The recent trend is use “monetize” as if it were a verb. Thus, we hear catch phrases like; “monetize new technology”. It is a term that has been coined to obscure the simple nature of making money from a new idea. People use it either to hide the simplicity of the fact that we all need to earn a living, or to make believe it is a technical term so that people who use it will seem more intellectual than the rest of us.
Making money is not evil in itself. The very basis of the Patent itself was as Abraham Lincoln referred to it, the idea that a sole inventor could secure his rights to benefit from the product of his invention, and that society at large would benefit as a result of this incentive. Edison’s sale of the rights for the improved stock ticker was a big enough windfall to fund his first commercial laboratory in Menlo Park.
So the notion of inventing something and making a lot of money from it has been ingrained in American culture for the two centuries, from the cotton gin to the semiconductor. Only, the notion of a single inventor in a garage working on a new idea is no longer the norm. Worse still for the daydreaming novice, the was we do business has changed and the legal and technical complexity of bringing a new invention to market requires a huge learning curve for those willing to take the risk and gamble their future on the unproven new venture. Startups are a risky thing.
All of that notwithstanding, it is interesting to also understand that timing is everything. After you have perfected the technology, built and test the prototype, filed patents, done the market research, written the business plan, raised money, started manufacturing (which is it’s own can of worms), hired sales and marketing talent, and sold your product in the market, are you able to make a profit? There are a lot of skills required beyond the core issue of creating something useful and new.
So it’s not for the faint of heart. And, you can go broke doing it because there are a lot of ways to fail and only a few ways that lead to financial success for the inventor.
The connection in the world of mechatronics is amazing. Many technologies that were invented and demonstrated great breakthroughs, yet failed to become commercially successful.
More next week.