Spencer Brown (Inventor And Founder) gives expert video advice on: Do Inventors ever give up on an idea?; When is an invention a waste of time?; What are some of the worst inventions of all time? and more...
Do Inventors ever give up on an idea?
If you have a great idea; good, great and why-did-I-think-of-that and then I always add, “How did I think of that stupid idea?” You have this idea and you realized that the idea and the application and how the consumer understands is just not going to work. And then, the trend is your friend. You never really want to go against the trend way an uphill battle. It is difficult already bringing a product to market. If you are fighting obstacles that you feel are not worth it, then it is OK to throw on the towel. If you have one good idea, you have 50 great ideas and you have a thousand phenomenal ideas. So, don't give up if you fail on the first idea. Most inventors have more failures than successes.
When is an invention a waste of time?
When you're bringing the invention to market and somebody has leap-frogged you by years, by bringing a better product to market before you. That's a waste of time. Or, another waste of time is, I call it the buggy whip inventor. And that's where, a buggy whip is this whip that you use to help horses move forward on a carriage. So, imagine New York Central Park, and you have these cool horse-drawn carriages, and there's a guy who whips the horses with a buggy whip. And that is a waste of time, because there's only 1200 buggy whips, there's only 1200 horse-drawn carriages in the U.S., and 600 are in New York. So why invent a product that appeals to only 1200 people? Doesn't make sense. So I think a waste of time also is if you have an invention that comes to market and it's not solving a problem. It's just a product to be a product. I think that's a waste of time.
When is it time to give up on an invention?
When you are working on a product and your finding that everybody is telling you: "I don't really not like it", "it doesn't make sense", "it's not working", you're spending a lot of money, a lot of time, you're going against the grain. I just don't feel it, I'm not happy doing it, I ‘m not moving the idea for it, I'm not developing it - That's when you need to quit, I call it like trying to grow flowers in the desert - you can bring in all the dirt you want - its still hot and there's no water. You're not going to grow anything there. You need to grow a good a idea in a right soil and you have to grow in the right environment.
Can I make money with a bad invention?
Absolutely. I think the marketplace is always looking for some crazy idea. I think the best invention was the little pillow fart bag, where you blow it up, a whoopie cushion, and you shove it under someone. It's a bad idea. It's embarrassing. It made a ton of money. It is a novelty. But it is an invention because of how the air is blown out by the seam, and the sound it makes is exactly like a fart. It's a bad idea, but it makes a ton of money. If you go into any novelty gift shop, you'll see tons and tons of bad inventions for sale. And they're selling a ton of them. And I think people buy it for the novelty aspect rather than the I'm going to save time and money. It's more of a gag gift. And I think if your invention is terrible, it needs to be funny, and novelty and have to have, like, play a trick on somebody. And you could probably sell it.