Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • September 26, 2016, 10:41:26 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Hypothetical hypothetical question  (Read 1995 times)

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,158
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Hypothetical hypothetical question
« on: March 31, 2014, 09:39:38 AM »
I don't have a great idea at the moment.  So this is a real Hypothetical hypothetical question.  Say you thought of this great concept.  But you're not certain if the idea has already been bandied about or developed.  If you google for it, it's gone.  Because it will show up in the search tracking and someone with resources will steal it if it's any good.

How to find out if it's original without getting ripped off?


40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,763
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 11:21:49 AM »
I don't think it's really possible to investigate or research something without leaving some footprint behind. Especially if you do it mostly online where everything is ultimately trackable. And it's probably a quixotic quest to even attempt to get completely around that.

What's really important is what gets done with an idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen and not protectable for precisely that reason. Humans progress by freely borrowing, adapting, and exchanging ideas. It's what we do. And probably what we always will do despite so much recent misguided IP legal theory to the contrary.

I get tapped a couple of  times a month on average by somebody who wants to discuss an "idea" for something. Usually a new business. I tell them to put together a preliminary business and marketing plan first and then I'll be happy to discuss it with them. That's usually the last I ever hear from them - either because they can't be bothered to do the work of putting a plan together - or because they did do a plan and realized their idea either wasn't (a) doable or (b) worth doing.

I've come to believe planning, execution and timing are the three most critical factors for success in almost every human endeavor. A brilliant or original idea lands somewhere around eighth in importance. And originality is vastly overrated when it comes to building or conducting a business. So is genius, whatever that overused word still means.

If somebody has an original ideal they want to pursue, I think the best approach is to stop worrying about somebody stealing it. Somebody stealing your original business model is a different story. But business models are really about the execution of an idea. They're not the idea itself.

Got an idea? Gather together three or four people who's opinion and insight you can trust and bounce it off them. If it looks like a go, add a few more people with domain specific expertise and sit down (under a non-disclosure agreement if you feel the need) and have at it hammer and tongs. Usually within a group of carefully selected cronies and advisors there will be enough expertise to evaluate an idea and start something rolling. And all without making too public a hoo-hah.

dm.jpg

Don't know if this adequately addresses your original question, but hey, I get on a roll every so often. ;D

« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:32:30 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 11:24:13 AM »
This one gets saved, 40.  :Thmbsup:

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,158
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 12:01:20 PM »
This one gets saved, 40.  :Thmbsup:

+1.  Thanks for the cogent response.  :)

TaoPhoenix

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2011
  • **
  • Posts: 4,548
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 01:07:38 PM »
I don't think it's really possible to investigate or research something without leaving some footprint behind. Especially if you do it mostly online where everything is ultimately trackable. And it's probably a quixotic quest to even attempt to get completely around that.
...
I get tapped a couple of  times a month on average by somebody who wants to discuss an "idea" for something. Usually a new business. I tell them to put together a preliminary business and marketing plan first and then I'll be happy to discuss it with them. That's usually the last I ever hear from them - either because they can't be bothered to do the work of putting a plan together - or because they did do a plan and realized their idea either wasn't (a) doable or (b) worth doing.

I've come to believe planning, execution and timing are the three most critical factors for success in almost every human endeavor. A brilliant or original idea lands somewhere around eighth in importance. And originality is vastly overrated when it comes to building or conducting a business. So is genius, whatever that overused word still means.

I'll try a slightly different perspective.

The idea of "noise" is used a lot - there's just a lot of stuff going on over the web. It feels like a topic in AI how you would flag and bubble up exactly when the one time a Mr. MilesAhead looked up stuff, that it would ricochet around so fast.

Regarding all that planning etc, I'd go the other way - talk is cheap and educational. Instead imagine what the "sunk costs" would be: how hard is it to do a cute little hobby prototype of the idea? Then you and a few friends goof off with it. If there's "burgeoning excitement" then you go back and do the plan for an investor.

Instead if it takes 100k just to get in the discussion, that's when it reverts back to 40hz's notes - in better years I could spend up to a grand goofing off with a prototype of something, but anyone risking 100k and then cascades more, better have it locked down.

