Invention got us out of caves!

19 Jan 2015


I heard an interesting interview today: The speaker was noting that pharmaceutical companies can alter the form of a drug about to “come off patent” thereby extending their monopoly ….

  • However, if a company really does find a leap in chemistry then I am afraid “good on them”, and they deserve a new patent – note the word new.
  • If not then it becomes generic  - and open for all to use.
  • This is the deal between the inventor and society.

The speaker seemed to be saying follow on patents are “not fair” …  but in reality ALL patents build from a knowledge base of humanity to some degree! If a patent is granted – by definition it is NEW – new to me, new to IPONZ, new to you, new to her … so to argue about this is to deny the whole basis of patents.

It would be nice to think of a utopian world where inventors invented for 100% altruistic reasons …. but if that were so ….. perhaps we would still be in caves?

To do or not to do

2 Nov 2014

There are things you can do and things you can do but should not do!

Over the last months customers for our Flexiroof™ shelters have asked for things we have not been offering …. Sometimes these are things we have thought about, and sometimes they have been completely new….

Some details are:

  1. Arch end closures.
  2. Inclined roofs, from above the gutter and below the eaves.
  3. A roof with a metal stay which passes through our polycarbonate – that took a day extra.
  4. Long spans …. longer spans!
  5. Cantilevers off the edge of a deck.
  6. Connection to a concrete recess for a commercial entranceway.


So far I would say of the people who have asked for quotes we can quote on 90% but frankly there are quotes we should decline …… and have declined …. Mainly for us these are what we see as excessive spans.

So……….. One thing that I am aware of is no technology suits every possible application ….. and that is to be expected …. and just fine!

1 2 3

27 Jul 2014







I like this pic!

25 Jul 2014


and this customer endorsement!


Poker and Business

11 Jul 2014

I think business is a little like Texas Holdem poker:  They are both about asset utilization….. and risk vs reward.


A key in poker is that your own hand is only part of the picture.

A great poker player considers both their own hand (and position), and (with great attention) what they may learn from the other player’s betting (asset base (chip stack!) and position) ……. because that betting “tells” about the strength and strategy of your opponent …

It is similar in business and here is a real life example of a Kiwi company I have read about that did not pay enough attention to the “tells” in business:

  • In 2011 this NZ technology company had the attention of a US billion dollar company, interested in licensing technology, and 
  • The CEO of the Kiwi company was told by the CTO of the USA company that he wanted a deal wrapped up in 4 weeks as the Kiwi company took too long last time“, and 
  • The CEO was quickly informed by his own CTO the technology implementation was proving very tricky to improve on, and he recommended a quicker safer deal, but
  • The Kiwi company CEO and Chairman still mucked around … taking 6 months to even send a first term sheet  …  getting greedy along the way ….. so
  • What do you think was the outcome here for the Kiwi company?

It seems there were two really significant “tells” the CEO and Chairman of this Kiwi company did not pay enough attention to:

  1. The CTO of the USA company made things very clear he was ready to do business, and
  2. Their own CTO also made things very clear he was concerned about the technology and recommended they do a safer deal quickly.

Old and New

25 Jun 2014

Old lever-action locksRed cars ...

Great design comes in many forms

The blacksmith who fashioned the old lever lock above more than 100 years ago was as much a designer as the designers of the red Ferrari cars!

It is all about a clear vision, creativity and then some dogged work to implement.

The implementation part is not the sexy part …… but it a key all the same to great design …. and profitable pleasing or useful outcomes.

In the end everything matters in design ……. whether it be designing a door lock in the 1800s, or a fine red car in the 2000s.

Less is less

26 Apr 2014

The genius of Steve Wozniak in the very early days at Apple was his efficiency of design. We can learn from his example.

A phrase we often hear is “less is more” … well it can also be “less is less” …. less COST

Indeed yesterday I went and tediously counted the number of parts in an actual installation of an opposition roof technology by a company called Archgola™. It was very interesting and here is a little summary:

Slide2Slide02 Slide04

High Value?

29 Mar 2014

  1. So is a new iPAD worth more than a glass of water?
  2. Is a new Lexus worth more than a glass of water?
  3. Is a Lear jet worth more than a glass of water?


……. if you are marooned on a desert island?

High value depends of the pain and gain of the service or product, so a good question to ask is what pain or gain are you addressing!

“Open Kimono”

27 Jan 2014

Opening the kimono means “revealing the inner workings of a project or company to an outside party”. It is a clever phrase that as it mixes a bit of sex into business speak, and catches attention.

Open | Closed

Open Kimono

The founders of such great web businesses as and have opened their kimonos as to the inner thinking that has made their businesses wildly successful.

  • I highly recommend: “Rework” by Jason Fried / David Heinermeier Hansson and “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, and the open sharing approach of Basecamp and Zappos makes me want to be their customer.

Closed Kimono

Here is an example of  the “closed kimono” approach …

I am a shareholder of a New Zealand company The directors of this technology company hold late AGMs, and provide inadequate & late information to their shareholders. This has become a pattern over the last couple of years, but this “closed” approach seems to be quite counter-productive as it fosters angst and mistrust, and is a disincentive to further investment.

So how does this topic apply to online sales?

Closed Kimono

Commercially some companies hold their price lists from online access as they wish to be secretive to their competitors. This is a mistake because secrecy loses them sales. It conveys they care more about their opposition than their customers.

Open Kimono

Recently I have decided to be “open kimono” about the current retail price of product. Sure it will change in the future but FWIW below is the Jan 2014 price list for customers and competition alike to view!


Patents: Folly or Friend?

8 Jan 2014


A Patent Folly

  1. “I have an idea for a device that has a round outer circumference that rotates about a central axis …. (the wheel)
  2. “Great Idea”
  3. $$$
  4. “Ah – there is prior art”
  5. $$$$$
  6. “We can narrow the claims”
  7. $$$$$$$
  8. “OK the examiner has objected … we can narrow the claims”
  9. $$$$$$$$$
  10. Outcome 1: “I claim a device that has a round outer circumference part that rotates about at least one middle annular part, that rotates about an inner linear part, wherein each part is capable of diurnal modification in at least one parameter to suit the weather conditions.”
  11. Outcome 2: (nothing)

A Patent Friend

  1. “I have an idea for a device that has a round circumference that rotates about a central axis …. (the wheel)
  2. “Great Idea”
  3. $$$
  4. Granted patent: “I claim: a device that has a round outer circumference that rotates about a central axis.”

So…. a lesson I have learnt is:

When you file a patent you need to be ready to kill it at every stage! …. In particular be very careful when narrowing claims ……..