Yeah, so that's—a lot of inventors, they don't really understand the process of working with manufacturers, distributors and marketing. And it's overwhelming to learn all of that. You have a couple of tools that I'd like, maybe if you can spend a minute talking about—the Inventor’s Roundtable, the Inventor’s Desktop, and the Invent Vault. Tell us a little bit about that, and how that might help inventors.
Well, the Inventor’s Roundtable is meetings, virtual meetings that we have. We have a virtual roundtable, we have for the West, and then for the East. So you know, if you're west of the Mississippi, you're generally on the west side. And if you're east of the Mississippi, or on the east side, but not always, because you know, they're on different nights in different time zones. So if somebody can't make one, you can join the other. The conversation is always directed by the inventors who are attending. And a lot of times your best information comes from the inventor next to you on the screen. So we've learned a lot. The Invent Vault is no longer, you know, a requirement. I think it still shows up on one of the websites, but it was for the virtual loading, so you could protect your information. But now with all of the you know, Google Drive, and you know, the OneDrive and all of that stuff, they've pretty much caught up to it, which is fine. It gives inventors a place where they can store their stuff, and then be able to log into it from any place. And so that's been a wonderful advancement of technology for inventors. But I always encourage inventors to join a group. And if you've got—if you're in a metropolitan area, a lot of times there will be an inventor group. But if not, certainly join one of the virtual groups, you know. The Inventors Roundtable has been going on for 15 years. And it's one of the things that we really look at to be able to answer questions for inventors. So, it's free. Membership is free. We are one of the gold seal approved groups for the United Inventors Association. I'm an ambassador. Several levels of my organization are sponsors for the United Inventors Association. But I think one of the big things for inventors early on is that they feel alone. And sometimes they you know, they have those knee jerk reactions to you know, oh, you know, “I'm going to do this next. And I'm going to do this next.” And then they find out that, like you said, you know, they may have, you know, gotten somebody to make them a really expensive prototype. And they didn't, they didn't need to do that yet. One of our taglines for the inventors roundtable was, “Don't spend a dime until it's time.”
And, you know, then when it's time, you need to step up to the plate. But when you're looking at, you know, conserving those early dollars, it's really important because you're gonna need them on the back end of that. And, you know, so crowdfunding is tough. If I've got to have somebody that says, “No, I'm patent pending anyway, and I've got a sexy prototype,” that you have to have for crowdfunding, go to a professional trade show. You know, a good crowdfunding campaign takes six months to tee up. And then you’ve got to work 24/7 for about six weeks. It's faster and cheaper to go to a trade show. And then I'll get people that want to ask about “Well, I'll get, you know, venture capital.” No, no, probably not. Because with venture capital, you've got to go into that early stage manufacturing, and you've got to have sold some, and you do then need that business plan to prove that they're putting their money into something that's got some legs on it. Their preference is really those things that are not necessarily consumer products, but the techie stuff. So it's really tough for an inventor to go out there, even if they have done all the work.
Best things are what we call the three F's: friends, families and other fools. I've seen some inventors do well with getting, you know, other family members because then they're not doing the deep dive into the product as much as they do believe in the inventor, they believe in their family member, their friend. There was a gentleman that was at one of the meetings, he invented Post-a-Note. Man, wouldn't you have liked to have had that one in your arsenal? But he's got partners that specialize in different arenas, and they've helped him with his 39 other patents get into the marketplace. So, sometimes that partner, what you want to make sure then is that you do have an attorney review the agreements, because the mistake I see investors make is they give away too much for too little money. And so you need to think bigger numbers.
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