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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

How Do You Make Something?

Think about everything you hold in your hand. How did it get there? From a simple pencil to an iPhone charger, how did that idea get from someone’s mind to your hand? I had no idea, but I needed to figure it out!

With the filing of the provisional patent, our dreams of becoming rich through a residual agreement were rapidly fading. That meant that we would have to take care of everything, including figuring out how to prototype, manufacture and market a product! I have extensive project management background, but I had never done anything like this. I was simultaneously thrilled and scared at the prospect.

In an earlier post, I described how I had been approached by several companies that promised to get us from an idea to a completed computer design that was ready for manufacturing. They also promised to put us in touch with several manufacturers who could quote production costs. The last time I spoke with them (a few months ago) it was with the attitude of someone who was coming up with a “Plan B” if my royalty deal didn’t come through quick enough. Now it was “Plan A”!

I did another internet search with the intention of having serious discussion with people who could actually get my product manufactured. I wasn’t interested in an Internet Shepherd or someone who would do design work, then leave me to figure out manufacturing! I had already reconciled myself to the idea that we were going to have to spend a significant amount of money on this, so now it was about getting the best value.

I reached out to several companies and scheduled interviews. Everyone was very kind and eager to engage me on helping bring my product to market, however no one was willing to guarantee or even price the actual manufacturing costs. All the promises were the same. They would complete CAD/CAM work, provide me with detailed drawings and introduce me to manufacturers so I could negotiate manufacturing costs directly with them. And the cost was $10,000!

That was a lot of money for some computer work. I kept running through the design in my head and I couldn’t understand how it was complex enough to need all this computer time, or why manufacturing had to be so expensive! Lisa and I discussed it, and while we believed in the idea we wondered if we had the resources to really get the product to market.

We needed to either sign a contract and come up with $10,000, or needed a new plan.

I felt it would be a good idea to have a discussion with the patent attorney before we committed to a design company, so I schedule a call with him. And everything changed!


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