A Valuable Resource and Reality Check for Aspiring Inventors

Wisconsin Innovation Service Center

Having a good idea for a product is only the beginning…
failure to gather all the relevant facts and evaluate the
marketplace puts the a potential at
a disadvantage and an easy mark for
questionable business services.

A recent Steve Harvey show underscores the point:
aspiring inventors and one woman, in particular,
stood out because she had paid an invention
company $12,000 to
create a prototype of her
brainstorm…a new idea for women
who wear high heels…

what the hopeful inventor got back was useless,
she admitted and she felt duped.

Some could make the argument that
lack of tech and design skills hampered her ability
to execute a workable prototype independently…

But  the financial mistake could have
been avoided with
expert feedback from theInnovation  (WISC).

In fact, more than 90 percent of the $12,000
lost could have been saved with an honest
and comprehensive evaluation from WISC.

Established more than 35 years ago,
the center has seen it all, including
cutting edge technology
in medicine, tools, food products.

WISC has a database of 1100 industry
experts who offer honest product evaluations-
experts who have signed a confidentiality agreement,
which all staff members at the center must also sign.

A thorough overview of a product’s potential in the
marketplace from development to distribution
and hidden pitfalls are
the focus of WISC reports.

So why is it some aspiring inventors overlook
WISC instead wasting their life savings?

They may not know about the organization.

 Without an advertising budget, the nonprofit
service relies on 
word of mouth and their reputation
with satisfied clients found around the globe.
 Note that the MobCraft Beer co-founder
who appeared on Shark Tank March 11
is a former WISC student.

When applicants apply for WISCfee-based
services, Illegal products,
risque’ adult products, or other dubious
ideas are not eligible for consideration.

Steve Harvey.com/Passion Projects
Takeaway includes myths
about marketing to mass markets channels

Wisconsin Innovation Service Center
Click the Research tab

Mobcraft Jumps into the SharkTank


Invention Promotion Firms

The Musical Niche of Lin-Manuel Miranda


Energetic interview on Charlie Rose last week
with Lin-Manuel Miranda underscores the artist’s
innate ability to perceive and communicate
in creative ways using
music despite a lack of
formal training.

That Miranda is wired to see the world through the
language of music is evident.  For instance, as a student
, he would create musical collages on tape and present
them to fellow students as a way to interact and
convey his personality.

And Miranda reveals that writing Hamilton’s life
story as a hip-hop vehicle was not innovation rather
the historical material was already well suited for the genre.

Charlie Rose.com

Cartoon Satire on Lawyers and Career Change: Why Some Lawyers Become Entrepreneurs


Back in January 2014, Queen’s Counsel wrote about
Niche Creativity. Check out the site’s 20-year archive of
law-related humor.

Queenn’s counsel.com

What Judge Merrick Garland and Royal Kate Middleton Have in Common


Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland and
Her Royal Highness, Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge
have a shared experience.

Both were raised in homes by parents
who started a home-based business.
Garland in advertising services
for clothing retailers
and party planning products
for the Middleton family

Merrick Garland Has A Reputation
Of Collegiality…

Who is Merrick Garland?
The Life of Obama’s Latest
Supreme Court Nominee
The Birth of Party Pieces
CNN Money.com
Kate Middleton: A family business
that built a princess

Frontline: Two American Families Revisited

Work, Family Economics, and Entrepreneurship

Good work environments exist in the corporate
and small business sectors
but programs, such as PBS’ Frontline,
document labor policies and
the reality many workers
and their families’ experience all too often.

From an entrepreneurial viewpoint…

In an attempt to earn money to pay mounting bills,
Milwaukee resident, Terry Neumann, bought beauty
care products for resale after her husband’s high paying
job was shipped out of the U.S.

Seemingly down-to-earth,
an outgoing people person, viewers watched as
Terry attempted to sell the products to a neighbor.
It was sadly awkward.
She later lost her investment on the products,
according to host, Bill Moyers.

A stay-at-home mom initially, Terry took low-wage
jobs to help pay the bills.
After finding a position, as a security guard,
at one point, with higher wages and benefits,
she appeared happy with the nontraditional work
and seemed to enjoy driving a truck.

The Other Family: The Stanley’s
Claude and Jackie Stanley took the entrepreneurial
leap, even the children to some extent after jobs kept folding,

Jackie Stanley earned her real estate license and
struggled in an industry with a color line.
Commission paychecks would often fall through
if deals were not finalized, which seemed to happen often.
The real estate industry in Milwaukee is riddled with
policies based on race, an infrastructure that affects
even her qualified clients attempting to qualify for mortgages.

It’s a circumstance that lessens the probability of
closing a sale and earning her fee.
Residential sales in upscale neighborhoods
were closed to her because she is African-American,
according to the film.

Jackie’s passion and enthusiasm for the art of selling
are evident but I saw nothing in the program that
answered the question of why she chose real estate,
other than it was what she had  studied while she
was still employed in the early 1990’s.

After buying a building so that Jackie could open her
own a real estate office,  her husband, Claude, joined
with her and opened a home inspection business,
but the ventures were not successful.

Son Keith, 15, when Frontline first filmed,
started a lawn mowing business with his brothers.
Now in his mid-30s, a college graduate with a government
job, he continues with other sideline entrepreneurial pursuits.

The Stanley’s passed their work ethic and strong values
onto their children and their son Keith, who seems to
have developed the ability from a young age to choose
ventures that filled a marketplace niche. Insight not
evident in the businesses chosen by his parents,
which were highly competitive with no
evident niche being addressed.

Had the couple started from home or opened
in a business incubator, they would have at least
trimmed startup costs and had the opportunity
to test their ideas in the marketplace.

