For our April Inventor Spotlight, we’re highlighting Jacob Downey! Jacob has been a member of the Edison Nation since early 2015 and is an active Insider!
We wanted to get to know Jacob a bit better to learn about his background and his inventing journey to date…
Where is your home town?
Cordova, Illinois, a small-town village on the mighty Mississippi, home to about 700 people, a nuclear power plant, a 3M manufacturing plant and a drag strip that hosts the annual World Series of Drag Racing. Yup, every year I feel the jet cars race from over two miles away.
Where do you currently reside?
Earth. Resident of the Virgo Supercluster.
What is your professional background?
I’ve worn many hats…I’ve also worked many jobs.
I’ve worked as a fast food cashier, landscaper, bottle packager, cemetery manager, inventory specialist, automotive installer, engine technician, elevator technician, airbag technician, electrochemical technician, electrochemical scientist, digital redactor, handyman, remodeler, contractor, farm manager, web technician, bar cook, inventor and I suppose a few others I’ve likely forgotten.
Also, I’ve sported a panama, a boater, a bowler, a cowboy hat…ha ha okay, so I also like to laugh.
How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?
Through my headphones, watching season 4 of Everyday Edisons.
I double checked, and Matt Spangard says it at about 1 minute 50 seconds in the first episode.
Be a fan much? Lol.
Seriously, I love how educational the show is.
Have you ever collaborated with another inventor(s) on a project? If so, how was that experience for you?
No, but I would like to. I don’t personally know a lot of inventors. I have friends who like to theorize over a drink. Does that count?
What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?
What’s in? Bags and packs. Coffee. Wallets. Disc golf. Minimalist products. Multi tools are selling well through crowdfunding. Smart home sensors are growing over the next 10 years. 1960 style is cresting. 1920 style will repeatedly wave until 2019. A more complete home-recycling will trend over the next 100.
What’s out? I don’t know…gee, I guess I’m just too trendy, Heh. Actually, shoot, wow I don’t know.
Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?
Invention ideas come both coherently and muddled, on topic and off, focused, and blurred. But my best ideas start with a goal.
What advice would you tell newcomers to the innovation scene?
Thinking is 50%. Doing is 50%. Value requires 100%.
Use your calculator, calculators are your friend. A good calculator is like a good dog – loyal, reliable, and helps keep your bed warm at night.
How seriously do you take your invention? That equates to how seriously you should apply your calculator to its possibilities.
Learn. Use your divine power of brain-ly-ness.
If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. But if you teach a man to teach men to fish, you will feed humanity.
If you can’t teach yourself, you will never be smarter than your teacher.
What inspired you to start inventing?
My brother. We would often invent over a beer; talking a lot of “wouldn’t that be cool if”.
I must also consider that I don’t have free time. I have opportunity time. The possibilities of opportunity combined with the joys of problem solving make inventing and I a logical fit.
When did you come up with your first great idea?
Early. I like to learn, I like puzzles, and I like cookies…so, probably something related to raiding the cookie jar.
You have been an EN member since 2015, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?
Great resources. Pools of knowledge. And supportive, too. What a community! Kindness, encouragement, sage information; all common place at Edison Nation.
Those familiar with the Amazon Inventions Tour might be familiar with my reporting in the forums.
That was a fantastic first hand experience.
What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
I have a black belt, and have been trained to use nunchakus.
I constructed a bulldozer shaped bed for some relatives. I designed it to be modular so it can be easily moved – nine parts interlock and secure. I wish I had more time for adding details to it. Netting, graphics, more tube delays…
Here are a few pictures:
The bolts are real and double-nutted, so they spin in place. The wires are short, and are just for show.
When I was 4-years-old I pulled the fire alarm at the Putnam museum. I remember specifically that I wanted to see what was inside. I also remember the pain I felt in my ears from the sound of the alarm. My poor parents. My brother and sister remember it well. Nowadays I can’t even imagine what it would be like having a nice day at the museum, then a toddler walks right up to the fire alarm, and yank! My apologies to everyone who was there that day.
I want to thank Edison Nation and my fellow Edison Nation community members for providing and participating in what is the best invention information conglomerate in the all of my existence.