Friday, December 5, 2008

Are companies still looking for new product at such a bad time?

At such a bad time, retailers need outstanding product more than ever. They might see their existing product decline in sales, they would need something better to stimulate buyers to buy.
Of course better can have many different means. If a product can save user money, great. Save time, not as attractive as saving money at this moment; but also great... that's why companies still looking for new product, maybe more than ever. However, they also have to be stingy on development budget. The lower the cost the better. That's why EE likes Holly's bed skirt shoe storage so much. The development cost is really close to nothing.
So it's good time and also a bad time. They are looking harder but they also examining harder.

My friend, who is a channel guy at consumer electronic field, told me that existing merchant are either dying off or just enduring. Some of them can survive 2-3 years like this if without much activity. Some may close their eyes but most of them still keep their eyes open for opportunity as always. However they won't make any move unless they see a real exciting opportunity.

So if you see market being very quiet now, that's because they are all in this looking mode. Small opportunity won't interesting them anymore.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Florida Tampa trip

Well, My original plan for this trip was went out Monday but encountered dense fog that morning. So I left Tuesday morning for Tampa. Since the serious delay, US airway gave me an upgrade to First class seat (1A). Therefor I got to enjoy an nice fly. I will update blog more for this trip.
Also I have my daughter's photo in my office, just to remember the tough time we are having.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am at Billings Montana

On a business trip, that is.
I saw vast vast of land from airplane but haven't see snow except on high mountain (Nov now
) It's beautiful and peaceful here. Gasoline price i s below $2. I stay at Residence Inn studio suit, nice and spacious room.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My thought on how to win a Live Product Search

How to win a Live Product Search

One word answer: Quality.

The quality of your invention, the quality of competition and of course the quality of your presentation will determine your chance of winning.

First of all, Let’s talk about the quality of competition. Let’s face it; you can’t control the quality of competition. I think the chance to win a live product search is much lower compare if you pitch it to a company that is willing to review your idea. EN disclosed that at Spenser’s gag search, they received hundreds ideas and sent over 40 ideas (G7) for Spenser’s to review. Needless to say, they are all out standing ideas. At end, Spenser’s picked only 3. That means the other near 40 good ideas was rejected. Among them, probably over half of them would be accepted if they approach to a company alone. So, see what competition can do to you? So if you have an idea that has been rejected at this last stage like I do, don’t give it up, pitch it to other companies and I would say you have a very good chance of winning something.

Now the quality of your idea. I can’t teach anyone on how to produce a high quality invention. Heck, I can’t even tech you how to invent. creativity is a special talent given by God, in my opinion. But once you have an idea, you want to ask yourself if this is high quality invention. Even if it is, while you still have time, keep improve it. Add more innovation on to it. Just think how precious your $25 submission fee is; don’t let it go wasted. No to mention how precious an opportunity that fits your idea is.

The last part is the quality of your presentation. Don’t believe what EN member told you about they are experts of invention business and they can spot good invention at just one glance. The baseline is you still need to present your idea to win. You need to put down description and prepare material to put together an entry. Think about who is going to read your presentation. Think that you are presenting to company executive and marketing people. You are not writing a patent application nor tech spec. Make sure your idea description can hook them up in just first two lines. If you have a presentation material (photo, video). Get them on hook within their first look. No body likes to read boring stuff, even engineers like interesting reading. Just leave enough detail for them to figure out how your stuff works. They will have time to figure it out. But for executives, you only have few seconds before they decide your fate

Friday, November 7, 2008

Have you been asked for prototype?

As an experienced inventor, I must advise new inventor to proceed with prototype request carefully. You wan to know who is asking for prototype and why?
I had been asked for prototype from an invention company for 3 times. They looked at my invention ideas and told me they would need a prototype. I said no problem and turn around built one myself for them, for all 3 different ideas. And they took a look and said No on all 3 cases after they looked at my prototype, and their comments were like, this market doesn't need another one of these. Come on, they could have told me so after the looked at my drawing and before I built my prototype. Later on I found out they also have prototyping service. They just want to sell you their service, and not really interesting at your idea. So be very careful, don’t believe everything people tell you. Be aware of praises that came too easy, find a reputable reviewer… There are a lot of sharks out there, they all want your money but doesn’t really want to help you.

