Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
What do you think? Is a written interview better than a video? If not, is it worth the effort?
The transcript is below and the video is here.
How did you come up with the idea for the voice recording binder clip?
Well, it was born out of necessity. I was working as outside counsel and my secretary wasn’t sitting too close to me at the time and I constantly had to write post-it notes messages to my secretary about what to do with certain documents. And then I was binding them with binder clips to folders and I had wished that she would be sitting closer to me so I could just tell her what I wanted her to do. And one day I was writing out a post-it note and holding a binder clip in my hand and out of frustration of wishing to speak to her, I just thought can’t I speak into the clip and that’s how the idea was born.
Now, do you make the product yourself or do you use an outside manufacturer?
Outside manufacturer. I had it made in China.
Have you run into any problems bringing the clip to market?
One of the challenges is because it’s so new and different no one knows what to make of it. And you have to find time with people to get them to recognize and think about it. And whenever I do that the eyebrows always go up in a triangle. People say, “Oh, it’s” – and then they get it. So that’s one of the challenges.
The other is that with larger outfits, like for example Staples, they liked it also and they were ready to test market it, but they had all of these requirements for me, for manufacturing, for pricing, for delivery, for packaging and for a solo that was a lot for me. So that’s another challenge.
Yet another one is I’ve heard this before. Well, it’s a one-trick pony. What else do you have? Oh my god, if I could come up with inventions like this every day I’d be much better off I think.
Well, what advice would you give to new inventors?
I recognize that every invention is the inventor’s baby. And it’s very difficult to call a baby ugly, but that’s what you really need to do. You really have to pressure test your first idea before you put any money into it. I’ve often had people come to me and they say, “Oh, I have a great idea. I want a patent.”
Okay, what’s your plan? What are you going to with the patent? What are you going to do with the product? How do you plan to market it? I mean there’s a lot more to it than just I have an idea and I see money at the end of this.
It’s a very, very challenging and long process and you have to be committed to it and you have to have a plan. The plan includes IP, but that’s just one of the aspects of it. And it’s been a wonderful learning experience for me. It’s almost like a hobby to do this, but there is marketing, the entire strategy of it, the funding of it. There is whether, the choice of whether you want to sell it or license it, where you sell it, how you sell it, where you source it.
I mean I’ve had supply chain issues. I had to learn about supply chain. So there’s a lot to learn, a lot to do and it really should be planned out accordingly, not jumped into because most patent lawyers, they’ll be happy. They’ll go through the discussion, but they’ll be happy to write up a patent application, file it, prosecute it and so on. I mean that’s what we do, but inventors shouldn’t just fall into that avenue and be done with it. Oh, I’m going to get a patent and that’s it, done, we’re successful. It doesn’t work that way.
Well, thanks Konny for talking with me today on Inventor’s Journal.