Thomas Edison once said, “I only want to invent things that sell.” While this may sound obvious, it’s an important principle to understand if you are getting a degree, looking for a job, starting a business or inventing a product. And apparently it’s not obvious as we continue to see people wanting to be paid for services or products no one wants.
Did you know that 98 percent of all patented inventions never make enough money to recover the expenses of getting a patent? The inventor was deluded into thinking that if he/she could get a patent, surely someone would want to buy the product. In the same way I see:
- College students expecting to be highly compensated for having studying obscure areas of knowledge
- Job-seekers who are unclear about their focus or areas of competence
- Coaches who will “coach” in any area of life where you have a need
- People starting a business before doing market research
- Inventors wasting time and money patenting automatic pet petters, finger fly swatter, disposable boxer shorts, tether for walking a snake, and beerbrellas. Yes these are real patents.
If you have something to sell – your services, your products – be sure you can describe those in a way that matches something people want. Be clear on your unique “areas of competence.” Describe yourself as the new iPad – and you’ll have people standing in line who want you to work for them – sell to them – or develop another product for them.