing. The Mega-sized Tesla Coils would ring in every hour with giant lightning bolts, Sparkfun and Mitch Altman were teaching people how to solder, creativity was everywhere. Me, I was showing toy prototypes and playing. Kip Kay stopped by and filmed me for a Makers Weekend Project.|
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Stop by http://www.jonesgoodassbbqandfootmassage.com/ or his other site... http://www.jonesbigasstruckrentalandstorage.com/ for a great laugh and maybe even a tee shirt purchase.
This is the type of innovative marketing and business execution the major companies would never do. And I think it is exactly what we need more of. Imagine 10,000 BBQ and Foot Massage locations selling their "we'll fry anything for $5.99" goodness! Can you hear the economy beginning to move?
Small business need to be creative not only because they can but also because big business never will. Our only chance to reinvigorate the country is to encourage and undertake the work of small business. Kudos to you Toby! I'd tip my hat to you... but you might fry it. LOL
Keep up the great work. Everyone, let me know about other creative adventures you find. I'd love to see more.
Monday, April 13, 2009
We're not 'The' Silicon Valley. Our silicon is on our Atlantic Ocean Beaches. But we do have some Tech going on (between the sun and the waves). A startup, called Linxter, is adding Clouds to our beaches. Cloud computing that is. Here is info about their startup. It looks impressive and even visionary. And there are rumors that Microsoft and Google are sniffing around them too. Check them out here...
Press release hi here... http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/04/prweb2318274.htm
Monday, April 6, 2009
Most inventions never make a penny. Which means, your invention's chance of success is between Slim and None. Not to say you should quit! I'm suggesting quite the opposite. Great innovation involves an awesome idea, time, luck and persistence. Unfortunately, most people just want to count the money. But an INVENTaholic, like you, knows that money comes much later in the process.
Because most inventions fail, you must fight failure by creating many inventions. As many as you can. See which innovations people gravitate to. Which are duds and which need work. The more the merrier. Keep making ones that fail until you find the ones that succeed.
Because chances being between Slim and None is far better than no chance at all.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This is a funny product/prank. "Squeeze Bacon" is made of 100% bacon? Who knows, maybe one day, 20 years from now, we will be bidding up vintage bottles of Squeeze Bacon on eBay. Real or imitation, it is still a bottle of fun to me.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Why are Rock-stars and Supermodels more revered than innovators who cure disease, create industries and let you clap lights on and off? True, a great guitar riff with tuneful lyrics is entertaining. But is it really that much better than inventions like light bulbs and LEDs, the Leathermen Wave or discoveries like penicillin. Why aren’t there Inventor Groupies? It just feels like the populous response is disproportionate. Why do we cheer the rock-stars and only gawk at the inventors?
Recently, I got a glimpse of an answer from a TV show. I was sitting, on my couch, with my bowl of 7 whole grain flakes and black currants. I was too many steps from the remote so I watched what was on. The show? A “reality” show called, “Make Me a Supermodel”.
I understand the appeal of being a Supermodel. Money, fame and exotic locations make it a fun romp. But I also get the feeling that I am missing something. With all the great causes in this wonderful world, why set your sites on being a Supermodel?
This particular episode, shown on the Bravo Network, centered about “the runway”. Hopefuls ‘walk’ the catwalk while judges critique. A critique of walking, really? I thought it was silly too, but I watched. I wanted to know if I’d been doing it wrong all these years.
A montage of striking people ‘walked’ across my TV with varying degrees of style and grace. And strangely, I too could see who ‘walked’ better. Some looked natural, some stilted and others confident. Apparently, there is some science/art behind all the walking. But then I think, “what does it matter?”
So Supermodel, what difference do you make? Do you change the world in any positive way or does only your world benefit? Do you make any contribution by ‘walking’ better than I can?
Am I missing something? How many of us have ever been helped by a Supermodel? Few, that I know of.
Most of us have, however, been helped by inventors. Invention is about contribution. Innovators create things that make a difference. People feel the impact. And that’s why I believe Inventors are better than Supermodels.
I’m not saying modeling is an evil pursuit or that seeking to achieve Supermodel status is appalling. What I am saying is people should dream up new products while they fantasize about being a Supermodel or Rock-star.
Few people become Supermodels but everyone can invent. Today, more than ever, America needs more inventors. And the truth is inventors need cheering fans. Let’s work to make inventing as glamorous as ‘walking’.
I suggest you consider starting a robot competition at your local school like my friend Scott did. He’s no robot genius, he simply used SumoBots from www.Parallax.com. The kids build their own robots and the battles begin.
Or bring your skills to your schools. I show school children how to invent. One of my inventions is the ColorCutter® Cutter www.ColorCutter.com. Which means I have an arsenal of felt tip marker parts in my shop. Each year I bring marker parts and ink to classes and teach doe-eyed children to make markers.
Then everyone makes one, even the teacher. I hear children say, “It works!”, “ ‘I’ made this”, “I want to invent stuff” along with hoots and giggles. They leave with a feeling of accomplishment, a working marker and knowledge. More fun than walking the catwalk? Maybe. More substantial, useful and realistic, definitely.
