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This Invention: A Family Content Network

A journal, information and resources for establishing a Family Content Network, as I am doing - essentially a framework for managing all your Family's online assets and inventions for maximum exposure and revenue. This blog began as an inventor's journal, and retains the overall parent inventor's context and mindset.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

(27) Kid's Inventions

Been having lots of discussions with the Kids about the invention, the invention process, and how they can invent things. It's amazing, once you show them how, with an example underway, they'll start inventing all kinds of things. Every day, my kids tell me what they've invented, or want to invent. Therefore, we've come up with a couple of ideas, and I've told the kids to figure out how to solve the problem with an invention...perhaps this will lead to new inventions, or simply a great exercise in science, business, manufacturing, marketing, etc. for the kids.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

(26) Phase 1 Over

Got the bill from the designer for phase 1, $3800 for 55 hours of designing, making CAD files for the manufacturer, and all-in-all providing lots of good advice. Pretty good deal.

Phase 2 starts now - the files are on their way to an SLA manufacturer - I'm ordering 12 copies of each of the 4 parts, to test with. When I started this, I thought it would be 1 part. Now, because I'd like to avoid product liability lawsuits, the invention is not 1 part, but 4 parts, a couple of connectors, 1 more optional part (not yet designed), a fabric/velcro piece, another metal piece, and one final large piece. Ugh, hopefully the whole thing doesn't just crumble apart, unworkable, when fully assembled. Actually, I hope it will actually assemble at all.

(25) New patents

Boy, do I hate that freshpatents.com list I get each month....it's pretty nervewracking to scroll through nearly 50 patents published a month having to do with the same general domain as mine. I probably won't be surprised when my idea shows up in someone else's patent, seeing as how busy the world is around the 'wheels' domain. 46 patents published this month, everything from "wheel lock for casters" to "aircraft front nose landing gear and method of making an aircraft landing gear". Huh? I thought these things were invented already; probably the particular claim around a particular method wasn't - I can't wait until my patent issues, and all the 'design-arounds' that the copiers will immediately create. Sure.

Going nutty with affiliate banners now - who knew? You can plaster your website with all kinds of targeted ads from ebay, to amazon, clickbank and google. It does tend to clutter up the site fast, and all the ads aren't necessarily exactly what you're promoting. But, if done wisely and conservatively, the site can both look good, deliver your message, and lure a few people to clicking on ads that are actually useful. I made $1.67 this month from Google click-through's! Make sure to check out the ads on top of this blog!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

(24) Short Posts

Now that things are busy, I have to do 500 different things a week in 10 minute 'chunks'. Ergo, I'll need to post more, but shorter entries. The book will have to come later, now's the time for the soundbyte. It's all about the sale, after all.

(23) The family business

As the final tweaks to the CAD design drag on (stuff isn't prioritized necessarily the way you like it, when working with a P/T designer!), I made the mistake of thinking big. Sure there's a lot to do with launching a business and a new product, but what about launching a whole corporation? Where there's different lines of business (i.e. family businesses), all tied together under a common network of shared responsibilities, advertising, services, philanthropy, legal, facilities, marketing etc. It turns out our family actually has a lot of assets to be harvested and nurtured, somewhat related, that are in some manner already online (and offline) community businesses. This invention (and accessories), whizkids computer training (and internet safety spin-offs), real estate, security products, eBooks, paintings, single mom advice (and frugal!), website design, etc. Tie it all together with cross-linked advertisements, related blogs, group discussions, affiliate programs, and shared overhead/expenses, and you've got a (mostly online) family conglomerate. So I've started this (in addition to my day and night jobs), and it will deserve a blog in its own right. It'll be called KME (initials), a "Community Business Network".

I'll bet most families have a hoard of untapped skills, assets and initiative - as well as a hearty supply of employees, partners and volunteers! This effort can provide a working model.

Regarding the invention, I'm well into the website from which it'll sell - have signed up for Paypal and will sign up for a Visa Merchant account, to accept payments. The website template was just copied from another one of our websites....soon they'll all kind-of look the same, but it's easier to manage. I don't want to spend all day being a webmaster! Too many passwords.

I am also working on a "taxonomy", that is, a categorization of terms related to the product, the market, content types and the methods of using the invention; these categorized terms will make their way strategically onto the website, related blogs, and linked sites. It helps keep things organized. This should also help search engines understand the site(s) with a higher degree of certainty and relevance, and help also identify similar, related or strategic sites to/from which my site should link (either directly or as an affiliate). A network of sites and affiliates (i.e. advertising agreements with other niche merchants, or outfits like Ebay and Amazon) is thus created, around a common theme and terms, elevating (hopefully) the visibility of the network (and therefore funneling people who want to buy my stuff) to the target audience. This kind of taxonomy work is also helpful in creating the marketing messages and packaging for the new invention, and describing it to retailers (matching it to their products), manufacturers and press agents. A taxonomy can also help define the 'lifestyle' the product promotes.

How do you keep track of all these sites, you say? Use http://del.icio.us.

Who knew a single idea could blossom into not one business, but an entire network of businesses - all in the name of paying for the kids' college. Well, the living expenses, anyway, as we've already funded through pre-paid state programs the tuition. That's another whole story, as are the ridiculous and nonsensical ranges of construction mortgage quotes we got today for an ongoing construction project.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

(22) DOB: 2/1/2006

It lives! Finally have my hands on an actual Prototype model, made via a 3-D printer my designer had access to in his SolidWorks classes. It was made using the "SLS" method, or basically a kind of powder laid down, heated, and built up in the shape of the prototype (using the CAD .sla files). The model is kind of fragile, feels like a sandcastle. Very nice feeling to actually touch and feel the model. Good thing it was made, too, before spending $3K on the first run of 8 prototypes (using FDM or SLA); we discovered an opening wasn't quite large enough, a couple of minor tweaks.

Regarding Rapid Prototyping methods, I've got two quotes from 2 different kinds; FDM (basically ABS plastic pellets spit out like a bubblejet printer, building up the model), and SLA (basically layers of liquid urethane successively laid down, heated and fused). The FDM seems like it will be quicker and a bit more durable/possibly flexible (and a little more expensive), the SLA seems like it's harder but more brittle. This is base purely on Internet research and feedback from some Inventor discussions. I've got 4 pieces, 1 large and complex, 2 smaller, and 1 small and easy (i.e. 4 .sla CAD files). The FDM price is about $2200, and the SLA price is about $3100, for 8 prototypes of each of the 4 files. Some discounting for multiple units, but with SLA, this particular manufacturer had 'trays' set up in their machine for lots of 6, so anything over 6 and they need to use a new tray, with less discount. I'll probably try the FDM, first (which prints one at a time).

Now need to concentrate on the other pieces and parts, making sure to order each in sizes that match the final CAD files of the plastic parts. Certainly am spending extra money on little parts that end up not being the right size - lots of trial and error.