It was seen that the works of founders of States, law-givers, tyrant-destroyers, and heroes cover
but narrow spaces and endure but for a time; while the work of the inventor, though of less pomp,
is felt everywhere and lasts forever.          - Francis Bacon Preface to a Treatise on Interpreting Nature




The Design of Everyday Things

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How to Design Breakthrough Inventions

A CBS interview of IDEO founder David Kelley


How to Build a StartUp

In this free online course, learn the key tools and steps for building a successful startup (or at least reducing the risk of failure).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

June 2014


Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. 
     - Mike Tyson

Paul Moses (pemoses@prf.org; director of Purdue Research Parks in New Albany and Indianapolis; manager and co-founder of INnovation Angels; president & chair‑elect of Venture Connectors) told us about Purdue University’s new emphasis on getting things done.  The result is a record-breaking 24 startups (based on Purdue’s intellectual property) formed in fiscal year 2014, triple that in 2013.

Mr. Moses helps people turn an idea into a business.  One of the first things he asks a startup founder (not someone else hired by the founder) to do is to put the horse before the cart, to adapt the startup to fit the market.  This not only increases the startup’s probability of success, but also attracts investors with evidence of guaranteed customers (i.e., profit) and with evidence that the founder is a good business person—adaptable, coachable, and capable of making good decisions.

Mr. Moses asks the founder to fit the startup to the market in the same way that s/he fits an invention to its purpose—by developing a working prototype.  The founder learns by trial and error: who the startup’s customers are (people ready to buy the startup’s goods and services); what it is, exactly, that the customers want; and what the startup needs to offer to the customers to succeed.  Only the founder can do this because only s/he has the authority to change the whole nature of the startup.

Guides available to the founder include:
     Steve Blank’s:
Launchpad Central;
Alex Osterwalder’s:
Purdue University’s:
Startup Guide;
Innovation and entrepreneur Web site
Foundry; and 
Research Park.

The process looks something like this.
  1. Use the business model canvas to design a first draft of your startup prototype.  Base this prototype on your best guesses as to who your customers are, what problems they want to solve, and what solutions the startup should provide to be profitable. (Note: the canvas is not a business plan.  It is a container that holds guesses about the startup, which the founder tests.  It shows the latest version of the startup prototype, that is, the founder's current logic of how the startup creates, delivers, and captures value.)
  2. Get out of the building to see if your guesses match reality, to see if your product fits the market.  Talk to potential customers.  Are they really middle age men or are they teenage girls?  Do they really want an expensive, durable product or do they want an inexpensive, single-use product?
  3. Go back into the building and use these new facts to revise your canvas.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until almost all of your newly identified customers demand your newly identified products and services.  When you guess wrong, figure out why you guessed wrong so you can understand the logic of the product-market fit.
  5. Pretend you know what your business model is, prepare to sell your products and services on a small scale, get out of the building, and try to sell to people you think are your customers.  Ask them which features persuaded them to buy. 
  6. Go back into the building; figure out what you didn’t understand about your customers, what they need, or how to relate to them; and modify your prototype accordingly.  Once again, when you guess wrong, figure out why you guessed wrong so you can understand the logic of the product-market fit.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have a repeatable, scalable business model.
Thank you, Mr. Moses, for sharing your valuable insights with us!

Patent Drawings by Richard McVicker

Some inventions patented by our members:

Bob Brand
3,179,907 Tuning system for television receivers
3,219,933 Television tuner switching system
3,241,072 Tuning control system
3,538,466 Television tuner cast housing with integrally cast transmission lines
4,503,740 Optical cutting edge locator for a cutting apparatus
4,503,896 Dog system for veneer slicer
4,601,317 Veneer slicing system
5,511,598 Veneer-slicer with remotely controllable blade angle adjustment
5,562,137 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,590,700 Vacuum flitch table with self-cleaning vacuum valve
5,678,619 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer from a tapered flitch
5,680,887 Veneer slicer with timing belt
5,694,995 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,701,938 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,819,828 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,868,187 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,395,843 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,552,750 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer sheets from a flitch

Rick Hanson
6,240,579 Unitary pedal control of brake and fifth wheel deployment via side and end articulation with additional unitary pedal control of height of patient support
6,253,397 Deployable siderails for a wheeled carriage
6,256,812 Wheeled carriage having auxiliary wheel spaced from center of gravity of wheeled base and cam apparatus controlling deployment of auxiliary wheel and deployable side rails for the wheeled carriage
6,264,006 Brake for castered wheels
6,507,964 Surgical table
D474,446 Sterilizable battery component

Bob Humbert
4,281,368 Keyhole illuminating apparatus

Ron Jackson
4,886,110 HVAC zone control system
4,943,039 Adjustable clamp
4,987,409 Level sensor and alarm
5,132,669 Level sensor with alarm
5,381,989 Adjustable spring clamp
5,944,098 Zone control for HVAC system
6,145,752 Temperature monitoring and control system
6,322,443 Duct supported booster fan
D347,596 Audible security alarm
D376,747 Door security device

Jerry McQuinn
D689,343 Universal Nutcracker

Richard McVicker
3,261,937 Three position snap switch utilizing interference blade means
3,319,477 Timer Escapement
3,332,704 Manually propelled treadmill vehicle
4,625,616 Thumb pick
6,309,076 Light barrier, screen or reflector
D240,237 Sculpture or the like
D356,653 Yard light
8389839 Thumb pick

Bill Pangburn
5,943,831 Device for Hauling Objects

Al Robbins

3,882,960 Ride quality control for surface effects craft
3,946,689 Air dynamo pressure regulation and modulation device for surface effect ships and air cushion vehicles
6,588,702 Lighter-than-air device having a flexible usable surface

Matt Thie
4,844,446 Multiple-compartment currency stacker-sorter
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
7,298,280 Lighted fluid flow indication apparatus
7,617,826 Conserver

Richard Tucker
5,833,751 Powder coating booth having smooth internal surfaces
6,840,367 Material handling and manufacturing system and method
6,976,835 Manufacturing system and process
7,018,579 Manufacturing system and process

Don Walls
D707090 Torque key lever
RE36209 Door lock apparatus

Dave Zedonis
5,637,926 Battery powered electronic assembly for wheel attachment

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