This guy’s a clown…. and we’re his circus

Okay, so you may or may not know there our people in our industry who manufacture what they hope we will consider leadership roles as a way to further their personal gain.

Warren%20TuttleOne such person is Warren Tuttle. Warren has held the position of Board President of the United Inventors Association (UIA) with an iron grip for years now. I suspect because in his “day job” he makes money licensing products for inventors. Having this “position” appears to give him, to the unsuspecting, a level of legitimacy in our industry.

Well, I can say only a few things in life with certainty. One, that Warren (and the UIA) sold us out as an industry years ago, and two. That the UIA is a scam organization focused on lining the pockets of people like Warren Tuttle, and not on the good of the inventors they purport to help.

That brings me to this. An email recently sent out by Warren where he egotistically invites the presidential candidates to have him explain the plight of the inventor. Warren of course is not an inventor himself, and neither are the majority of people involved in the UIA… so how exactly does that work?

Here are a couple of key paragraphs:

“As President of the United Inventors Association I would like to coordinate a meeting with the transition team of whichever candidate wins in November and explain the inventor position and why narrowly focused patent reform can be responsive to the big tech company needs without destroying economic incentive for independents and micro entities…..”

“My interest in facilitating an open discussion is not limited to presidential candidates and their transition teams. I am happy to coordinate the same discussion with the staffs of those running this Fall for House and Senate seats as well, and if any candidates themselves are interested in the inventor perspective we would be honored to provide our full, fair and honest assessment of the trials and tribulations that stand between invention and commercial success…..”

WOW – get a load of the ego on this clown!

If this was simply a self promotional attempt to seem legitimate that would be one thing. But unfortunately it’s not.

What this is, is an over inflated ego doing the bidding of the lobby group he sold the UIA out two several years ago. Attempting to drag us as an industry into a food fight between big business and a clearly broken USPTO.

So, this is my point. We as an industry have to figure out a way to represent ourselves. We don’t need any more Warren Tuttle’s exploiting us, we don’t need organizations like the UIA selling us out to lobby groups so they can feel important. We don’t need “educational foundations” like the UIA masquerading as helping the inventor, when they really know nothing about what we do, or the challenges we face.

What we need is an industry focus on real education and the backbone to see people and organizations like the UIA for what they’ve become – predators.

Mark Reyland

Now that’s a big ass

I know, it sounds like a funny question for inventors to ask, but in a way we ask it all the time – or at least we should.

Product inventors solve problems – the bigger the problem the better.

Maybe we invented a household cleaner, a garden tool, even a kitchen gadget. These are all great problems solving products because we can actually see them working.

What happens when the benefit is not so obvious, when it’s subjective? What about when the product is designed to do nothing but make the consumer feel better about themselves? Maybe a bra that makes your boobs look larger? Maybe one of those magic little pills that makes your “manhood” bigger….guaranteed!

After all, buying is about emotion. The consumer uses that emotion as the catalyst for making the purchase.

We’ve all see a product that evoked such a strong emotion we simply had to purchase it. Using this emotion like some kind of hi-octane racing fuel, we immediately start to formulate a logical list of justifications why we should make the purchase – justifications that are always driven by the product in some way making us feel better. The endorphins in our brain are released, we go to our happy place, and we start creating the mental association between the product and feeling good. For the manufacturer it’s all down hill from there.

Clothing is a perfect example of how this process works. We all have jeans hanging in our closet or folded neatly in our drawers, and they all function the same way.

For most of us the buying catalyst for a clothing purchase is how we feel the clothing makes us look – not the fact that it keeps out cold, or wind, or rain. In fact, those are expected values, and the consumer actually gives the manufacturer little credit for the product performing those functions.

In contrast, we give the manufacturer great credit for style, color, and how it makes us feel. These are the value benefits the manufacture must use to motivate us as consumers. This set of values are very subjective, and the hardest consumer values to nail down in a product – if you get them wrong you have no sale.

When it comes to that really cool pair of jeans it often boils down to one simple premise – the big ass effect. If I as a manufacturer can convince you the pants you’re holding will make your big ass look smaller, then you feel better about yourself and you will buy my product.

