Is Hillary Clinton really cracking our nuts?

Most inventors think of retail product inventing as an exercise in utilitarian problem solving, and in many ways it is. However, there is an entire sector of the product inventor spectrum dedicated to inventing nothing but non-utilitarian products meant to simply make us smile. Untitled-1

I’m of course referring to the Novelty sector of product inventing.

Useless, wacky, mind numbing trinkets holding no particular value in our lives, yet accounting for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales each year.

“The advertisement says: An amusing political novelty product. A fun and easy way to crack your nuts. Now you can easily crack even the toughest nuts with Hillary’s stainless steel thighs.”

No-matter your politics, and understanding we will never be able to erase the mental image of Hillary Clinton cracking our nuts – we smiled, and for just a moment we felt happy. (if not a wee-bit nauseous)

The point is. This momentary feeling of happiness, an ability to let go for a moment and shed the worries of our day is why the novelty sector works in the first place. It’s also a lesson for those inventing outside the novelty sector that even “useless” will sell if you can communicate to your consumer a feeling of happiness.

Will your product invention make people smile?

Mark Reyland

An Inventor? No, that’s just crazy Timmi

Well believe it or not, there are crazy people in the inventor industry. I know, it’s hard to wrap your mind around, but it’s true. Here’s and example of what I’m talking about.

I received this “notice” from the owner of a Facebook page catering to patents and inventor discussion. Frankly I have no idea who this guy is but he appears to be pretty angry at me.inventor

“hi Mark,

I am writing regards to some of your posts in our patenting inventors group.

There is an overwhelming majority of your posts, that are purely to draw members to your own group and website. Such behavior is, as you know, frowned upon, and called spam.

My group is senior to yours, and it may have been easier to just contact me, and I would gladly have made you moderator of our group, rather than you having built another.

I feel that the membership numbers are too small, and having too many groups of the sort only dilutes membership, and helps no one. Less members in each one’s groups, less members in the same place sharing information.

If you have some interesting videos or inventions or contributions, you are welcome to share in our group. But you may no longer partake in flagrant outright self-promotion, because it has been just too predominant on our wall and just becomes pollution.

Do it again, and I’ll send people to pollute the wall of your group, so you can see how you like it.


I’m sure Timmi has all the best intentions rattling around in that head of his – even if he sounds a little unstable expressing them.

I share Timmi’s communication with you for two simple reasons. One, please make sure if you are representing the rest of us as the inventor community you don’t threaten people or sound like a nut-job. That should be simple from now on – just ask yourself – do I sound like Timmi?

Secondly, and far more importantly, The Daily Inventor Education Blog is not self promotion. I’ve gotten up every morning for over eight years and attempted to offer something to our community that may help people struggling with their ideas and inventions.

I’m an inventor who took many years learning every step of the product inventing process. I’m proud of my knowledge and experience, and I’m very good at what I do – but I have nothing to sell, and with tens of thousands of readers a month I have to believe the information on this blog is relevant to someone.

People like Timmi really make me mad. They want to play like they’re helping inventors by creating some group on Face book or LinkedIn, but in the end they could care less. What they really want is the endorphin of power. They want to stand up in a community that rarely challenges it’s leaders and feel important.

Well Timmi – you’re important – there, I said it. But not because you help inventors (that’s pretty much just your scam) but because we’re all important. We all matter, and we should all be proud of ourselves and the accomplishments we make to society.

Mark Reyland

This is the oldest inventor story in the book

I receive emails all the time from fly by night invention companies either peddling their services or attempting to bolster their credibility by marching some inventor out front with their wiz-bang new product.

manOne recent email showcased a product from what appears to be a very nice man who invented a product named “Sleeve-O”

“I am a 29 year high-end residential tile installer in the Chicago area. In an effort to transition out of my career as a tradesmen I am trying new ventures and one of them is Sleeve-O.

Sleeve-O on its own isn’t anything more than a large napkin ring but once you slip it onto the end of a cardboard coffee cup sleeve it transforms into a cylindrical flying marvel”.

This is a very common situation actually. You find yourself wanting to make a change, you watch way too much Shark Tank, and the next thing you know you’ve spent thousands of dollars hooked up with some invention company that promises the world will love your great idea as much as you do.

It of course never really happens the way you envisioned, and eventually you have a garage full of “product”, an empty bank account, and a broken dream.

Chances are very high that this is the future for our 29 year old tile installer. But it doesn’t have to be your future.

Start with the basics of understanding why a consumer product works in the first place. Learn the tools needed to mold an idea into a viable product. Use those processes to honestly evaluate your idea. If it passes that test then shape it into something that makes sense in the user’s world.

No matter how much we want our tile installer friend to hit it out of the park. The number of consumers who want a product like this are very small. The number of those willing to pay for it is even smaller – and the number of times those people are in the same room with Sleeve-O, a coffee cup sleeve, and have the time and inclination to play a game of catch, is so small it could never mathematically support a market worth chasing.

