Our InvENtor Spotlight for September is on Duane Bartlett! Duane has been a member of the Edison Nation community since 2013 and is an active Insider!
Where is your home town?
I grew up in East Hampton, Connecticut, a small town 20 miles from Hartford.
Where do you currently reside?
I currently reside in Vista, California, which is in San Diego County.
What is your professional background?
I took college level course work for four years in Connecticut with two years in electrical engineering and two years in graphic design.
After a four year stint in the military, I started my own business repairing and selling Motorola 2-way radios for commercial use. After running my own business for several years, I knew I would never be content working for “the man” ever again. It gave me the confidence to eventually get involved with inventing.
How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?
I first heard of EN through their TV show, “Everyday Edisons,” and was completely hooked on the idea after that. I was amazed at how average everyday people’s inventions were being developed and sold in the marketplace. I remember EmeryCat and Gyro Bowl specifically. It was very exciting!
What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?
Oh wow, it’s amazing how many products that we would normally not see on store shelves say 10 years ago, now being sold all over the place. Mostly products that solve everyday problems around the home, in the kitchen and garden, and with pets and automobiles. Open innovation seems to be a major industry trend that’s fueling a tsunami of new products.
Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?
I usually find them out of necessity while living daily life and doing everyday things. Whenever I run into something that’s difficult or see someone else having difficulty, I start asking “Is there a better way to do this or a better design for this product?”
What inspired you to start inventing?
I just enjoy getting down into the “nitty gritty” mechanics of things, like machinery and timeless engineering concepts that allow gadgets to work, the same with electronics as well.
I enjoy working on vintage cars and making trips to the junkyard to find old parts to make old cars run like new. It’s amazing to consider that the antiques of today were once the cutting edge new products of yesterday.
A love of figuring out the best way to make things work better is the basis of my getting into the world of product development. “Everyday Edisons” was the catalyst.
When did you come up with your first great idea?
I came up with a few terrible ideas at first, but they showed me what not to do the next time.
About a year ago, I came up with a product idea which recently passed Stage 7 in EN’s All Category Search. I noticed my wife cooking and not having a safe place to put a hot pot cover. It was a light bulb moment!
As an inventor I try to stay in the creative zone no matter what i’m doing, and to see things from a perspective of improving life for others. I’m working on finding at least 30 minutes a day for a “time out” of creativity to envision new ideas to consider.
What advice would you give inventors just starting out on their journey?
I would say to learn as much as one can about product development.
Read Stephen Key’s book, One Simple Idea, and get a good idea of the do’s and don’ts before you start to develop your ideas. It can save folks a lot of time and money and can be inspiring as it was for me.
You have been an EN member since 2013, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?
I originally became interested in developing my own product ideas through “Everyday Edisons” on TV around 2009. Soon after that I read Stephen Keys book, One Simple Idea, and began carrying a paper pad with me wherever I went to write down ideas. I started drawing them and kept a portfolio.
It took me three or four years of developing ideas to finally realize that what I was missing was a mentor who could coach me on the process of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together into a workable plan of action.
I then signed up with InventRight, LLC, which is a fee based online coaching course, and learned exactly what I needed to make a professional launch of my products. I then found Edison Nation to be the perfect place to actually submit my products to potential licensees, rather than doing it all myself.
What do you consider your biggest inventing failure and what did you learn from it?
That would probably be the first idea I filed a PPA (Provisional Patent Application) on.
After months of developing an LED reading light product for cars, constructing “works like” prototypes and drawing countless drawings, I submitted it to EN and it was soon rejected at Stage 4. I didn’t do a good enough prior art search apparently because EN found a similar product selling in the UK and being used by police officers there.
What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
No matter what I endeavor to achieve or where I am in the process of developing new products, I always find time to get outdoors, breath in some fresh air, ride my bicycle, take a swim in the ocean and hopefully get tossed around by some tasty waves. It keeps things in perspective.
Have fun and stay healthy! Then coming up with the next million dollar idea will be more rewarding because you’ll still be here to enjoy it!
We’d like to thank Duane for sharing his journey with us and have our fingers crossed for that next million dollar idea!