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How can you be working on 80 inventions?

A lot of people have asked how I can possibly be working on something like 80 projects and have any hope of getting anything done…

… well I can’t!

The thing is that being a professional inventor means that your number 1 priority is to follow opportunities as they present themselves and then once their potential is understood, they are prioritized amongst other projects to allow the most fruitful and promising projects to get priority.

Sometimes it’s just timing. Timing for the right people to be available to work on the project, or the right resources to be available cheaply to continue experiments. Sometimes it’s money.

Another dilemma is prioritization.

As an inventor I am constantly losing perspective. The initial buzz of possibly solving a big problem sometimes quickly gets overshadowed by the grind of having to tackle a secondary issue in proving the invention.

For example, I am trying to work out how to turn road trains/ trucks into lite rail vehicles. Every person I speak to about it thinks its a really great idea but I'm struggling with the whole project since the concept relies on an easy and simple way to add the rail bogies to an existing truck and trailer… its really hard work.. so this makes me place the project further down the priority list, but then I’ll meet a heavy industries engineer and the project takes off again… it’s that fickle.

Other factors can be my energy level at any given time. If everything’s going good and there is a lot of energy around me, and the team I work with, the idea of tackling massive compression with Logarex or having another crack at music anti-piracy with Delta Watermarking makes these projects jump to the top of the list.

At other times when the energy is low I’ll throw myself into easier, smaller projects like the TV mute voice controller where the target is easier and smaller in scale, even if a lot less world changing.

Another trick I am learning is segregation.

I am learning something important. “Keep invention and business separate”. Invention is like painting. You can’t do real inspired work if you try to treat invention like it’s a production line. But business success is often, and sometimes must be, a process driven quality assured system (i.e. a production line).

In business you need consistency, repeatable performance, polished trustworthy presentation and as few surprises as possible.

Everyone loves to hear about the latest invention or idea, but if you are a customer or an investor you don’t want to be a guinea pig. You want your money to buy something that is proven and will work.

So on this basis I deliver inventions in a two part process.

The first part I handle personally… conception, provisional patents and proof of concepts… all the stuff that is airy fairy and high risk.

Then, secondly,  I will find professionals that are as good as I can get to take over the project. But I don’t hand over the project until it is fully baked… that I can prove to work, that has at least a basic business plan and a basis for Angel funding.

I did this to some extent with Uniloc when I handed over the company to my friend Craig Etchegoyen in the US and now I’m doing projects with Lynden Payne at R2 Group in Australia.

The process of getting the project cross checked by industry professionals, vetted by investors from the target industry, and the selection of a CEO for the project that has sold something like this before is all essential to fully baking the cake, but takes a skill set that I just don’t have… therefore the need for a team that takes my projects, runs them through the griller, slams it a with a big dose of reality and then prepares it for business development.

The beaut thing about this for me is that I do a lot of what I’m good at and a lot less of what I’m not. Making a living is a lot more fun this way too.

Feel free to request more fleshing out on this article if you find it interesting. Regards, Ric.

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