Friday, August 17, 2012

My Invention


Most of you may not know this, but I am a jack of all trades (or Jackie of all trades rather...LOL!). Yes, I am serious!

In addition to holding two degrees (and in pursuit of the last...my PhD), I also frequently enroll in technical classes to learn a new trade. I can drive traitor trailers better than any man. I am a filmmaker. I'm a writer/storyteller. I'm interested in learning accounting (I'm actually taking a class in it now). I have begun spending time with a mortician in hopes of learning more about the funeral home business...and opening my own funeral home one day. I am an aspiring genealogist and I'm perusing certification in the field. By trade I am a librarian and I love research....of any kind. With my occupation in mind, I am hoping to create a non-profit that will be responsible for archiving Black America (think: A digital online time capsule of everything black: newspapers, magazines, TV, films, yearbooks from HBCUs and old black segregated high schools etc). I guess we can also add inventor to this list....

Almost a year ago I created a stretch of an idea that came to me as I was struggling to find a product that meets my needs as a writer. It is a piece of technology that is badly needed for writers, scholars, students etc. After doing some research online I realized quite a few writers were looking for the same product as me! I guess this is how it normally happens: Someone recognizes a void and looks for ways to fill it. Most inventors have been normal people like me and you...not engineers. These folks saw a need and created something to fill that void. Well, that's how this idea came to me.

So, I stretched out my idea and took it to one of those "invention submission firms," which in my opinion was a complete waste of time. Why? Because companies like Invent Tech are out to make a quick buck...by any means necessary.

Me: So, I have this great idea for an invention. Here is a stretch. Let me tell you about the product.

White man: This is nice Ms. "Insert my name." We believe in you. Now give us two thousand dollars and we will start a patent search immediately. If your idea isn't already taken we will need another ten thousand dollars to get the ball rolling and create a prototype...but don't worry about that. If we strongly believe in your idea we will help you come up with the money. We just want 40% of your profits once the manufacturer, engineers, the lawyers and everyone else gets their cut. Does that sound like a good idea to you? 

Me: Hell no....got me twisted!

I left their office that day discouraged as hell. In fact, I threw the sketch in my closet and forgot about it. A month ago I pulled that drawing out again. I sat staring at it for thirty minutes trying to decide if I should throw it away or not. When Yellow Bone came over I dropped the sketch on my desk and left well enough alone. Yellow Bone picked up the sketch and asked me about it. 

Me: It's nothing.

Yellow Bone: It looks like something to me.

Me: It's just an idea I came up with. Something I invented to help writers.

Yellow Bone: It looks good. What are you going to do with it?

Me: Nothing.

Yellow Bone (disapproving look): You don't strike me as a quitter. 

Me: I don't know what to do next. 

Yellow Bone: You like doing research....figure it out. 

And that's where I am now....trying to figure out the next step in the process that doesn't involve me handing over my idea to white people, who are looking to take almost half of the profits from it. 

Lucky for me I have several friends who are fresh out of law school. Some of these people are accountants and business management professionals. A business plan is on the way and I guess I will enter the office of a small business administration some time in the near future.

Sigh...this is my life!
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