At the end of the day you still have a big ass, you just feel better about it in my jeans.

Don’t underestimate the power of your emotional consumer. It’s the emotion your product stirs up that will lead to the logical justification of their purchase.

Mark Reyland

Watch out for ASOTV inventor scams

We have a growing problem in the inventor industry, and although it’s been around for a long time, in the last few years it has gotten out of control.

I want to say something very important – DO NOT PAY PEOPLE TO SEND YOUR IDEAS TO ASOTV COMPANIES! – I’m not sure I can say it any clearer.

ASOTVThis growing trend in the industry to have you “represented” by someone who can get your idea shown to these companies for either a fee, or in exchange for part of your royalty is 100% scam.

Let me explain how the ASOTV industry is structured.

You have three basic layers.

First, what I call the “Manufacture to Market” companies who can take your idea, invest their money, and actually design, develop, creat the TV spot, and have retail distribution – these companies will NEVER ask you for money.

Second, the “Posers” These are actual companies who appear to be manufacturer to market companies, and they will tell you they are actual ASOTV companies. The reality is they may do a single part of the process (like filming the spot, or hosting some online search) and then they send your idea to a real Manufacture to Market ASOTV company. Posers will have no shortage of praise to feed your ego and will often have some upfront fee and require part of any royalty you may recieve.

Third, are the “Scam Companies” These are individuals or companies that purport to work for the ASOTV companies. For a fee and/or part of your royalty they will get your idea in front of the companies “you could never reach” – that is simply a lie.

The latest scam within this group of cons is the “Paid by the company” scam – they actually skim off a % of your royalty on the front of the deal, telling you the royalty was less than it actually was. This approach is what they mean by “paid by the company” and “free” to the inventor. In many years of working in this industry I have NEVER seen a legitimate ASOTV company hire anyone to find them products who was not an actual employee – they simply don’t work that way.

So, let’s get you some links to legitimate ASOTV Manufacture to Market companies who are more than willing to look at your ideas and if they like them make you the same deal they would make to one of those poser or scam companies.

Please remember – I’m not endorsing any of these companies – you should thoroughly read the Terms & Condition before submitting your idea, and if you have questions ask an attorney. Below are three links to submission pages you can use yourself to submit your ideas directly to legitimate ASOTV companies.

These next three links are real ASOTV companies, but for some reason they have chosen to use Invention Home as their submission program. You will need to opt-out of the tiny little box they have checked for you that authorizes an “affiliate” to contact you – or in real language – for Invention Home to try and sell you stuff.

It saddens me when I meet inventors who have no idea they are being scammed by these people posing as something they clearly aren’t.

If you know what questions to ask, and how to decipher the answers maybe you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and hope the next time you come up with that great new ASOTV idea.

Mark Reyland

Dude….that patent is a sucker’s bet

“My name is Mike and I’ve been wanting to be a recognized inventor probably since I first read up on Benjamin Franklin. I finally built up the courage to get one of my ideas patented. I have everything in place but the initial fee. This could change my families lives’. I work as a grocery clerk, and 1500 it’s not something I have in a rainy day jar. Believe me, I would want nothing more than to have paid out of pocket with a smile on my face. Since I have a deadline of next Friday.”

Gambling-ProblemWell Mike it’s like this. You should probably save your money. Patents, while useful in some cases to independent inventors are a sucker’s bet for most.

You see, most inventors work with relatively simple retail products. Products, who’s development cycle is (or at least should be) far faster than the patent approval cycle – a process that can take up to four years.

Add to that the fact that you’re scraping up pennies to get a patent. Paves the way for the assumption that funds to maintain, and certainly defend the patent may be hard to come by. After all, your patent (should you be one of the less than 50% of applications to award) will go abandon if the maintenance fees are not paid, and getting a patent without the funds to defend it is just stupid.

So, all of that said – I would shy away from your patent objective and focus what resources you do have on learning how to actually be a professional inventor. It may take some time, but in the end it will take very little money.

Once you have learned the trade, mastered the art of divorcing the emotion, and formulated a process that works for your situation, You’ll be on your way.