The photo is a working cupholder prototype, despite the look, it really work great.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I got a G7 from EN and I voted this morning

I voted this morning. I arrived at poll before it opens, around 6:50. A small line was there yet everything went pretty quickly. BTW, this is the first time I vote in US. Last election I didn't even vote. If I voted last time, my vote would go to George Bush anyway... so less regret.... and Yes on 8

And when I turned into office this morning, I checked my EN Live product search dash board. One of my invention got G7, which means it will be presented to manufacture, in this case Spencer's.
I am very happy, I think this will be a good day. Praise the Lord.

Monday, November 3, 2008

With Daughter at local park

I spent time with daughter at local park. A big park length about a mile. Here is some photo I like to share.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In rememberance of Daigwa

Daigwa (if you read Chinese: 呆瓜) died last month at my brother's house at LA. He lived with me for over 12 years and I gave him to my brother at my wife's late pregnancy months. Before that Diagwa had also live with my brother back at Taiwan for 8 years so he was still among family. During his last two years, I only saw him 4-5 times and his condition had became worse and worse due to old age. He practically lost his sight and almost lost every tooth at his last 3 months.

I have one invention submitted to Edison Nation and I like to contribute that invention to him. The morose of his condition create the need for this product. I can't show my invention yet but I would like to show one of his photo here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to make PC fan less noise

I attached a additional fan blade on original fan module to increase areo-resistance . This fan was noisy since it's open chassis. Now is much much quieter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The place I work

My work place has many TVs, there is even one on my desk. Of course, there are also 3 PCs on my desk. My place is a mess.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My brag, this is also a very good design in US story.

Do you know who built the very first US made CD-ROM? Not one, but a small team, and I was one of team. Time was 1993, at then, all CD-ROM were made from Japan. They were either 1x or 2X and they had a ribbon cable connect to a AT card and plug in to an AT bus slot (if you remember what that was.) Anyway, we were a small company at Sunnyvale California (yes, Silicon valley) and had a CD-Rom decoder chip. We teamed up with Philips and use their mechanism (a 2X drive) and built a very first CD-ROM outside of Japan. I was one of three programmers working on the 8032 processor. The story didn’t just end at here. A year later, we had the world’s first CD-ROM decoder chip that uses IDE interface. (The ribbon cable connects to your had drive) So we saved a card and the whole world converted over. For couple of years, every signal CD-ROM made on this earth has our chip in them. And that’s also the time period CD-ROM became popular.

The picture on left is me (Boy was I young?) The right picture is entire s/w team.

Daddy's little girl is 2

Elva just turned 2. Here are some pictures.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The secret of becoming an Everyday Edison?

I am selected as an Everyday Edison at their season 3 casting call. And I am working with them for my inventions at their innovation station and I had my successes and failures. Although I may not the best person to provide tips on how to become a winner for their show or product search; I do have my own observations and conclusions. I can post it on Edison Nation or inventorspot yet I choose not to. I like to keep a lose secret so I don't create strong competitor out there. So if you see this, just keep it to yourself and use it for yourself.

First, let’s look their official selection requirements:
1) The product/idea must have mass market appeal.
2) The product/idea must have novelty in order to get IP protection.
3) The product/idea must be able to be developed within a year in their workshop.

I can’t stress enough on how important requirement 1 and 2 are; yet I am more interesting at how requirement 3 will work out.

They said a year; in fact it’s more like 3 months at engineer department, and 3 months at marketing to manufacturing. They spent 6 months on selection process itself and left very limited time to develop each product. One observation from Stephen Key, a famous inventor is quoted and also at link

I noted that the products shared several important qualities. Each had a retail price that fell between $20 and $50. Additionally, only a single product was electronic. The remainder were extremely low-tech. EE’s development team (which is also featured on their website) simply doesn’t possess engineering skill needed to design and produce high-tech products. So, it appears clear that a product that is too expensive, too inexpensive, or too technological will not be selected.

Yes, I also noticed electronic is not their strong suit, they are good about wood or plastic, maybe some basic electrical; but not electronic. If there are some existing parts they can buy then maybe they can make it.
But why the $20-$50 comment? I think the reason is that they may become the vender of that product to their retailer customer. If a product only sells for $5 dollars in a mass production, do you think they want to go in and handle that kind of scale to make it economic sound? They are shooting for high profit margin and good profit in small to media quantity production. It would be best without any major investment.

And there is another piece of comment also from Steven:

The main focus of the TV show appears to be demonstrating the complex process that is required to bring a product to market, and especially how difficult it can be. EE wants to go look good – if you bring them a product that is already fairly finished or polished, part of the glory they seek is diminished. They want ideas they can actually mold and work on.

