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A method to sell ideas.
  [vote for,

So, you are an outsider, who has a great idea for COMPANY X? You would share the idea, if they would promise you to share the reward, but they don't have the basis to promise you the reward, because they don't know the idea... What do you do?

A, you write a document where you lay out the 1) COURSE OF ACTION prescribed by the idea, and 2) EXPECTED OUTCOME of what you believe this course of action will bring about.

B, you hide the COURSE OF ACTION, go and talk with COMPANY X about the EXPECTED OUTCOME, and if they like it, you ask what absolute amount of money, or what part of fortune they would be ready to share if this would happen today.

C, you discount the amount of value retrospectively based on time value of money, so as to make the amount requested for EXPECTED OUTCOME appear reasonably smaller. *

If they like it, you simply ask them to respond with an e- mail signed with their private key, with the words AGREE, PLEASE REVEAL ME THE IDEA.

Then, you respond them with the idea, encrypted with their private key, and signed with yours. When time comes, you have the proof that you had shared the idea, and that certain part of the fortune belongs to you.

They promise, you bet -- a probet :)


* Of course, you might want the reward to correlate with the percentage of the expected outcome that actually came true, so, you could detail that by adding expected events of the expected outcome in probability-descending order, and associate the fractions of the total expected reward, so as to make the payments or acquisitions of ownership incremental over time.

A probet may include a non-disclosure agreement, and ideally provides an idea with a course of action that is really the best possible thing to do, thus motivating the recipient to do it rather than something else.

Inyuki, Dec 04 2016

USPTO advanced search, less than regex, yet pretty nifty http://patft.uspto..../PTO/search-adv.htm
[beanangel, Dec 07 2016]

Obligatory XKCD link https://xkcd.com/827/
Similar - but different. [AusCan531, Dec 08 2016]


       Too many companies have a "Not Invented Here" policy to utterly ignore all outside ideas. Alas.
Vernon, Dec 05 2016

       I would like to read some stories of companies that took an idea from an outsider and shared with the outside the proceeds from developing that outsider's idea. I like to imagine that could happen.
bungston, Dec 05 2016

       I respect the thought behind this idea and would like to see it work. But I'm not holding out any hope because most large companies are psychopaths.
the porpoise, Dec 05 2016

       [Vernon], I'm so surprised that such policies even exist...   

       [bungston], that would be very very interesting! I've never heard of such stories, but the logic does not prevent their existence.   

       // because most large companies are psychopaths //   

       So, perhaps we need a legal instrument to deal with them... ?
Inyuki, Dec 06 2016

       One problem is knowing whether or not someone in the company has already had the idea. Ideas often sit apparently neglected for some time if there are challenges to their implementation or there are other ideas that have a higher return on investments. If the company agrees to pay for an unknown idea without seeing it, they may end up paying for an idea that they were already planning to implement in half a year anyway.   

       The "proper" way to do this is for the person with the idea to file a patent, then send that to the company and offer reasonable licensing terms (or sell the patent). Unfortunately the patent system is basically broken for that purpose.   

       My opinion is that for most fields, the patent system should be replaced with a system where everyone publishes what they are working on in a system somewhat like the HalfBakery. Other people could contribute to the ideas if they had improvements. Then there would need to be some system to reward the contributors to any idea that was a large commercial success or that impacted the world in a positive way.   

       The problem is creating a system where this can happen without it devolving into an argument about who should be compensated how much (which is basically what is wrong with the patent system).
scad mientist, Dec 06 2016

       It is rational for companies to be psychopaths: self-interested, unempathetic and remorseless. A company is a tool, and a hammer should have those same qualities.   

       Inyuki - because of your idea I was hoping you might have such stories. I suspect they do not exist.   

       Problem A: under this scheme the companies are buying the proverbial pig in a poke. They agree to share profits without knowing the scheme.   

       Problem B: when company learns of scheme and they are already doing it, or have thought of doing it (as scad's anno describes), they will not want to pay Outsider. He will be Grumpy. When company later brings scheme to market, Outsider will claim they have ripped him off.   

       I am so pleased that the Halfbakery allows me to unload my halfbaked schemes that I would otherwise be peddling as the manic Outsider to various uninterested parties. BUT should one of these parties read one of my schemes here and be so enamored of it that they are hungry for more, my email is right there on my profile and my hourly rate is cheap! 800 ideas later and that has happened once, by a guy who wanted to harness lightning power using a method I described. I encouraged him to instead look into cribbage.
bungston, Dec 06 2016

       Ideas alone are worthless. Execution matters, & is tons of work/capital/time.   