All that said – we like to support each other, so take a moment and watch the Sleeve-O video. Who knows, you may even want to order one, after all, I bet they make great stocking stuffers!

Mark Reyland

“Nothing” is what most inventors have


I’m a guy who helps inventors. Being a guy who helps inventors you can imagine most of the conversations I have with people I meet start off just like this cartoon. “I have a …..”.

An exuberant, almost animated fountain of enthusiasm excited to tell me (or anyone who will listen) all about their life changing, world tilting, money printing idea for a new product.

Much like this cartoon, most of those conversations evolve very quickly into the long list of things the inventor needs (or at least thinks they need) to ensure this whirlwind of sudden success – and you guessed it again, although I learned long ago to be gentle about expressing it, in my mind I’m thinking the same thing – what you have is really nothing.

Okay, before you throw yourself off a shoebox thinking, Oh my god, when I talked to Mark was he thinking that about my idea? No big mystery there – I probably was – but that’s okay.

You see, this is how we learn to be inventors. We take the opinions of others and combine them into a stew of experience. Each opinion, each crumb of knowledge a single ingredient into what at the end of a lifetime of inventing should serve up to be a might tasty meal of success.

So keep cooking people…. you may have nothing now, but one day, some day, you’ll have everything!

Mark Reyland

Inventor’s patent gets ripped off!

They say imitation is the purest form of flattery. Maybe, but when an inventor’s product gets knocked off it doesn’t feel very flattering.

rtyuiRecently an inventor posted on the Daily Inventor Education Blog Facebook group ( about having trouble chasing down all the companies who had knocked off her invention and were infringing on her patent.

This nice lady had invented a great little consumer product, worked hard to get some distribution, and paid a lot of money for a patent.

While she should be enjoying her success. Instead she’s spending all her free time attempting to defend her patent on her own because she can’t afford her $400.00 an hour attorney.

Luckily in our industry this doesn’t happen as much as you may think. Most inventors get patents on product inventions no one cares enough about to knock off. In fact, the vast majority of independent products inventors will end up with a crappy product, a worthless patent, and an empty bank account.

So what can you do when you’re that rare exception?

Well, if you have a strong patent and you find someone knocking off your product. The first thing you should do is spend a little money on an attorney. Not necessarily to fight the infringer in court, but to draft a Cease & Desist letter that does three main things.

  1. Using facts not emotion, explains to the infringer why you feel they are infringing.
  2. Directs the infringer to stop selling the infringing product in the marketplace.
  3. Offers the infringer an opportunity to license your patent.

We live in a free-market economy and just as you had to do the math to decide if taking the product to market could be profitable. The infringer has to do the math to see if throwing away their investment, risking a costly lawsuit, or simply paying you a royalty makes more economic sense.

Tens of thousands of inventors run out and get patents each year without understanding one simple fact: As much as it costs to get a patent, it will always cost you far more to defend it.

So, next time you want to run to the patent office waving your checkbook around, think for a moment what you’d do if you were in this lady’s shoes.

Mark Reyland

Inventors: Click Here to learn

We’re inventors, we think outside the box, we dream big, and we see things differently than most people – but we don’t know how to do everything (even know we like to think we do) and for those times when we find ourselves stumped we need places to find the answers.

FH4QRTLO85EZ0R6LDH_LARGEI think most inventors turn to google, or YouTube to find a quick answer for their mental logjam, and most of the time we can find the solution we’re looking for -but not always.

When I can’t find the answer in all the usual places, I turn to my old friend Instructables.

You see, Instructables ( it’s an open forum about how to do things – step by step instruction posted by a community of people who have experience doing exactly what you’re trying to do.

Take a look at Instructables. You’ll find a lot of creative people and some really cool instructions on how to do everything from making a pie to building a prototype.

Mark Reyland

The Selfie Spoon invention rocks!

Not really, this invention is dumb as dirt. That is, if it were an invention at all. It’s not of course, it’s a publicity stunt designed to pump up sales to what I suspect is a sagging brand.

bigKnown in the world of advertising as Brand Premiums, the Selfie Spoon follows a long line of wacky giveaway “products” designed to catch your attention and get you to think about, in this case Cinnamon Crunch cereal.

“Everyone loves a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but if you don’t post it on social media, did it really happen?” says a commercial for the product. “Problem solved: Introducing Cinnamon Toast Crunch Selfie Spoon. That’s right. It’s a selfie stick with a spoon on one end.”

Even with statements like those, and “Gone are the days of eating a delicious breakfast and all your friends not knowing about it. So why choose between eating or posting? With the selfie spoon, you can do both — in a flash.” General Mills doesn’t realistically think most people will use the Selfie Spoon to snap themselves eating their cereal – but they sure hope they do.

In fact, they hope they have a pretty face, a huge smile, the box in the picture, and eagerly post it all over the world of social media – and for some that’s exactly what they’ll do.

No matter what happens, there are no doubt people out there who will assume Selfie Spoon is a legitimate invention. Staring in disbelief, shaking their heads as they ask the most famous question of all, to the entire inventing community: “What were you thinking?”


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