September 26, 2002

92 pages/Vol.33 No. 40/Four Sections

On the Internet:

Advice on Inventing for youngsters


oug Malewicki, 63, has been a successful inventor since he started out some 40 years ago.
He offers some advice to youngsters and the not-so-young who might be thinking about the life of inventing.
1.  Take all the math, physics and science classes you can.  It is NOT about memorizing the information just to past tests with A's, but to understand forever the nature of everything - so you can apply it someday to something practical.
2. Don't ever let anyone ever stifle your creativity or open-mindedness to new ideas.  There is ALWAYS a better way to do everything.  Do not let teachers mold you into a conforming, politically correct robot.  Do outrageous things for the rest of your life, but do them intelligently and with respect.
3. Also, you must learn about business, sales and marketing.  Without a basic understanding of how the world buys, sells and barters you could end up with 10,000 of your "wonderful" mass produced new invention sitting in your garage forever.  Be bold and ask for help.  I always try to team up on projects with people who are a lot smarter than me in their specialized fields.   It is "selling" to be able to get them excited about spending their valuable time on your idea.  You have to then share the good that comes out of any invention fairly with every single person who has helped you in the inventions commercialization.  Then they will come back and want to help you on the next invention.
4. Inventing is work.  You have to be persistent forever.   Worse, you never know if an invention is a "good" invention ahead of time.  You are merely hoping or assuming.  Even huge companies occasionally make giant mistakes.  It takes about 5 years of work to know if your idea was a good idea.  The criteria is simple: are you making decent money from it and are you still having fun with it after that 5 years has rolled by?
5. Stay healthy.  Each invention can consume a minimum of a couple of years out of your life.  You need to be as healthy as possible to be able to work harder and smarter.  Smoking, drugs and booze is plain stupid as they can mess with a humans most valuable built in tool - his/her brain.    Find exercises that you enjoy and friends to share them with.  Has to be fun, not work, or you won't do it all your life.  Cross train.  I like trail running, cycling, walking and backpacking.   Right now, I'll bet I can outrun 95% of the people in Irvine and I am age 63!

to Main Irvine World News Article about Doug Malewicki