Originally, I wrote that Inventing was like Marriage. Actually, it is a lot more like Dating.
Just to give you a little background. I got married in 1999, which means all my dating happened before texting, Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare. Back in the day I had a small Qualcomm phone that I ‘only used in emergencies’ like getting stuck in a flood on my way from State College to Pittsburgh. I checked my email in the computer lab once a day. I had an answering machine that I checked remotely
a lot obsessively. Caller ID was just recently discovered during these times!
If I liked a boy, I would have to arrange to accidentally bump into him at the bagel place or the local bar. I could not stalk his Foursquare, see where he was checking in, and hightail it over there while tweeting something cute and sassy. After a date, I needed to wait to hear from the guy via PHONE or call myself. There was no hiding behind an elusive text message or Facebook status.
Basically, it was the Stone Age. Everything seemed like it was painfully slow back then. There was no such thing as instantaneous and accessible, only waiting and waiting and waiting.
Such is the life of inventing. At every stage, there is waiting. First, there is pulling the idea out of one’s head and making it real. This is a LONG process whether you can do it yourself or need to work with someone. The product has to be right so there are many versions along the way. The time seems to go on forever in this stage. Kind of like looking and looking for the right mate. It could go on endlessly.
Second, there is testing if ‘it’ actually works, test marketing, and more testing after changes are made. Another infinite loop in the process with very little instant, fun, sassy communication except with the few people in your sworn to secrecy circle. No cutesy check-in or status update allowed.
Next, are all the little details. Colors, text copy and font, packaging, bar codes, final details. These little details remind of the dating rules. I have no idea who made them up, but they suck and are often stupid. I happen to like one wording and set of text copy, but someone says ‘NO’ … it is a bad idea just because this is the way it is done.
Before you even get to the courting stage in which you present the product to licensers or retailers (depending on what fits your fancy), there are prototypes, potential manufacturing quotes, making sure everything is just so, and crafting your pitch. Um – remind you of anything else? As in primping, waxing, trying on outfits, and thinking of what to talk about.
Although I married my husband in 1999, I am back in the dating world. The wide world of inventing is just like single years of waiting, primping, waiting some more, and checking emails
a lot obsessively.
Please hurry up and call. Someone. Anyone.