Also, what is the timeline? A media project "just gets made", then you are sorta done except marketing and follow up. But a big business has to plan for years of losses before it flips, or else it starts with a bang but then becomes Atari in 1984.


40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,763
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 02:03:21 PM »
Regarding all that planning etc, I'd go the other way - talk is cheap and educational. Instead imagine what the "sunk costs" would be: how hard is it to do a cute little hobby prototype of the idea? Then you and a few friends goof off with it. If there's "burgeoning excitement" then you go back and do the plan for an investor.

If it's genuine friends who are talking, I'd pretty much agree here.

It's when somebody shows up out of the blue, or courtesy of somebody who's just trying to get the caller off their phone, that I ask for a little more demonstration of thought and commitment. And definitely before I'll consent to spending a few hours of "brainstorming" (i.e. BS-ing) over a pizza.

The last person that called me had a "super idea" for something that could "revolutionize using the web on a PC." But it was important, he said, that we move fast on it before somebody else though of it too.  8)

His idea? Putting a key on the keyboard that automatically added .com after wherever the cursor was. He figured that "since we're all using the web constantly, not having to type .com all the time would be a major time saver." :-\

Yep! That was the "super idea." :tellme:  I guess he never heard about the <CTRL><ENTER> combo...   :huh:

He wanted to know if I'd be interested in going in with him on a patent search... ;D

Now you know why I ask for something more than just "an idea" before I'll waste more minutes of my life I'll never get back.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 02:10:51 PM by 40hz »

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,158
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 05:32:50 PM »
Quote
His idea? Putting a key on the keyboard that automatically added .com after wherever the cursor was.
 Heh heh.  Strange the ideas people have.  I had a friend who was a shipyard welder.  He was always coming up with little ideas.  One that he wanted to patent was welding bicycle handbrakes on wheelchairs.  He showed me these patents of braking systems on wheelchairs.  One was an automatic parking brake with 90 or 100 moving parts.  When the person took their weight off the seat it engaged the brake.  Apparently there was nothing simple for the person pushing the wheelchair to retard momentum going downhill or down ramps etc..

I told him I thought he could make money welding the brakes on.  He should rent a garage, get welding equipment, sets of brakes, and advertise.  But he was obsessed with patenting it first or else someone would steal the concept.  I'm sure my friend was a competent welder.  But he did like to knock back cold ones on occasion.  :)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 05:38:03 PM by MilesAhead »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,251
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 06:03:39 PM »
40hz said just about everything i believe in his first post.

The only thing worth adding that he hasn't added is that chances are that whatever great idea one has, a dozen people have come up with it decades ago in a dozen countries.  The idea itself is not the hard part -- it's developing the idea.

Do try hard to learn about prior work -- don't ignore it -- it could save you immense amounts of wasted time, and don't worry about someone else hearing about your idea and stealing it.


40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,763
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 06:44:05 PM »
Do try hard to learn about prior work -- don't ignore it -- it could save you immense amounts of wasted time,


Very very very important point!

Learn from history and other people's mistakes. Sometimes the absence of competitors is the surest sign something is a very bad idea.

One business adage I've learned to respect over the years is the one that goes: Don't fall for the mistaken belief that the fact "nobody else is doing it" automatically makes something a good idea. Many times nobody else is doing it because it's unworkable - or it isn't worth doing.

 8)

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,650
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Hypothetical hypothetical question
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 08:31:06 PM »
2 people come up with the same idea at the same time, in 2 different parts of the world. Both people work hard on an implementation of their idea and then patent & market it, in hopes of making money on it.

Funny thing about it is that they are 2 entirely different products, based on the same idea. They both solve the same problem, but differently.

Now a 3rd guy comes along, not knowing about either of the 2 existing projects, comes up with the idea on his own and a 3rd way to implement it, that is unlike the other 2.

Think the idea of a jar opener, then take a look at this google image search, and you will realize why the idea doesn't need protection, but an implementation might (if it's any good).

And if you want some really good advice, it might be worth it to have a read here: http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=10998.0

I linked to a great article in that post that will save you a lot of trouble, money, and heartache by getting you to look at things from a better angle.

And my own personal story about why I am not filthy rich (you can learn a lot from it): http://cranialsoup.b...piece-of-string.html