I Wish I Were Six Again; Innovation Angst Didn’t Suck Then.
I want tell you a little secret. I want to be the next Ron Popeil. I don’t care to be the first, just the first to realize a vision regarding something I verbalize. I think I actually have a reasonable track record to warrant my lofty aspirations:
*When I was six growing up on a sheep farm in New Zealand, I grabbed an air mail envelope, drew a picture accompanied by some text and sent it off addressed to some generic address at the Pentagon in the U.S. The drawing was an idea I had for what is now called a Thrust Vectoring Nozzle on jet aircraft. I also paired that with oil injection into the manifold to produce enormous amounts of black smoke to enable evasive action. I figured I’d go for a two-fer.
* When I was 17 I wrote a similar letter complete with diagrams to Shimano because I was so damned tired of the crappy braking system on my off-road bicycle and suggested a hub-centric disk brake system for bicycles.
* In 1996, after forming my first startup and angel funding, my father-in-law and I architected an ASIC-based firewall appliance that would run Check Point firewall-1 code (ported) to a platform that had no OS and provided extremely high levels of performance with offload NPU’s and high-speed memory for state-table synchronization in clusters. We took it to Check Point. They laughed. 6 months later they did a deal with Ascom Timeplex…
* In 2001 I built a prototype of an, um, entertainment system that involved 3D goggles, VRML, a nintendo power glove and, er, adult entertainment via a network-based pay-per-play service
* Oh, the hits just-a-kept-on-comin’…
Somewhere between then and now, despite helping raise millions in VC funding for other people’s ideas, I stopped verbalizing my own and that makes me sad.
Where and when I can, I’m going to verbalize some of the ideas buried in my brain. I have hundreds of them. One day I hope one of them make someone else say “HEY! I thought of that!” I’m an idea guy. I want a T-Shirt that says that.
You have anything you’ve “invented” that’s showed up sometime later?