I think it’s also true for the TV show, but I am not so sure about live product search , but we will see.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What my family think

My parents have always believed in me; my in laws believed me until my inventions actually brought finical loses to my family, then they think inventing may not be the best path for me and their daughter. However they manage not to say anything strong to against it.
I had shown several ideas which I thought were good among our family members, some of them would say “The idea is great, but don’t spend any of your own money on it. Find someone to support you.” Well, I know that if you don’t support your own idea then no one will support it, yet I still appreciate the fact that didn’t say anything major negative about it. When they do say something negative I pay a lot of my attention to what they say. Then I either improve my idea or simply put them to back burner (a very slow back burner). I’ve learn only invest on my best horses.
Selected by Everyday Edison really mean a lot to me, I start to win back some lost support from within our family. My wife has started to introduce me as an inventor to her friends. It was like a family secret before. I am really happy and I praise the Lord.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

To give up ideas

Now it's a good time to talk about what to give up. One can come up a good idea, very twisty and does something magically to satisfy his needs.
That’s great. If no one shares his opinion, he can always keep it to himself and use it for himself only. But is that really your goal? If your goal is to license your idea or to commercialize your product, which means to sell many, you really need to think about whether others will share your opinion. Do they have same need? Probably they do. How many of them? How much are they willing to pay to satisfy that need? (Here we are not merely talking about money; Some time inconvenient to keep/to carry some extra dead weight also counts) Can a manufacture fulfills such a need under cost… The last point really some experience to make the judgment call.
But most inventors seem have problem to accurate estimate the most fundamental question of people’s need and willingness to pay. They seem often over estimate the need and willingness of consumers in favorite of their ideas. Can you blame them, we often made same mistake as they do. That’s why we need help from others to do that estimation for us.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back to work

I get at least one new job offer already (praise the Lord) and I am going back to work, but I am not giving up inventing.
I call what I would like to be doing: “sustainable inventing.”
I just like to invent new things which I do best and have little time or resource to slow down and develop ideas into real products, which involve manufacture, marketing …. I leave them to someone else.
I know by doing it this way, it would be hard to find people with same enthusiastic to be behind some of my ideas. But thanks to internet, this world has become flatter and this has just become a little bit easier. And if I can’t find people with same enthusiastic with me, that may be a good thing, means maybe I should recheck my idea. Nevertheless, don’t let one idea stop the others from coming.
I don’t mind that I have to keep a day job so I can keep inventing, at least it force me to get out of house and get more stimulations along the way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SF Zoo day

Today we went to SF zoo, and few pics on her trike

Monday, July 28, 2008

My wife and daughter

In local mall, Elva in a rental cart which look like a fire engine.
And she likes Toy cars, she has a red Radio Flyer at home and a photo she will hate me for.

NY Times: LED bulb's time has come

NY Times has an article at here, it says LED bulb's time has come. Do you believe that? I do.
My invention has been picked by EE as Top 25 and they are going to help me commercialize it since they can't make it in their workshop. We did another video recording at pass Saturday at San Jose Teach museum. Lord, please help us to glory your name.

Monday, July 21, 2008

God is the greatest inventor

God is the greatest inventor of all. He invented us, didn’t he? Put that aside, I know all my inspiration comes from Him. For those who knows me, I am known as a Christian and having many ideas (a.k.a inventor). Maybe you don’t know that I pray for having good ideas. I, too, sometime wonder the ideas are come from myself or are godsend. I prayed to have that answer. I said: “ God, please stop giving me any idea, I want to see if I can come out any idea by myself.” For over a month, I can’t think of any good idea, all I have come out were craps. Then I pray: “God, I know that I can’t come out good idea by myself, please help me.” Strange enough, good ideas keep coming to me. I have done it more than once and God allowed me to know that for sure. Praise the Lord for He is great.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quit drink Coca

From McDonald's too sweet "sweet tea" to my self made lemonade. I found myself doesn't really need to drink cola or other soft drink in summer days. All I need is something cold, some cool flavor. Lemonade is perfect for the job. I haven't drink Coca for some time now. Last time I was drink it was having a piece of pizza..... (Yeah, that's still no match) I am just putting Coca next to my lemonade pitch for the photo. I started with lemon and sugar. Right now only Lemon; no sugar. And taste great when it's cold.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Byebye Teak

I just heard rumor that the company I work for is going to close down. We have nice product and good technology however in this economic down turn, we just can't raise enough funding to continue running it. The rumor is they are going to announce it tomorrow. Here I post two pictures to remember it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Elva's new photo

She has learned to click in her safety belts of her highchair, stroller... Luckily she doesn't know how to open them yet. She did that couple of times and wait for applause from us. I think she is smart but just don't know how to speak yet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Radiant Barrier

in response with one of article 10 Great Ideas To Bring Down Your Summer Bill I will write some of my experience.