Jackie Stanley said she felt like a failure but she has
strong managerial, sales, mentoring and
communication skills. Skills that may not be the
best entrepreneurial fit for real estate in
Milwaukee, given her considerable talents.

Terry and Jackie both may belong in fields they have
never considered or know little about, choosing instead
traditional familiar paths, which do not allow
for their full potential.


What’s Happened to Two American Families?

University of Milwaukee SBDC

Chart Course .com/article/Job Satisfaction


Quick Computer Quiz: Tech-Savvy Tips for Biz Beginners


One tech problem too many and a recent 
research project to price out the actual cost of
that $9 laptop featured in the news inspired this post.
There are no affiliate links.


Take a closer look at the opening photo
then view the video

Some aspiring entrepreneurs either lack
the requisite skill set
or harbor a passionate dislike of technology,
gathering how-to information
on an as-needed basis for their startups.

If the thought occurred that
the tyke pictured may know more about
computers than you do… or the monk’s distress
seems all too familiar it may be a clue that
tech ability should be examined for strengths and
weaknesses. And how best to compensate either
by finding qualified help or by developing an IT
skill set should be a goal .

Information professionals have to keep up with the
latest computer and software trends.
Here are several tips 
and insights gleaned
from firsthand experience a recent check i
n the AiiP forum


Having the latest software and an up-to-date
operating system is key, notes Mary Ellen Bates,
author of The Reluctant Entrepreneur.
Apart from having IT people to call on, developing
an IT troubleshooting skill set may be necessary
to manage updated software and operating systemS.

Knowledgeable tech tinkering may
transform a new edition of Office software
so that it appears similar to a previous version of
Windows, which the user may be more
comfortable using.
Note: Free Open Source Software
Open Office and Libre Office

Be aware that computers sold online at bargain
prices may often mean the equipment may not
include customarily preinstalled software,
requiring additional expense.

 Replacing equipment: “If possible, keep the old unit
and software around. Not all files can be converted
to newer versions.”…

Cloud-Based platforms are a recommended
resource for those less tech oriented. Two examples:
Office 365 http://tinyurl.com/jq8jlc4 and Google Apps

Almost everything is moving to the cloud – making
it easier…regarding use and technical support,
for Windows or Mac.

Did You Know?

All techs do not have the same level
of skill and knowledge. whether handling personal or
business IT issues. Check out the Entrepreneur
and ABC news links.


Abc7 News.com
7On Your Side

While having the latest equipment and software
is key in many fields, not so in all. For example,
some staffing companies who place virtual workers
will not hire workers with the latest Windows  OS


 SlideShare…10 Tips before Buying a Laptop
Note: Consumer Reports is a highly useful
time-saving starting point.

Note: For the tech-challenged this laptop
may be a lot of work, and depending on specs,
may require several hundred dollars
Internet access is currently available via Comcast
but limited via Earthlink to Webmail sans support and
AT&T..no And in Laptops for Dummies, author Dan Gookin
warns about the tech savvy skills necessary to upload
a non-Windows OS.

Buying cheap cables and accessories
are unwise investments, says a veteran
IT professional. C2G.com was one
helpful resource given.

Beware! Extended warranties purchased from a reputable  third party
will not necessarily cover all issues. For example, the operating
system is classified as software and may not be included in the
repair plan. A fact not readily made clear in the sales copy.
But you will learn fast right after the first glitch.

If you buy an earlier edition of Microsoft software from a reliable third party, yes Microsoft will assist with tech support but usually for setup  solely, depending on the edition Other tech issues will require a large fee.
Solution: opt for a Microsoft 365 subscription because it comes with tech support and the monthly fee is minimal.

Laptops made by the same manufacturer may have new
major differences. For instance, the trackpads on the Toshiba brand
do not all operate in the same manner.  Or the laptop may be designed to shut down when external devices are plugged into ports .So, download the user manual and study beforehand.

3 Unique Niche Books: High-Wire Artist, Musician, Graphic Novelist

Why Knot: High-Wire Artist Writes Book…


  1. Not about balancing at great heights,
    high-wire artist Philippe Petit demonstrates
    examples of creative knot tying featured in his
    nifty book entitled Why Knot?: How to Tie More than
    Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Lifesaving,
    and Secure Knots! during Charlie Rose interview
    PBS 5/2013

2. Ringo Starr’s innovative method of authorship
is featured in his simple, smile-provoking title.
Starr’s strategy a means of avoiding
an autobiography genre
Pbs.org/TavisSmiley/Ringo Starr Part 1

Book Cover: The Impostor's Daughter

3. Family secrets revealed in an unusual
graphic memoir format eerily conveys the
surreal nature of the information uncovered
by author Laurie Sandell.com

How using an artistic format solved a major writing
challenge for the author and the wisdom of childhood
are major takeaways in
the YouTube video below.

Q&A for Aspiring Teacher-Entrepreneurs

Common Concerns, Tips, and Resources
Info logo

New column for teachers considering
an entrepreneurial path
appears this month on
Teachers.Net Gazette.

Email a challenging business-related question
for possible research and
publication consideration.

Aptitudes and Values of A Teen App Inventor

Rethinking the Cyber Bullying Problem

The tragic consequences of cyberbullying
inspired then 13-year old Trisha Prabhu to
develop a new solution to the problem. .
an app called ReThink.

Prabhu decided not to profit from her invention,
an app that alerts users when what they
are about to post online is inappropriate.
A decision consistent with the incident that
captured her attention and motivated her to research
the issue of online abuse further.

Extraordinary concern and compassion for
others, tech and science aptitudes
and research skills are a given for the teen
but another talent is apparent.

Can you identify it?
Answer: Major communication aptitude and skill

ABC News.com
15-Year-Old’s ‘ReThink’ A
pp Aims to Prevent Cyberbullying