We suggested that the stranger come back the next day during regular hours and we would provide some advice and guidance, the contact info for our patent attorney, and wished him every success with his invention as he walked away thanking us profusely. We even offered him some of our chicken wings. We're not all bad, you see, we just don’t like being interrupted during the Bad Boys Bistro.
Now, this is not an uncommon story. We try to be helpful, but there are others out there that prey on the hopes and dreams of those with just one idea. I always say, “There is nothing more dangerous than a person with one idea.” It becomes an obsession, and they become fair game for those who might take advantage of them.
If you have invented a product, be very careful. Talk with an attorney about protection and be wary of paying anyone money for their assistance. There are people out there who will take your money in exchange for promises, but few who will get you the results you seek.
On occasion our front-yard gathering attracts passersby to stop. We are not generally very receptive to our private moment being interrupted, and this afternoon was no exception.
A square-jawed, brush cut, tatooed motorcyclist about 38 or so looked, pulled over, stopped, dismounted and with a folder and papers in hand came up the sidewalk and started to speak to us.
Before he could, I wanted to be sure he understood the ground rules here, “Make it quick!” (never one for niceties), I said and it set him back on his heels a bit, a bit put out. But the story took a positive turn. He had long wanted to come by and ask our advice about a game he had invented. Some ‘invention company’ was gladly taking his money, and he was beginning to think he was being had.
Millions of empty Star Wars action figure boxes were sold, and certificates redeemed for the toys. A work of genius and luck in equal measures.
Such innovation is rare, but I ran across another such example recently.
A smaller offshore company that we work with has had success running small TV campaigns for products that are not yet on the shelf, to build interest in the public for when the product does finally arrive in stores - in some cases not until the next year. This is crazy, unorthodox, ingenius, and it works.
Fresh new ideas, innovation, and invention are not just the province of tangible products. Facebook, Twitter, and the repackaged sub-prime mortgages that nearly sunk our economy are all examples of less tangible invention and innovation.
In the toy industry a number of examples of marketing innovation are worth noting. No doubt there are many more than I will lay out here.
The advent of TV advertising and the beginning of licensing with Daniel Boone long ago were huge toy marketing innovations.
There is good thinking, mediocre thinking, and bad thinking. Every once in a while one encounters that rarest of rare commodities, the result of diligence and hard work - brilliant thinking. This is the thinking whose clarity is so compelling as to immediately seem obvious.
This sort of thinking doesn’t just happen. It requires a great deal of work, sometimes a belief in the impossible, and sometimes a willingness to question one's own assumptions, observations, and conclusions. On occasion even we at Lund and Company have been fortunate enough to have done such thinking.
Like every other commodity there is the good, the mediocre, and the bad in the world of thinking thoughts that lead to decision making.
I do alot of thinking, though it might not be apparent to some. To stay in business in an ever-changing industry and ever-evolving world requires thinking a lot of diverse thoughts on any different subjects, leading to decisions and change, and ultimately to the survival of our business through the decades, come good years and bad.