LooseCrew-JeffO: Loose Crew


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Loose Crew

That's my company name. Regards computers, it refers to my association with other techs. If someone wants my services, I might refer them to someone else. Regards to mtn climbing, it refers to my climbing friends. We pretty much agree on everyone packing for self-sufficiency - in case anything goes wrong, or we decide to split the climbing party.
Say "Loose Crew" fast. Yes, it's like "loose screw" - that'd be me. That double-entendre perfectly describes my personality.

Anyway, I wanted to moved to Denver and open up my own outdoors equipment company, like MountainSmith. But it didn't materialize...

Below, is another of my ideas.
A beaujest flap that attaches to any cap. Attaching it is too problematic for manufacture, so I just use it myself when I run marathons and ultras.

True story...
The inventor of the backpack hip belt, which totally revolutionized backpacking, patented his idea. Patents aren't cheap. He then went to one of the major backpack manufacturers and demo'd his new system. They watched without comment until he asked if they were interested. They said they weren't. He was so certain he had a revolutionary idea he couldn't believe they weren't interested, but they insisted they had no interest.
Next year, that same company offered hipbelts on nearly every pack.
He sued and won. Afterall, he had a patent!
They appealed. Appeals postpone penalizing judgements.
Here's how it works in America...
If someone sues you, you have to PAY to DEFEND yourself! Even if the defender wins. You have to counter-sue to regain expenses, and this is sometimes done, but each time you go to court, you have to shell out thousands for, basically, renting court time and getting a lawyer. It adds up.
So he sues a 2nd time and wins.
They appeal a 2nd time.
So he gets wise and asks his lawyer, "How many times can they appeal?" He answers, "As many times as they'd like."
So justice in America isn't justice - it's all about who has the biggest pockets. A company has more assets to spend on court costs. He wasted probably $8000 on this, and that's 1970's dollars. Rather than make money on his idea, he went into debt!
That's how hundreds-of-thousands of little guys get squashed. That's how Microsoft does business. That's how big fish swallow small fish.

Taking this reality into consideration, don't ever sell your ideas. Also, don't bother with patents on most ideas. Instead, post a "Patent Pending" label on things, whether it's true or not. If there's an inquiry from some entity as to what the patent application number is, then you can go through with the actual patent pending, if you decide, before responding.
If you decide not to patent, you have to weigh the possibility that someone could steal your idea, patent it, and then sue you for making your own idea. The best way to defend against this is to mail proof of your idea to yourself and don't open up the letter. If you have to defend yourself, you bring the un-opend letter to court. The post-date predates the patnett date, so you can't be accused of stealing the idea - but you may be forbidden to sell items in that moment forward.
Otherwise, take-the-money-and-run with your ideas and don't waste assets on defending your ideas. Many ideas are too piddly to get a specific patent on anyway - like titanium tent stakes (get real).

I have zero business savvy. Me and math don't get along either. Th
ose two things are the biggest handicaps in my life, but that's me. And I never found a partner, so the outdoors gear supplier, Loose Crew, never got off the ground.

The place I go for fabric is Denver Fabrics. If they don't have it, they'll order it for you, as long as it's in the supplier catalogs.
Other materials are hard to find. I used to be a machinist, so I obtained some impossible-to-find materials (including some carbon-fiber square tubes with stealth radar-absorbing construction).
I bought an old sewing machine. They do better with heavy-duty fabrics. If you buy a new machine, then you have to shell out extra $$ for an industrial machine, which might be worthwhile. Some of the new stuff I'm trying to sew is lite material, like running tech shirts are made out of. My machine refuses to sew this without wadding up the thread - which causes me to become biblical (and "speak in tongues").


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