I am an inventor. Sure, I may be a bit of a pessimist at times, but it is my pessimism that is my strength. I see a problem, I look for the solution and so for that, I am an inventor. After all, that’s what an inventor really is, right? a problem solver. I have a healthy dose of pessimism that allows me to see the problem or inefficiency in any situation, and then a mind that won’t let go until I have come up with a solution. But like any inventor, there is a second phase that I go through. It is the phase where pessimism is magically transformed into complete optimism that sometimes clouds my objectivity to the point that I believe my idea cannot fail.
As a product designer, I have seen this trait in nearly every inventor who crossed my path: total optimism in their product and a willingness to do almost anything to get it out on the market, because they just know that if the world could, for one second, see their idea as they did, every consumer in America would line up at their door.
I have a list of products that are in various stages of completion – good products, products that will improve the lives of everyone who used them. But in recent months I have had a dose of reality that thankfully has prevented me from putting my home and children’s college fund on the line.
Getting products to market is tough, and even if I create the drawings, make a prototype and so on, the odds are still stacked against me. The process is complicated, expensive, and frankly, very often, unrealistic.
Am I really going to find a couple of hundred thousand dollars to create tooling and pay for a minimum production run to fill a warehouse with my magical invention? And then there is branding, packaging, advertising, and marketing before I sell one piece. But what if, someone else launches an item that is (and this is difficult to say) better than mine. What if my wonderful, patented item becomes obsolete before I recover my investment? What will I do with a warehouse full of product no one wants?
Now do you see why I have changed my mind about developing my own invention?
So now I’m not an inventor, right? Of course I am an inventor. I can’t stop innovating solutions to problems any more than I can stop my dog being a dog–it’s who I am. But from this point on, I am looking for a better way: a system that takes minimum investment and has the best chance of yielding positive results. And without this turning into a shameless plug, that is why we created AON Invent. As an inventor, I wanted an effective way of getting my ideas to market without the liability and massive capital investment. Frankly, if it was not for AON’s service, I would resign myself to playing the lottery rather than ever putting another penny into trying to get a product to market on my own.
Andrew is the co-founder of AON Invent and the founder of All Product Design, a consumer product development company located in Northwest Arkansas. He began his career with the UK Ministry of Defense and spent the next 18 years honing his engineering and design skills within the retail industry, with a focus on packaging, display, and product design.