Couple years ago, we installed metal roof tiles since our wood was chewed through by squirrels and leaked. The contractor told us that this roof will bring our home cooler. He was lying, it's a lot cooler. I figured that's equivalent to number 2 idea Radiant Barrier Paint Spray but only better. You think that is going to be ugly? No, not at all, most people won't be able to tell that's a metal roof we have. see picture. Plus, I got 80 years warranty on that roof, our house will be down before our roof.

Our another heat source was our west facing front doors as show in both pictures. As you can see, I had put covers on them but at summer afternoon, that door still feel like a burning stove from inside when we walk by. Then I applied kitchen foils behind the cover blankets, as this one. And did you notice the glass panels behind those bamboo curtains? Yeah, also kitchen foils behind them. (see June 21st message for photos)

Now the problem is gone and I don't feel a thing. Yesterday we had 90s and my wife told me our neighbors had crank on AC since 3pm but she only turn it on after 5pm at 87F and turn it off around 7 while our neighbor run theirs till 9 or even 10PM.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I have came out an idea for spencer's product search

Edison Nation is having a Spencer's product search. This is an interesting search. I am in the process submitting one idea. I am holding it as long as I can since once you pay the fee, you can change it any more.

When they started the search, I went visit their website and one of their local store. I was surprised by what they are selling. And there is one thing special about this search. At target user group field, you can specify user's age group, the biggest number is 25 and over. Once over that group, they call it "over the hill" I am 43 so It's safe to say I am over the hill. Besides I am from a different culture. Needless to say, it's hard for me to come out an idea that hits.

Yet never to give up, I took liberty to observe our youngsters on my light rail ride. Almost everyone of them listen to MP3 music( I listen to radio), Or on cell phone texting.... But the dress code is very different...

Finally I came out a great idea. I can't tell you here since here is a public forum; but it's great and I did patent check and come out clean (I was surprised). It should have no problem to apply a design patent for it.
Hope this time I will get a better experience than my online EE entry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another 3D prototype

I have another 3-D prototype "Chinese Lantern" made.
Here is a view.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Beat that summer heat

The first photo shows our front wooden doors, which facing west. At summer afternoon, even walk behind them you can feel that sizzling heat. You can see that I did everything I can to stop the heat: hand small blankets on doors. Put fake planets in front of them. And you can see two side glass windows aren’t helping either. I had put foam board in window screen and curtain behind them, but nothing really works. Every time I walk by those doors, I know whether sun is shine on those doors and where.

That’s until recently. Right before this summer, I learned radiation heat wave can penetrate roof plywood and send heat into house. Those boards can stop visible light but not radiation heat wave. But a thin metal foil can. That’s right. Even the thin kitchen foil can. So I apply thin foil behind any possible place I can. See photo two. That’s funny, The thick wooden board can't stop the heat; but thin foil can. I stopped heat completely. I beat that summer heat.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My commute gears

Now I drive my car 4 miles to a park near a bike route and paddle 2 miles to our nearest lightrail station. And take lightrail to work. The whole deal take 1 hour 30 minutes, up from 40 minutes via driving my SUV all the way to work. But I can rest on train and bike for health. Last time I fill up my tank was 3 weeks ago, and I still 1/3 left.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Green way to travel with baby

Baby need its own bed, it's not safe to sleep with baby in same adult bed. I submit this one to Everyday Edison online casting call. This suitcase can be convert into an infant bed/playard in less than a minute. This is what I meant better than most of EE's season 1 and 2 inventions since it resolve a bigger problem.
Sorry I won't reveal how it works at this open blog.

Everyday Edisons season2 invetions

The show will be aired Jun 19 2008. And inventors and their inventions can be view at PBS site. I took a look at their inventions. Maybe because there isn't any visual on the inventions, I feel those inventions aren't so beneficial, nor valuable. I submitted two inventions for season 3, and I think both of them would take over the champion position if among season 2 inventions. I don't dare to post anything at Inventorspot or Edison Nation forum, so only at here I can reveal what I really feel. Thank God for giving me all those brilliant ideas. If wasn't Him, I wouldn't think of any of them.