Friday, December 5

You're a friggin nut job!

I was kicking around one of the "inventor forums" this morning looking for an interesting topic to talk about. I found such a topic in a question that has both a surface meaning and a subsurface meaning.

An inventor posted this on a site asking for advice:

A very large manufacturer I’ve been in contact with since last week was interested in seeing my patent pending product design. So yesterday I emailed my one page sell sheet, and the Product Manager sent me this about an hour ago:

“For us to proceed with reviewing this concept, we need to know what you are looking to get out of it. What licensing terms are you requiring?”

For this gentleman it appears to be an exciting response asking for additional information. However, to those of us who do this every day it's a much different question being asked.

You see - what the company is really asking is a series of questions designed to give them insight into this person on the other end:

- Are you a nut-job inventor like the last guy?

- Do we really want to be dealing with you for the next few years?

- Do you watch too much TV and think we love your idea as much as your dog did?

- Do you have any clue what you're doing and am I going to have to teach you every step?

- Were you smart enough to do your homework and give us what we need to commercialize this idea?

While there's no doubt the guy on the other end was interested at some level, after all, why else would he send the email. His question was much more about the inventor than the royalty.

Contrary to popular belief companies do not make decisions based solely on dollars. Companies understand that the relationship with the inventor is every bit as important as the money to be made or the idea itself - most have learned over the years to test those waters carefully by sending out a response that will let them know quickly who's on the other end and just how experienced they are.

So, next time you find yourself in that situation, remember the question has both a text, and a sub-text, one designed to see if you did your homework, and one designed to see if you're another nut-job inventor like the one who called last week.

Mark Reyland

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