Who HASN’T thought of something that they thought could change the world? I admit I have thought of AT LEAST 10 things I thought would change the world, I’ve documented some, and even made some progress on some of them.I’ve contacted “inventors help lines”, I’ve called companies, I’ve started excel spreadsheets detailing costs, I’ve hired engineers to start digging on them. But I haven’t ever really found or built “that” invention.*
It’s strange too because I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty smart guy with a lot of motivation, but it is peculiar how lives and ideas change as you get older. You get married, you have kids, you go in debt, priorities change, and you just learn to deal with it and find NEW goals.
I love my wife and kids to death, but I look back and think about how I used to come up with these wild ideas for inventions and how I even considered stopping work to go full-time on many of the ideas, but never got around to it and before I knew it, I was a Dad.
Anyway, the nostalgia must be killing us all :), but the point of this article is more deep digging on what or why people don’t follow through on their invention ideas because I can assure the hundreds of you that subscribe to this blog have had some good cumulative ideas in the past that have fallen apart at one stage or another. The aspect I want to touch on is where that level of commitment to the final product falls apart.
Personally, like I said, I’ve gone as far as calling Kmart and Walmarts of the world and asked them if they’d be interested if I came in and proposed a few ideas to them. I did this with about 3 things and was always shut down immediately with even the store manager; so I backed off and went to the people that sold Kmart the products. If they’d be interested. All of THEM wanted an actual functioning protoype to demo for them at their place.
Well that kicked me back to realizing that my “idea” was going to have to be in REAL FORM before any movement was made on it. Which, in turn, pushed me to earning more money to BUILD the product. I gave the “inventors help line” a call on one of them, and I can tell you now, DO NOT call them. You’ll get nothing but people trying to TAKE your idea.
After I realized the “inventors NO-help line” wasn’t going to get me anywhere, I tracked down individual engineers that might help me, as I worked at a tech firm at the time that might be able to shoot me some specs in their spare time. Who would have thought that most of them actually “worked” at work. Go figure. Needless to say, that didn’t go anywhere.
So that left me with a lot of drawings, graphs, charts, and presentation documents but not really anywhere to go. The department store wanted you to go through their vendor, the vendor wanted specs from an engineer, and the engineer needed time (or money) to work on your specific product, and the MONEY wasn’t in my bank account.
Venture capitalists? Well, I actually emailed 2 or 3 of them and was promptly shut down from most of them because my initial project was a pretty big price tag to build, and I was FAR from being able to provide a working prototype for them yet. But I spent a LOT of time thing, drawing, and Powerpointing documents for it.
So that also led me to frugality. I wanted to be able to pay the engineer to build the product, to show to the vendor, to put in front of Kmart, to buy the product. I wasn’t going to be able to do that anywhere else.
Along the way, life happened. I met my beautiful wife and was in the process of having my first child. All of a sudden the “invention money” became the “nursery money”. Along with everything else that comes with that. The house money, the diapers money, the car to fit the kid money, the wedding money, the everything money.
But I gave it a whirl, and I was nearing what I needed to do with different projects. And it is strange. It has been 5+ years since I was on that path and my mindset has changed. I don’t think anymore of inventions, I think much more conservative. I mean hey, you’re reading one of my brainchildren now. It’s not so risky, provides a little extra side income and is enjoyable.
I’m thinking of the saving and investing approach as opposed to the striking it rich approach. I don’t mind the change in scenery. Time changes, priorities change, people change and you move on. I enjoy that about life. What I am curious about is if anyone else has made it this far or farther in the “invention that will change the world” search?
Were you successful? Did you fail? At what point did you realize it wasn’t going to happen? What happened in your life? Have you gotten past the initial “thought” stage yet where you’ve started writing things down?
*- if I get enough interest here, contact me or leave a comment here and I’d post some of my ideas on the blog of past flops/ideas for someone else to strike it rich with! Maybe it will help motivate someone else because clearly I don’t have the time nor the money to do anything with them now.