Here’s an interesting stat… Inventions and the intellectual property behind them support 40 million jobs and are responsible for over 1/3 of our gross domestic product- more than $5 trillion dollars annually.
Manufacturing jobs may have shifted overseas, but inventions and the industries around them continue to grow the economy.
So many inventors I meet dig their heels in when trying to license or bring their idea to market. They take a stand and demand that it be made here in the USA regardless of the extra cost.
This is a noble and patriotic gesture, but by trying to help one local manufacturing company and keeping your production local, you could be dooming your product to failure if it can’t be sold at a profit throughout the supply chain.
The reality of our global economy is that it’s no longer possible for many product designs to be manufactured in the US, and the greatest product in the world won’t sell if it’s not priced right
Obviously you should explore manufacturing in the US because many products can and should still be made locally. Especially if you have something requiring little assembly, frequent revisions or many other factors. Local will always have specific advantages.
Buys local, shop local, support local makes sense for some products, but the best support you can give the economy comes from launching and building a long term business selling the most competitive product possible. Don’t risk going out of business in 18 months if your pricing doesn’t leave you a profit.
I planted tomatoes this year for the first time, (thank you TopsyTurvy), and I’m not having much luck. I bought the plants, mounted the hanger, filled with dirt, and spent all this time watering every day- all I have to show for it is a disfigured little plant with one measly flower.
This weekend I saw a friends plant and it’s HUGE! I explained my problem and then he asked “how much sun are they getting?”… Huh??
Turns out tomatoes need LOTS of sunlight and mine are hung on the back deck in the shade for most of the day. I confess- I didn’t read the direction. How complicated can it be I thought? Now I wasted all that time and have nothing to show for it, and if I re-hang them might have a little success instead of the bushels I was expecting.
Inventing products and growing tomatoes isn’t that complicated, but your chances of having a successful outcome go up significantly if you follow the instructions of someone who knows what they’re doing.
Inventors Blueprint offers step-by-step instructions to walk you through all the stages of developing your invention. Take a look below and hopefully we can save you some time and effort in getting your idea out to market.
Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.
Thomas A. Edison
All to often we inventors can get caught up in our heads with inventing for the sake of it. ”Wouldn’t it be cool if this bottle opener had another bottle opener on it?”
While this can be a fun exercise, make sure to take the time to evaluate the market potential of all your ideas before you choose the one to really focus on. Only when you clearly understand the size and taste of your market, as well as why your idea is truly better than the competition should you start putting in the time and energy.
Creating cool things is a fun hobby, but if you’d also like to get paid for your efforts, make sure you choose through research rather than emotion.
That’s how I felt today when my new MakerBot Replicator showed up on my door this morning. Only though an act of iron will have I been able to work an entire hour and 17 minutes today, and I’m about to call it quits… When you get access to a toy this cool you just have to give into it.
The MakerBot Replicator is a 3D printer with some amazing capabilities: Huge print area- about as big as a loaf of bread, 2 color printing- two print heads, and multi-material capabilities. Here’s a link to a quick 3 minute video from the Maker himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euZivv8ySyA&feature=relmfu
I’ve been prototyping 3D designs for years and still get plenty of use on my 4-axis CNC Mill, but each tool has it’s use. The biggest challenge of the CNC is spending the time setting up each cut of each model. Plus because you’re starting with a big piece of material and cutting away everything that’s not your part, there are limitations. Have an undercut? Now you have a headache too…
I’ll keep you posted on how I use this tool to speed up prototyping and free my design constraints as I create new inventions and show others how to invent.
We think of it as a compliment when someone says we’re “ahead of our time”, but as an inventor you don’t want to be sooooo far ahead of the curve you can’t commercialize on your product.
Here are 10 Inventions that were ahead of their time, including the 1979 iPod… Enjoy:http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/165-ten-inventions-ahead-of-their-time.html
Here’s a quick compilation of some of my favorite creations over the years, from successful products on the market, to near misses and contraptions created solely for the sake of Making. These projects go back over 10 years, and it’s been fun-slash-painful to look at some of these, but way more on the fun side. I have no formal training with any of the tools I’ve wielded; not with plasma torches, or CAD programs, TIG welders or tooling. But the lesson I’ve always tried to take away from my failures, mistakes and slow-starts is this: at least I’ve found out another way NOT to do it next time. WD-40 took 39 mistakes before success, and James Dyson took 5,127 attempts before he got his vacuum to work right.
If you have any any projects to share, especially a mistake- then the success, I’d love to see them here. Make sure to let us know what you learned. Hopefully we can take your lesson to heart so we don’t have to learn it the hard way!
My table! I finally got over the fear of starting this project when I my frustration at the shortcoming of our old table passed a threshold. I’d never really done any woodwork before, and my few attempts were nothing I’d want to see three times a day for the next 30 years. I was scared to try because I didn’t know how to do what I wanted to do. Luckily I made a great decision that actually parallels what I’m trying to do with Inventors Blueprint: I found an expert to guide my journey.
He broke the project down into manageable steps: he taught me what I didn’t know, warned me of where I could easily screw up and provided encouragement when the going got tough (you mean I need to put 2000 hole in 500 boards?!?). In the end I build a one-of-a-kind custom walnut extendable table that will be an heirloom. Just what I wanted!!
Big shout-out to Mike at Creative Woodworks in Portland. Thanks for the guidance!
Here’s another product I brought to market, the Acqua Bol. A folding credit card-sized water bowl for pets on the go. I brought this product to market on my own rather that through licensing for two reasons:
1. The low price point didn’t make for an idea licensed product given my sales projections
2. I wanted to
This product has been a very popular, and still has a dedicated following spreading the word, even though its been at least three years since I’ve done ANY promotion whatsoever. Why’d I stop? The lesson I learned from starting WowBow Products is you need more than one product, and need to make more than $1.40 per unit to hope to cover expenses and make it worth your time. Even popular products people love should be abandoned if they don’t meet your objectives. See the site at wowbowproducts.com
The Beach Blender was the continuation of the legacy of the Shotapult. For a number of years I would challenge myself to build some sort of contraption to maximize the fun for our annual 4th of July party. The Beach Blender started life as a weedwacker and margaritafied our summers year after year… Until we had kids. :)
The Tapler… still one of my best named product concepts. 1/2 stapler, 1/2 tape dispenser and the first of it’s kind. One potential licensing company spent $10,000 on market surveys and feedback and considered product placement on The Office before ultimately deciding to pass. You can see the survey and full details in the PitchPak area of the Inventors Blueprint membership area.