We’ll all benefit by teaching the skill of inventing much more than if we focus on teaching how to look cool while you walk. IMHO…
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
And right now, the World needs an ocean of Super-men/women (i.e. heroes) who help first and worry about money later. How do we inspire philanthropic inventaholics?
I often wonder about this. And recently I had an opportunity to discover my own answer. I think I may even have become an inventaholic-hero. Maybe, “hero”, is a bit strong. And this tale is not epic by any measure. But I do feel I’ve made a contribution to at least one person. And maybe through this article I'll help more people. Some by inspiring inventaholic philanthropy and others by giving them back the ability to draw/write again (explained just below, read on). The answer seems to be in the understanding that creative people have a responsibility to create, at least some of the time, for the common good.
My story begins with a diagnosis. A family friend was having medical problems and no one knew why. After a long and hellish series of cars, planes and waiting-rooms she heard the words “Ehlers-Daniels syndrome” (http://tinyurl.com/c2vcw3). I’ll spare you all the details and tell you in a nutshell that EDS screws with your body’s collagen production. Effectively, it turns your tendons from rubber-bands into limp spaghetti.
As you can imagine anyone with EDS has a horrid time performing everyday tasks. Is there a cure? No. And, unfortunately, most drug companies focus only on the high-profit drugs. If too few people need help, drug companies don't care. Time and again we see companies placing profits first and people second. But it does not need to be like this. We (budding heroes) can make a difference.
I was over my friend’s house when I discovered she could get around reasonable well, with a $20,000 wheelchair, but could not use a pencil. I was shocked. How could anyone be deprived of the ability to write a note or draw a doodle? I sunk in my chain.
Then I realized she needed help. I determined the task of writing/drawing can be broken down into two parts. To draw you must 1) hold the writing instrument in a correct orientation and also 2) move it along a set path. If you can’t do both you simply create meaningless scribbles.
Many people, whose challenges affect their dexterity, can’t orient and hold the pen well. But if they can move a wheelchair joystick, they might be able to guide a positioned-pen along an intended path.
The spatula was then clamped to my drill-press’ table and drilled.
To make the PenRight more user friendly teflon tape is added allowing it slide better and also to protect work surfaces. Foam is added, using spray adhesive, to make it more comfortable to use.
Shortly after the pen is delivered I get a phone call and a heartfelt thank you. For the first time, in a long time, my friend can again wright and draw. I straightened my mask, get into my supercar and drive to buy a celebratory Mocha Frapachino. A hero? Maybe for just the day. A great feeling of contribution? Absolutely.
One more note. The ball point acts as a bearing and allows the pen to flow smoothly. The spatula acts as a spring allowing the user to engage or disengage the pen simply by applying or removing slight pressure.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Are we destined to be slaves to our thumbs? Not if fellow inventaholics focus on the Body-Product interface. As an inventor I strive to implore new uses of ordinary objects. I also spend time thinking about how our bodies can/should interface with those objects. Every product at some point in its life interfaces with humans. Shouldn’t that experience be enjoyable.
Here is a prototype of a new type of RC Car I invented. It’s called “BongoCargo” and its name speaks for itself. I replaced the thumbtroller with Bongos and find it a blast to play with. Same RC goodness with new whole-hand flavor!
It was built using a $15 RC Car from Radio Shack, a Basic Stamp Education Board also from Radio Shack and a circuit board and relays also from… heck, I got all the parts at Radio Shack!
It was a simple and fun build. If enough people are interested, email or comment, I’ll post the schematics and source code.
Enjoy the Video. I’m planning on bringing it to Makers Fair in San Mateo. Come play with it or build your own and we can play together. As always, I’m glad to answer any questions so ask away.
Video Copyright 2008-2009 Perry Kaye, Music by “Yon4z” Album “Like My Bitch” from “www.Archive.Org”
Reading about inventors one may think, they are a lucky lot or that they're imbued with magical powers. But the real secret is that inventors are ordinary people. We're just a little more technically attuned and passionate about what we do. And that gives us, meaning you and me, an opportunity to discover new tools/techniques to advance our craft. We know there is a better way and we seek to expose it.
America has always been a fertile haven for inventive people. Ideas are listened to, maybe not bought into, but certainly listened to. And that is more than can be said about many other countries. In America you can try your idea and see if it works. And inventing is easy... the only thing holding most of us back is our lack of building knowledge and skill.
You've probably already invented a few things too because as humans our minds work to solve. We see a problem and our brain tells us, "I wish I had a tool that did..." And for many the tool never makes it passed the wish.
That is why I've created inventaholic.com. Here I will reveal techniques, tools and strategies for you to innovate, prototype and build products. The goal is to give everyone the tools needed to innovate and then see what happens.
Not everything will be successful. It's a bumpy road, for sure, but it is a fantastic ride. And one I hope you'll venture upon because in the end it is most rewarding.
My next post is about a new RC Car I invented that works using Bongos. See the video and learn how I created it. If you like this post or have questions, feel free to contact me or post them here.