Inventions with Family and Friends

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Three new inventions last week.

Two of them from family and friends.

They want the “idea” to be drawn and the specifications written “good enough” for the patent attorney to edit.  No money exchanged hands, it is night work without hard deadlines.  On one, the offer was 25% to take the concept to the invention with drawings and specifications and is a consumer product.  The second, being family. a 10% offer to a family friend for his expertise and keep 90%.  Like Mark Cuban says, “you only need one”.

These new inventions are surprising.

Never thought that people would come  with their ideas and ask for help for “good enough” drawings and specifications, ready for legal review. So far, one item complete and two to go. Check out the sell sheet for the “Walk with me” cup – an attractive multi-purpose item.

When an invention achieved patent pending status the percentage is earned but the work continues.  Sell sheets, negotiations, contacts and other support is offered to the inventor.  After all,  no one makes any money until sales.

If you have a good idea but need help with drawings and specifications that are “good enough” and are willing to pay by giving up a percentage, then feel free to email at


Categories: Tools

SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

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SWOT – Free template

SWOT Template

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunites and Threats


Sometimes people refer to a business as an organization.  Organized business is a healthy business.  People make a business.  Without people, there is no business.  The people on hand are a strength, the people needed are a weakness. The business elements in hand are the strengths.  Tangible assets like machines, office equipment, and inventory are a component of strength.  Intellectual Property and the plan for using it are also part of the strength of the company. Cash and financial strength count.  Add up everything including marketing, advertising, sales, web, and manufacturing capability.  Be thorough. The strengths carry the business.


Unfortunately, weaknesses are not as easy to perceive as strengths.  Fundamental errors can carry on and crush a business at an alarming speed.  The easy weaknesses to list include not enough sales, money, projects delayed, and other missed metrics.  But – what needs to change or iterate before the business runs into a weak position?  The good kind of self-criticism and accountability comes into play.  Various heads find their own and company weaknesses and put them down for corrective action.  Brave work to find the missing or weak business elements


The venture inventor invented to meet a need or niche in the market.  The opportunity is to fill the need or niche.  There is more.  To hone in on the opportunity the Voice of the Customer work, the market segmentation, and the value of the opportunity is known.  Is this a “family” product?  What are the adjacencies?  New applications for the invention?  Correctly understanding the opportunity drives the expectations for the bottom line.


Threats speak to, why not?  Too much competition? Not manufacturable? Founders arguing?  Cash low? Market segment too small?  Invention incomplete?


The SWOT analysis was invented by a management consultant named Albert Humphrey in the 1960’s. It has stood the test of fierce business and time.  Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in a company is fundamental to knowing how to manage the business.

Categories: Planning, Tools

Print Screen

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An excellent print screen program is essential to fast workflow.

See what you like, grab the picture of the screen you want and keep going with your document, presentation, email or report without slowing down.

Free Gadwin Print Screen

Free Gadwin Print Screen

Venture Inventor recommends the free version of Gadwin Print Screen. It is simple, fast and accurate.

Gadwin Print Screen lives here.

Gadwin Print Screen lives here.

Right mouse click, select “show info”.

Show Info Page for free Gadwin Print Screen

Show Info Page for free Gadwin Print Screen

Show Options

Select the same options as shown.  While not necessary, the camera shutter confirm the action. Shift print screen is a good shortcut to select.  When the shortcut key is activated a red, cursor adjustable window appears.  Select the area to clip and clip it.  A confirmation window appears.

Gadwin Print Screen

Gadwin Print Screen

Check the green check mark at the top left of the window and the capture is completed. Gadwin Print Screen is a configurable program and preferences vary from user to user.

It provides quick, satisfactory, targeted screen clips.  Gadwin Print Screen automatically names the file and saves it to the designated file.

While screen clips (without OCR) are not searchable, they are viewable as large icons in Windows 10 explorer.  A library of Gadwin Print Screen images is reviewed in seconds with the explorer.

Set up the Explorer as below.

Screen Shot 01-12-16 at 10.48 PM

Copy what you want and insert or paste into the document.  If desired, processing the captured image in programs like Photoshop is simple too.


Categories: Software, Tools

Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)


Customer relationship management software (CRM)  is a tool with two primary functions.

It enables salespeople to track and close customers within the sales strategy of the company. CRM gives management insight into the customers and extracts information that is used to increase profits.

