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

Every inventor should take this free online course. Learn the basics of design and start observing and applying design principles.

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).

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 2017

SCORE Indianapolis mentors Bill Petrovic (retired vice president and treasurer, Roche Diagnostics) and Steve Click (retired national sales manager and DigiNet manager, WTHR) dazzled us with a description of all that SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives, a nonprofit organization supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration) provides.  Entrepreneurs and small businesses with all levels of business experience benefit from expert advice given through confidential individual mentoring, group workshops, and a well‑stocked, vetted library—for free or low cost.

The 45 mentors at SCORE Indianapolis (including a retired patent attorney) point a variety of people in the right direction.  Someone thinking about starting a business is shown how to focus on the appropriate sequence of essentials, how to develop a successful business model, how to find customers, how to raise startup money, and how to develop an exit strategy (based on a positive brand, loyal employees, and loyal customers).  A mature business receives help with problems related to human resources (eg, how many employees should there be), a supply chain (eg, should manufacturing be done in China), and intellectual property (eg, is a patent worth its cost).  A business owner can bounce ideas off an expert.  Search nationwide for SCORE mentors who have the particular expertise you need.

SCORE mentors often recommend using the lean startup method to build a business.  Step 1 is developing a value proposition, a description of all features and benefits of your product or service that will induce customers to buy it.  You must have something to sell that solves a problem and that customers are willing to buy at a profitable price.  To find out what that something is, you need to figure out who your potential customers are and talk with them to learn what they want.

To develop a value proposition, start with a learning tool called a minimally viable product.  See how potential customers (at least 100) react to one simple product/service that solves one simple part of a bigger problem.  If they aren’t interested in the problem, either find different potential customers who are interested in the problem or else invent something that solves a different problem that does interest them.  If they are interested in the problem, ask what they like and don’t like about your product/service.  Ask them to buy this product/service as is and see how much they will actually pay.  Then go back to the drawing board and adapt your invention to what they want.  Repeat this process until you have something that your potential customers really like.

Ask what the price of that product/service should be.  The market decides how much customers will pay (although there are ways to change the market).  The price could vary seasonally or from year to year.  Identify who will pay, who will influence others to buy, and what your selling channel (eg, in-person or internet) will be.

Then worry about costs.  Can you manufacture and distribute your product/service for less than the selling price?  Can you sell enough to make the amount of profit you want?  If you like the answers to those questions, you are on your way to starting a successful business.

SCORE needs mentors who are familiar with inventing.  If you would like to become a mentor, please contact Mr. Click (

Thank you, Mr. Petrovic and Mr. Click, for helping the business community create jobs and for sharing your extensive expertise 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

Kenton Brett
6023685 Computer controlled event ticket auctioning system
6704713 Computer controlled event ticket auctioning system
6907405 Computer controlled priority right auctioning system
7647269 Computer-based right distribution system with reserve pricing
7698210 Computer-based right distribution system
7720746 Computer-based right distribution system with password protection
7747507 Computer controlled auction system
7769673 Computer-based right distribution system with request reallocation
7992631 System and method for seasonal energy storage
8073765 Computer-based right distribution system with password protection
8128407 Method and system for teaching math
8538856 Computer-based right distribution system
8732033 Computer-based right distribution system with temporal variation
9614733 Methods and systems for reducing burst usage of a networked computer system
9900220 Methods and systems for reducing burst usage of a networked computer system

James Dougherty
8622039 Rockerless desmodromic valve system
9488074 Rockerless desmodromic valve system
9366158 Unitary cam follower and valve preload spring for a desmodromic valve mechanism

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

Matt Thie
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
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
8146592 Method and apparatus for regulating fluid flow or conserving fluid flow
8230859 Method and apparatus for regulating fluid

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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