Nov 02, 2009
...or are you playing with an idea?
Of course, you need an idea before you can have a product…but you can patent anything (rather it’s a defensible patent…or a good product idea…that’s two other entirely different matters.)
Three Sanity Checkpoints:
1. What does it do? No, not what you’ll put on the patent application. How would you explain it to: your Mother, your bartender, your five-year-old daughter? If the five-year-old gets it - you’ve REALLY got something with potential. And, she’ll ask a lot of embarrassing questions that us grown-ups are too polite to ask. Yes, I realize you may be developing something very specialized in - say - biotech. But, your potential investors (and bankers) most likely don’t have PhDs in biochemistry.
2. Who would buy it? Really? How do you know? Do they have money? Have you talked to them about it?
3. What will you do when it breaks? It will. It also won’t work the way it “should” once it’s out in the real world. You can build and sell one of anything. But, you don’t make real money until you can make and sell a lot of the thing, over and over, which means the product has to work - well and consistently. I once worked with a client who was going through sheer hell with unhappy (and very vocal, all over Da Web) customers. After a bit (okay - a lot) of digging and discussion - the root cause became apparent. They’d rushed to market with a beta - charging full price and papering the world with ads…for something that broke (a lot.)
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