Second Impressions…Protecting Your Awesome

Yeah…cause first impressions are so overrated.

Second impressions are ALWAYS the hardest.  Yeah it’s easy to be yourself the first time around and show off some talent, but what if you have to do it a second time or third…or for life?  This post is entirely focused at that second impression phenom.

So you have an idea, you’ve worked on that idea, and maybe have already built your prototype.  People around you are telling you how awesome your new invention is and that it’s the best thing since sliced bread.  These warm-hearted embraces and accolades from your buddies may be as awesome as kittens falling from the sky – your heart shudders a bit and your knees go weak from these cute and cuddly critters falling into your lap.  What isn’t coming in…is the greens.  Yeah your idea looks good on paper, but what are the next steps…because that second impression (the one to ACTUAL stakeholders) is crucial.  The first step…protect your idea from prying eyes.

Log Everything About Your Idea

While you are coming up with a way to build George Jetson’s spacemobile – you should probably take a minute to write all of this stuff down.  If you are like me (the artistic type) your brain is in about 400 different directions.  Your mind captures all of the information down in a mental note and then it stays there and eats your brains.  After a while though – those ideas stop being so hungry because you have work, family, school, parties…  What you NEED to do 100% is to write your ideas down!  Get a notebook (no not those loose leaf notebooks or even the ones with the perforated edges) and start writing that stuff down.  I actually recommend that you either go to Wal-Mart or Target and buy a “Composition Notebook” or if you are a little more trendy and wear those hipster jeans, skate on over to Barnes and Nobles or some trendy bookstore in your area and grab a Moleskin notebook.  Not gonna lie – probably the best notebook ever.

Alright well you have your idea…you have a book…I shouldn’t have to say this but did you grab a pen right?  Alright…Alright…I’ll wait…

So what do you need to write down?  Well I’ll tell you…and it’s not all writing mind you.  Be as detailed as possible.

  • What is your idea?
  • How did you come about thinking up this grand idea?
  • What does it do?
  • What does it look like? (This is that writing/non-writing part)
  • Does it help to solve anything? (Process, design, etc.)
  • Draw a picture…

When you draw the picture, people get so wrapped around the axle with statements like – “I can’t draw” or “Are you serious…I know what it looks like!”.  Seriously all you really need to do is draw a line/pen drawing of it.  Even a rough sketch that proves what it conceptually looks like.  If you can’t connect lines or know how to draw a box – try finding someone at a local college looking to do some extra work or something for a college project.  Could be free…could be really cheap.

Having this notebook and keeping it updated is your new-found purpose in life.  Your idea is now the boss of every pen stroke.  Log everything.  Updates to your idea, conversations with people about your idea, and anything else you can think of.  I would suggest to stop eating those chicken nuggets with that ketchup dripping off of them around this notebook.  Keep it clean, keep it professional.  It could come in handy not only as a log of everything “idea” related, but it could come in handy as a legal document if your neighbor has been using his binoculars – stealing your ideas.

The Prestige: Obscure Patent

The patent you will NEVER EVER EVER SEE…

So, I stumbled across a patent that you will most likely never see.  No it wasn’t through that website “Stumble” website that once you select a picture of a hot chick, you keep getting emails about recommendations that include other naked chicks in them.  Then your girlfriend or wife walks in while you are reading the email…things turn south…things starting going black…

Anyways.  Not like that’s ever happened to me.  But really…I found some pretty obscure tech that you are either going to die laughing once you see it…or try and figure out how to make it better.  It’s up to you.  While your friends laugh, you may just go off and be the next einstein.

You know those terrible glasses you wear?  The ones where they have the arms that wrap around your ears.  Oh and those terrible creases.  Awful.  Well that’s why they created contacts…but if you want to live life on the wild side…this is for you.

All you have to do is stick some adhesive magnetic stickers on your head and then let the glasses magnetically attach to them.  The idea is mildly brilliant except for the part where you have to remove the adhesive from your face or if it stops being sticky when you get wet or it gets incredibly hot and the sweat makes it come off.  It’s interesting because the entire patent uses arguments of things it’s trying to solve that could very well poke holes in it’s own design.  Hard to wear, cumbersome, problems with sweat during wear, etc.  Whoever designed this patent swallowed Star Trek’s Geordi La Forge’s style head first…

So if you want to look like this guy…you should try to find it in stores near you…(it’s not there…I already checked)



Second Impressions…Legal Protection

How do I protect my invention?  Do I need a patent or copyright or trademark? PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME!!!

You have your trusty notebook, but you really want to know more about having some LEGAL protection of your idea or invention.  Be careful because “ideas” can’t be patented.  Do your research…off you go!

Ok…by now your mind is racing and the mental breakdown begins as you slowly slide into a corner of weeping after looking at web page after web page with little more knowledge on the subject than when you started.

Well I’m here to help pull you up and slap you in the face and tell you to pull it together man!  For almost all of my questions, I frequent, and my web history proves it.  And so you don’t have to sit there wiping your tears from your eyes while searching on this amazing website, here is a great link on some quick and dirty facts about protecting your ideas.  This page will break it down for you step by step in the meaning of each in simple and applicable terms that will help to dry those tears.

Along with the tissues…I would recommend you do a quick search on an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).  People are weasels and if they have the money, they are more than capable of taking your idea and pushing it to the next level as if it were their own.  There are samples out there that you can format to fit your needs.  If you have the money…I would say try a lawyer or just leap over to

This is just a start – but hopefully it helps you get on your way to that second impression to stakeholders outside the circle of your buddies.