Jennifer B. Davis
It is a very common blog post now-a-days...folks bemoaning and apologizing for not updating their blog. I could publish the same sentiment.  It has literally been ages (in dog years, it would be "eras") since I have posted, but I have very good reasons.

1.  I've been incredibly busy.  Work, family, life, and a host of other things.  Same as you.  Okay, no news there.
2.  I have more regularly been posting shorter thoughts and bursts of inspiration on Twitter and on FaceBook.  Professionally, I have been more active on LinkedIn. For those who really want to follow me, you should find me there.
3. I have been a guest blogger on Runco, Planar, InfoComm All Voices, and even recently on Electronic Design.  You can follow me there as well.

I look forward to connecting with you and promise to give this blog (and some of my recent reading, conference curriclum and business learnings) some attention here in the coming months.
Jennifer B. Davis
All entrepreneurs consider their ideas sacred and most dream of offering them "hard protection" with with patents. The truth of the matter is, however, that most ideas benefit from sharing, not protection. So, here are my top three reasons why

3. IP protection is expensive
If you have ever looked into this, you know how expensive it can be to apply for a patent and only years later can you know the outcome of that investment. And if your concept is complex (and not obvious) you will need to likely file for multiple patents to protect the various aspects of the idea in specificity enough for the patent office. If you are lucky enough to be issued a patent, that is only the tip of ice berg in terms of cost. If you actually want to defend a claim against your IP, you can expect to pay 5 to 10 to 100 times more than you paid for the patent filing. If you intend to create a business (not just a licenseable patent portfolio), and you have invested that same cash in marketing, partnerships, or prototypes you would have been ahead.

2. You should give the world a chance to help
An idea you keep to yourself is something that others can't help you with. The more people you tell, the more people you can get thinking about your problems and offering solutions. The more people you tell, the more likely it is that the resources you need (ie, engineering help, marketing advice, an introduction to the buyer at a key reseller, etc) will materialize. You can't get the help you need, while fearing infringement.

1. An idea isn't enough
And the number one reason that IP protection is a false assurance...because the idea isn't enough to make a successful business. As anyone will tell you, there is a HUGE gap between an idea and its successful implementation. Most often than not, the idea itself changes wildly once implementation begins and feedback from customers rolls in (see #2). The key is to begin implementation as soon as possible and identify the steps necessary for commercial success.

In short, seeking IP protection can hurt a small business more than it can help. If you want to bring something to market, bring it to market. Be the first to promote it and the first to be successful. Anyone copying your idea and wanting to build a successful business will have to catch you first.
Jennifer B. Davis
Over this holiday week, I had a chance to do something really fun: fused glass jewelry art. We started at a glass studio (thanks, Teresa!) and ended up at home working with my very talented sister, Rebecca Hull, to finish off the designs. These feature the motifs that are common in my doodles.

This first one uses transluscent glass with bits of colored glass (amusingly called "frit") and some copper wire that oxidized into a rich deep purple color. It was Becca's idea (surprise, surprise) to put two mounts on the pendant. Very interesting!

The second looked like a tree with graphic flowers and leaves before it fused, but afterwards it looked very "under the sea" with crackled glass elements catching the light and little bubbles under the glass. Becca finished it off with curly-cue wire - just my style!

I have stacks-and-stacks of cartoons to post, but until I get them scanned, I can post doodles around my neck!
Jennifer B. Davis
I have been obsessed lately with the idea of designing clothes. It is strange really, because I really lack the patience and meticulousness (is that even a word?) to be a seamstress or tailor. But still I dream of the designing. Of effortless creation (like you see when you watch Project Runway or the shows on HGTV).

Then I saw this post from Seth and was really stuck by this quote:
"Tweaking, making and building are human acts, ones that are very easy to forget about as we sign up to become cogs in the giant machinery of consumption and production."

How true! I get to build a bit at work, if you count PowerPoint presentations, but nothing really beats making and building something that is real. It is a very human desire and capability - and one that, in my impatience, I should make sure I don't lose.
Jennifer B. Davis

There was a great blog post by 37Signals (actually several through the years) on the fallacy of forecasts and I have been happy to add my own two-cents to that concept in previous posts. Just when we have convinced ourselves that our forecasts are based on the right assumptions and are the perfect blend of optimism and conservatism, then....reality happens and delivers numbers of her own.
If the business world put as much energy into early indication (actual data from real sources that would validate assumptions or establish trends) as we did into forecast exercises, I wonder if we'd immediately begin making better decisions? I suspect so.
Jennifer B. Davis

There is a common phrase that is said (and I have certainly used hundreds of times myself) that upon reflection is a lie: "Great minds think alike." And its corrolary: "Fools seldom differ."
The truth is that great minds are composed of all sorts of different natural styles, curiousities, backgrounds, talents, and thought processes. This, of course, leads to wonderful innovation in so many parts of our lives and industries. If we all thought (verb) alike, then our thoughts (noun) would be too similar to generate anything new or inspirational.
However, it is human nature to rate ones' own abilities above average and then to seek like-minded (both in the verb and noun) individuals to associate with. This is never more evident than in the hiring process, where so often hiring managers hire people exactly like themselves, rather than hiring those who complement their skills or abilities and will challenge them to think in new ways. Diversity of thought is just as important (and certainly harder to judge from afar) than diversity of race, religion, or lifestyle. These people who think differently than ourselves, can cause us to be better business people, better strategist, better implementers, better managers, and possibly, better people.
This is a challenge for us all. We have to forget idioms (no matter how common they might be) and a little bit of our own tendencies, in order to benefit from great minds.
Jennifer B. Davis

It is a frequent request from sales teams: create products that are more competitively priced or competitively featured. It sounds good and this kind of request has send product marketing and engineering teams off to create me-too products for centuries. The trouble is that is hardly ever works out as well as one would hope.

See, when you set out to make a competitive product, you have actually given up the one thing that might just be the key to your success: the ability to set the criteria for which products are judged and buying decisions are made. You have let your competition decide what is important and make you play catch up.

If you have the creativity and capability, it is much more fun (and probably more successful) to do something your competition isn't doing. Create a new product category. Solve a new problem in a new way. Sell to new customers in a new way. Go after a Blue Ocean or a Purple Cow, as the authors's suggest. Do something to set the pace and decide the rules of the game and then get your competition chasing you (or better yet, dismissing you as an outlier and you can be successful without them even noticing).