CRM is a balancing act between these two needs.  Sales people do not like to track and be tracked.  From a management perspective, the information is too valuable not to track. Management wants to know everything, sales for the most part, resent the seemingly non-productive data entry.  The easier and more useful to sales, the more the CRM gets used.  A fancy CRM that is hard to learn, but captures everything management wants falls flat because of sales resistance to being data entry clerks. Conversely, too little information means that everyone might as well be using their paper diaries.

The biggest problem with Customer Relationship Software is adoption.

A web-based product that works on all devices seems necessary.  Venture Inventor prefers Pipeline Deals. Pipeline Deals is user-friendly CRM (Customer Relationship Management).  None of the CRM’s are fun to use in real time.  But, without customer information at fingertips, calls and followups get missed.  Emails are automatically routed to the right deal, so the headache of keeping up with correspondence is minimized.

It has a nice feature for management.  On the home page is an activity box.  Managment can look at the activity box and see who is doing what.  So, if one of the sales people is not logging in and documenting their work, the lack of activity shows.  This feature allows the executive to understand how long calls and meeting take and the data collection process.

The Pipeline deals browser based program is configurable.  Open a drop-down and select the information to view. Keeping thousands of companies, a hundred leads and prospects organized is easy.

Bear in mind that this is a simple interface.   A person of moderate computer skills can operate it immediately without training. It has simple, configurable privileges.  It is easy, reliable and reasonably priced ($25 per user per month).

Pipeline Deals is in the Venture Inventor’s Toolbox.

Categories: Software, Tools

Confidential Agreements/ Non-Disclosure Agreements

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Confidentiality Agreements

Non-Disclosure Agreements or Confidential Disclosure

Confidential Agreements are found in various corners of the internet. You will have to modify the agreements below to suit your needs. Confidentiality agreements come in many flavors. It is important to protect the inventor’s invention. Lawyers say that an open discussion where the people on the phone are brainstorming leads to added inventors who, because the information was not kept confidential from the contributors are now co-inventors with inventor’s rights.  Suppose the call is with the customer’s engineers and the engineer suggests a modification.  The engineer has just become a co-inventor.  If the confidentiality agreement is written properly with words like:

“receives the Confidential Information of INVENTOR, and CLIENT makes improvements to technologies described in the Confidential Information of INVENTOR or makes inventions based on the technologies described in the Confidential Information of INVENTOR, CLIENT agrees to grant and assign, and does hereby grant and assign, to INVENTOR or its nominee, CLIENT’S entire right, title, and interest in and to any such improvements or invention…”

Confidential Agreements Download Section

The University of Utah Publishes two short ones:



Here is another one from


The theory is that NDA’s provide protection.  Some say they do not provide protection.  See article

Some say they do provide protection.

Some have a policy of not signing NDAs.  Angel and VC investors frequently do not sign them.

There are two schools of thought about disclosing information.  One is to disclose as little as possible, even at the cost of a few sales.  The risk of theft is greater than the risk of insufficient sales to sustain the business.  This school is practical with home run inventions.  Otherwise, less than one out of one hundred inventions succeed in the marketplace. The other school is that the risk of not haveing sales trumps the fear of piracy and that details that could be risky are shared to increase the odds of selling the product.

Nearly all inventions fall into the second category if one considers that over 99% of them fail.

99.8% fail.  Only 3,000 patents out of 1.5 million patents are commercially viable. “In truth, odds are stacked astronomically against inventors, and no marketing outfit can change them. ‘There are around 1.5 million patents in effect and in force in this country, and of those, maybe 3,000 are commercially viable,’ [Richard Maulsby, director of the Office of Public Affairs for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office], “Avoiding the Inventor’s Lament,” Business Week, November 10, 2005)  excerpted from

Categories: Sales, Tools


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The reviews, “how to”, and recommendations in this section help the venture inventor get the job done. The categories under tools:


Computer and Internet Services





Pens, Paper



Categories: Team, Tools


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Modified. Original from Iwan Gabovitch, Flickr

Image: Modified. Original from Iwan Gabovitch, Flickr

Some make the invention and then draw.  Others draw, and then make.  Either way, hiring someone else to do the work means that part of the vision making is left to the non-visionary.

A topological understanding of the tools of the trade.


Microsoft Office Professional

Quickbooks Professional

Sketchup Professional

Gadwin Print Screen

Pipeline Deals

Adobe Creative Cloud

Chrome Browser

FEMM 4.2


Ring Central




Various Open Source Programs

Categories: Software, Tools