Merriam-Webster defines the word, “Community” as follows…
A unified body of individuals: such as…a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society.
At Edison Nation, our common interest is innovation. In this InvENting 101, we’re going to explore the importance of being a part of a community specifically as it relates to being an inventor.
People form and join communities so they can feel part of something, they can learn from others, share commonalities and support one another. A good “niche’ community doesn’t depend on the number of people it has, but how the people in it interact with each other.
There are a variety of reasons why you should consider joining a community:
Connections – If you are an in a niche industry (like inventing), it can be difficult for family and friends to understand the nuances of your business, let alone have a conversation about them. Being a part of a niche community connects you with others who “speak your language.” They not only provide you with connections to others, but they are also a great sounding board.
Quick, informed answers – When you are working alone, or even in a small group within a niche industry, you quickly realize you don’t have all the answers. But, if you’re a part of a community, you can easily reach out to an expert to ask a question and have it answered right away. Communities also provide you with diverse perspectives. While members may have a common interest, perhaps someone sees a topic a bit differently and can offer a new insight you hadn’t thought of before.
Shared lessons and resources – Rather than having to learn from your own mistakes or successes you can reach out to the community and ask if anyone has had an experience that could be valuable to your situation. Similarly, communities can provide you with a central repository of resources to help you navigate your journey.
Opportunities – Successful people are always doing cool things and when you are associated with them, you often get to go along for the ride. Whether it’s a social activity, a once in a lifetime experience or a business opportunity, there is always an opportunity to be had.
Inspiration, motivation and support – In strong communities there is always someone doing something amazing, which can have the effect of inspiring you to go harder and achieve bigger goals. On the flip side of motivation, you can also find support from fellow colleagues who’ve “been there.”
We all know it, inventing is hard. You can have the best idea ever and there’s no guarantee it will be successful, not because it is a bad idea, but because of forces outside your control like timing, competitors or consumer need. I often equate inventing with the analogy of salmon swimming upstream – no matter how hard they swim, the current often is fighting against them and yet, they keep swimming.
Our mission at Edison Nation is to provide you with the most opportunities to successfully commercialize your idea, but there is more to us than just evaluating and licensing ideas. We are also a community – at last count over 155K strong. Members include everyone from serial inventors and product developers to folks that have one great idea and EVERYONE in between from countries around the world. What sets us apart as a community are the connection opportunities and resources we provide our members to prove that you’re not on this journey alone.
I’ve been an employee at Edison Nation for a little over five years and have had the privilege of managing the community for four of those years. Each and every day, everything I do, whether its reviewing product concepts submitted to our Searches, publishing content to our Blog, answering your Questions or sharing an inspirational quote in our Forums, is to accomplish one goal…
…to maintain and grow a happy, supportive community of innovators.
I knew little about the inventing community before joining Edison Nation. But after five years of working with you, answering your questions, listening to your frustrations and celebrating your successes, I have an incredible admiration for each and every one of you. This is not only because of your individual journeys as inventors, but because you support each other as a community.
If you are already a member of Edison Nation, we’re beyond thrilled to have you as a part of our community. If you’re reading this and on the fence about joining Edison Nation, we invite you to come on in, check out the site and join in the conversation.