       The HB itself is testament to that fact.   

       I've interviewed at some big companies & gave them my ideas. A few have turned up in their products years later. Who's to say that some of their own people didn't just independently stumble on those same ideas? It's likely.   

       I bet 90%+ of those ideas you pitch would, in fact, be already kicked around inside the company & dismissed/delayed/etc. The idea itself is not what has the value.   

       If you truly do believe that the idea itself has intrinsic value, then by all means do the effort to extract that value. If it was truly a differentiating idea that would beat company X if they didn't do it, then found company Y & beat them. Not so easy, is it?   

       Stick to the HB & freely exchange ideas to foster creativity & novelty. Extracting $ from ideas alone remains hard.
sophocles, Dec 06 2016

       // Ideas alone are worthless. //   

       This is a bit of a cliche saying. It's like saying that Pythagoras' Theorem is worthless. Obviously, the outcome ("computed hypotenuses") can be of demand. However, as [scad] pointed this out, to prevent the claims that they were already planning to use this method, we should ask for confirmation and promise, that their company doesn't know a method of achieving specific results. Just like you could ask someone to promise that they don't know how to compute the hypotenuse of right triangles before revealing Pythagoras' Theorem. An idea is a METHOD, a subject of demand. The difference from the demand in ordinary commodities though, you only need one item of it to get billions of jobs done. (one Pythagoras' Theorem to compute gazillions of hypotenuses). Ideas are not worthless, they are priceless, and only have upper bound of value with respect to specific entity's resources and objectives, and that's where specific value estimates (and bets) can be made.
Inyuki, Dec 07 2016

       Without first-to-invent protecting inventors the whole system is fucked.   

       Paying someone else for the right to claim original thoughts as ones own is a con job.   

       Corporate entities being given the rights of personhood is a con job.   

       Being told that "if you don't vote you don't get the right to complain" is the biggest fucking con job ever.   

       I'm tired of con men.
Maybe they need to go.

       So I spend say two years on the Halfbakery, reading , learning, being critiqued and critiquing. My mind and logic grows.   

       I have an idea. It's my idea. I don't owe anyone, anything.   

       That doesn't seem right.
wjt, Dec 07 2016

       // Ideas alone are worthless. Execution matters, & is tons of work/capital/time.   


       Having helped many independent inventors patent their inventions and been privy to their business plans and the ups and downs of marketing new inventions, I can add the below datapoints on how to (possibly) succeed at this.   

       1. Make/have interpersonal connections. Know the guy who can introduce you to the girl at company X who runs product development. Or better, know the guy who can introduce you to company X's biggest customer and market the idea to the customer. The customer may say "great idea, but we only deal with company X" and you say "fancy that, I'm reaching out to company X". Company X becomes suddenly all attentive when their customer wants what you have.   

       2. Prototype and market the invention yourself. There are tonnes of resources for doing this today. Go on Kickstarter/etc and build interest. Company X doesn't want to buy your patent/idea and have to figure out how to make/sell the product. They would much rather buy your tiny startup company who has figured most of it out already. Companies have experience buying companies. They know how to do it. Buying a patent/idea and giving it to their engineers to work out is just something that most companies don't know how to do.   

       With #2 you're a bit like Company X's own skunkworks. You take the initial risk and do something they are incapable of. When it starts to look like a sure thing, they step in and scale it up.   

       3. Partner with Company X. Again, start up a small company to make and supply your widget to Company X to complement their product line. They may help you by connecting you to their suppliers, so that you can actually build the thing. Like #2 this is risk mitigation by Company X. They'd rather you fail and have to drop your product than take the risk themselves and potentially have to let people go if it tanks.   

       All of the above involve extensive prototyping and marketing, if not outright small-scale production. Selling a mere idea is fantasy. Selling a patent is fantasy, but you may get a small bite just for a patent, in which case the company likely is reducing risk (again!) by taking the patent off the market.   

       So yeah, established companies tend to be risk averse and buying an idea from someone who walks in the front door is extremely risky.
the porpoise, Dec 07 2016

       //So I spend say two years on the Halfbakery, reading , learning, being critiqued and critiquing. My mind and logic grows.
I have an idea. It's my idea. I don't owe anyone, anything.
That doesn't seem right.//

       Anyone can learn things already known by others. How many can go beyond what they've learned and create that which does not yet exist?   