Mark Reyland

You have to “Tune” your product

The sector of inventing that works in retail products (and it’s actually just one sector of the industry) has a tendency to fixate on the “Product” itself – and maybe that makes sense. Or does it?

ngffghYou see, try as you may, you can never actually control a “product” itself, because a product is actually just a byproduct of a process.

Think of it this way. You have a radio. It has knobs for Base, Treble, Balance, and so on. No matter what song is playing, how well you adjust these knobs will dictate the quality of the sound you hear.

Like the radio, developing a product is like tuning the knobs. You adjust the knobs of “quality” “size” “cost” “color” and “function” (to name a few) and the result changes as you make each adjustment. The result is the byproduct of the process itself.

That’s the easy part, the hard part is to understand that just like the radio, not everyone in the room will like how you tuned the knobs. Some will like more Base, while others prefer more Treble.

In the end all we can really do is attempt to tune the product to its widest range of audience by understanding the knobs and what effect they have on the final sound.

Mark Reyland

What’s your story?

Everyone loves a good story, especially an inventor. This is something that’s been hardwired into the human brain, from ancient times to modernity. In ancient times, they had epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey. In modern times, we have TV shows, movies, paperbacks and ebooks of all kinds. However, you might think that stories are only meant for entertainment and don’t have any place in business. This is not true. Even when it comes to business, you can’t underestimate the importance of a story.

tell-your-business-storyStories and Advertising

Think about the last advertisement you saw on TV. Wasn’t there a small story woven into it? Maybe it was an advertisement for shampoo in which a girl was complaining about how her hair was totally unmanageable. But then she started using a certain shampoo and voila, she now has amazing hair. This isn’t a very complicated plot but it’s divided into a “before” and “after,” which is the essence of a story.

Your Own Story: Before and After

Now think back to your own story. Doesn’t it also have a “before” and “after” element? The “before” section is from when you had not yet started your business. Maybe you were working at a job and were unhappy. Or maybe you saw that there was something about the industry you worked in that had to be changed. It’s that moment when you decide to change something and better it that appeals to people when you’re telling a story.

Your Own Story: Overcoming Obstacles

Once you decided to make a change, it’s possible that success just fell into your lap but it’s much more likely that you had to work hard for it and faced a number of obstacles. This is the kind of thing that keeps people wondering what’s going to happen next. How did you overcome these obstacles? Did you stick to your guns? Did you keep going? Were you obstinate, pushy or just plain lucky?

Going from Impersonal Brand Name to Real Person

People want to know what you were going through and how you felt at each stage of your journey. This is because this helps them to identify with you. When you start selling the story of your own successes, you don’t remain a business or a brand name anymore. You become a real person. You come to life. And people see that they have a lot in common with you. As a result, they’re more likely to gravitate towards your product or service as well.

Whether you’re using your story in advertisements, on social media or on your website, keep in mind that it’s a powerful tool.

Read more about this and other related topics on

Mark Reyland

My sales rep sucks….

Or do they?

I hear all the time from inventors about how their product failed because the rep couldn’t sell it to retailers. The blame quickly falls on the rep’s shoulders, although some times that may be true, more often than not there is a much deeper problem.

ghirlWhen I first started inventing retail products I had a rep tell me “Give me something I don’t have to defend and I can sell it” I came to depend on these words as a guiding principal in both the invention and development phases of every product I’ve ever worked on.

Many inventors simply fail to understand that way back in the invention stage is where you need to start thinking about the sale of your product to retailers.   The materials, the size, the manufacturing are all relevant factors to price, display, shipping, and the many other issues your sales rep will face later. You simply have to take these factors into account and remove as many of those future objections early on. To do that you have to know what the reps face when they meet a buyer – and to know that, you will need to do your homework.

Ask a rep what it’s like to meet with a buyer, what kind of questions they ask, the things they like and don’t like. Ask them a million questions so you understand how to best invent your products in a way the sales rep won’t have to defend them later.

After all, you don’t want some sales rep looking at your product and saying “my inventor sucks”

Mark Reyland

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