Our InvENtor Spotlight for February features Paul Ortega! Paul has been a member of the Edison Nation community since 2012 and is an active Insider!
Where is your home town?
I was born in Richmond, Texas, but grew up in Dickinson, Texas.
Where do you currently reside?
Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
What is your Professional background?
Non-Destructive Inspection Specialist (NDI/NDT) in the United States Air Force – Retired
Owner of an Appliance and Air Conditioning Business – Retired
How did you initially hear about Edison Nation.
I heard about Edison Nation from other invention sites like Genius Crowds and Quirky.
What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?
Smart phones, smart watches, smart houses, drones, robotics, kiosk and app technology.
Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you go to them.
I would have to say both. I am always looking for an easier and safer way of doing things. Some of my ideas are out of necessity; for instance, I need a tool or widget to get a task accomplished so I think of a way to make it if I do not have the tool or widget. Other ideas I go for because of the searches here on Edison Nation. I look at what is out there and see if I can come up with something better.
What inspired you to start inventing?
I come from a “fix it” era, not the disposable era of today. At that time, products could be taken apart and repaired. There would be times that we would have to modify tools or materials to repair an item. Buying a specialty tool to fix something once did not make sense, so we thought of ways of fixing items with what we had. That thinking started the innovation thought process in me at an early stage. I also did not have very much money at the time which made me think of how to complete the repair with what I had available.
When did you come with your first great idea?
When I was a kid I taped a transistor radio and flashlight on my bicycle. I thought that was the greatest thing at the time.
What advice would you tell others just embarking on their own inventing journey?
Research your idea before submitting and to never hesitate to ask a question, the answer you get may be the answer to your success.
You have been an EN member since 2012, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?
I made so many mistakes when I first started. I have lost thousands of dollars along the way. I did not do my home work. I was lead into a world that was not for the inventor, but for the companies I submitted my ideas to. Education is very expensive, and I have paid for it heavily. I have been doing this since the 90’s and have not had one of my ideas hit the shelves. I have submitted to many invention submission companies and have contacted major and small companies on my own. All I can say at this point, is that I wish I would have done better research on these companies. I have read many books and have asked many questions. Now I only submit to EN.
I have learned plenty… research is very important. I also learned not to submit to an open submission site. I love coming up with ideas, and will continue. I will just try to be smarter about it from now on. I wish EN was around when I first started, the EN forums are a valuable source of knowledge.
I will keep trying until one day I will achieve my goal.
What is something you consider a “failure” and what did you learn from it.
Not doing enough research! That gets me in more trouble. I do research before I submit, but sometimes I do not do enough. I have built prototypes of an idea to find out later that it exists. That to me is a failure because of all the time and energy wasted. I could have gone to another idea.
What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
I am a widower with an appreciation for life. I have lots of hobbies. I love the outdoors. I love going out on my boat, riding my motorcycle and I metal detect both on land and in the water.
I ride a bike. The best activity I love to do is to go walking every day. I walk three miles every day and sometimes I walk in the evenings. I think of ideas and solutions to problems I am having with building a prototype during my walks. I also make my walks interesting by picking lottery scratch off tickets people throw away. I have picked four tickets that were winners so far. I have also found money, tools, two wallets, a gun holster (no gun) and coke reward caps. Many of my friends nick named me the Walker.
Life is good, God Bless!
We thank Paul for sharing some of his journey with us and for being a wonderful member of the EN community!