There are two basic approaches to preparing a product for market. The first is to start with an idea, then build the product around that idea. The second is to engineer a product according to the technical needs of the market, then hire the marketing agency to market it.

lumina-galileo-175855_1920Originally written for the Quirky.com inventor community: 

There are two basic approaches to preparing a product for market. The first is to start with an idea, then build the product around that idea. The second is to engineer a product according to the technical needs of the market, then hire the marketing agency to market it.

Whereas the latter approach is technically sound, the vast majority of consumers don’t buy inventive new products based on technical considerations. While the engineering needs to be top notch, the reason that the public is attracted to this product is not because of these technical consideration alone.

Before I began writing product descriptions for a collection of modern lamps, I was faced with a dilemma. Essentially, they all looked pretty similar. While the materials or shape varied from one to the next, they were all modern and they were all lamps. So I started looking around to see what others were doing and came back with a very important lesson. While names and descriptions were assigned to their lamps, they all effectively said the same thing. While they listed the differences in materials and shape, they were all “perfect” for the modern or contemporary home. They all illuminated your room. And they all should be bought.

One can imagine the difficulty in being presented with hundreds of “perfect” modern lamps. If the consumer knew the shape, color, price point, and materials they wanted in advance, then their selection was still manageable. But what if (like many consumers) they simply came to browse. When then?

So I decided to do something that has stuck for me while naming and writing descriptions for over 700 modern furnishings (many of which have since become bestsellers and category leaders on Amazon, etc…). I decided that my task was to “reverse engineer” each product. But instead of coming out with a collection of parts and materials, I viewed my purpose as the idea finder. What idea or thought inspired this design and how can I best convey this to the public?

Sometimes the task was easy as the designers themselves explained their inspiration. While some work was needed to explain the comparison between their inspiration and the final design, this was still a much easier assignment. But what if the designer doesn’t know why they designed it the way they did? Maybe they just thought it looked nice? Then came the full “reverse engineering” task of looking at this design, and thinking about what thoughts and ideas, what symbolism, we can gain from it?

Why did I mention this? Because most of the Quirky community are not seasoned engineers, but you are creative-minded souls. You have ideas that you’d like to share with the world. But then the question comes … well … is the world interested? What I’d like to suggest is that because of your close-connection to the idea itself (before it gets prototyped, etc…), you are also the best ones the promote the inspired thoughts behind your inspiring inventions.

A person needs both. Both the conceptual and the pragmatic. For instance in my “Hinged Reading for Tablets” invention – https://www.quirky.com/invent/1220232 – I included the scientific benefits of a right-left surround e-reading experience, but I also noted the substantive weight of words: “We need to feel like we are holding something substantial. Something so meaningful and edifying that it takes both our hands to sustain it.”

So what’s your concept? Not sure what I mean? Please message me.