       "That" rare trait is to be encouraged, not shit on by those who can only learn what they are taught and no inventor should need to kiss corporate ass or pay to have their art-works acknowledged as their own.   

       Oh my gosh porpoise I got tired just reading your datapoints. Knowing people? Partnering? Going? These verbs!   

       I too am skeptical of the worth of ideas. Then I wonder about Seekers who pony up cash for ideas on Innocentive. I wonder: do they really want the ideas, or do they want to prove they have been looking for ideas? Or are they patent trolls that want to incorporate and protect every permutation when they patent?   

       wjt if your guilt is keeping you up at night and you feel you owe something, might I suggest photos of successful projects to raise morale among the armchair crew. Your baking of the Rebar pen and posting images made me so happy. My mom too. I was also very, very happy when I saw the Bobblehead Hydra, even tho it was not my idea. Baked ideas make happiness!
bungston, Dec 07 2016

       A lot of Innocentive challenges leave ownership with the originator of the idea but give a licence to the seeker. I don't think patent trolling is the main angle.   

       Seekers do get to see all the ideas and pay only for the one they like best. It's like mass hiring consultants and only having to pay one of them. That's the value to Seekers. You get 500 consultants working for free, 50 of them deliver a coherent idea, 5 of those are half decent, and you only have to pay for 1! At the same time you get free survey data from a sample of interested, ostensible experts.
the porpoise, Dec 07 2016

       In my Solutions I am going to start playing up my ostensibility.
bungston, Dec 07 2016

       Something I have never tried, that I thought might work. The uspto.gov [link] has a not quite regex search engine. You can find only those ideas that have been assigned to another company during the last three months, as well as the people's contact information, which might include email.   

       So using that database gives you the ability to directly correspond with individuals that have just successfully transferred technology (possibly related to yours) to another company, likely for money. basically you found the Right People to email.
beanangel, Dec 07 2016

       [bungston] You are so right. Especially ideas that can be shown to work and anyone can do them.   

       Wanting a return for work done is not selfish but wanting a monopoly or total control is a slightly different story.   

       After thinking, 'Shit why didn't i think of that' , It takes a bigger person to say 'that's a definite improvement on my idea, well done'.
wjt, Dec 08 2016

       That bigger person often then says "And now I will take it from you."
bungston, Dec 08 2016

       //Without first-to-invent protecting inventors the whole system is fucked.// From the way you talk, [2fries], anyone would think you had an axe to grind with the patent system.   

       Incidentally, how's the dowsing?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2016

       Finding underground water is easy.
Finding sense in the patent system on the other hand... not so much.

       Theft of first-to-invent and denying artists claim to their own artwork unless they pay extortion money is criminal.   

       The axe is plenty sharp enough already, would you like to borrow my grinder?   

       [2fries] Just do it. The internet and media are such that when you have your court test case on the patent system, inventors and tinkerers all around the world will support you. If it is that unfair, the system is designed, in theory, to change.
wjt, Dec 10 2016

       Sense of the patent system...look at it this way. The patent system is designed to disseminate technical knowledge, to spill secrets and break guilds. How does the state achieve this? It dangles the possibility of monopoly and riches in front of inventors.   

       First to invent is not in reality what most people expect. First to invent was a way of settling contests between patent applicants. It did not protect an inventor who kept their invention secret. And it required diligence, time, and money to prove. Most first inventors lost to second inventors who were first to the patent office. This is a quantified fact.   

       Nobody owns ideas. The patent system gives you a very limited monopoly for a short period of time, if you meet many conditions along the way. It is an expection. It is there to tease out secrets from those who think they can own ideas.
the porpoise, Dec 10 2016

       //First to invent is not in reality what most people expect. First to invent was a way of settling contests between patent applicants. It did not protect an inventor who kept their invention secret. And it required diligence, time, and money to prove. Most first inventors lost to second inventors who were first to the patent office. This is a quantified fact.   

       Nobody owns ideas. The patent system gives you a very limited monopoly for a short period of time, if you meet many conditions along the way. It is an expection. It is there to tease out secrets from those who think they can own ideas.//   

       Oh I am well aware that the kudos for most inventions have been stolen by others.
First to invent is truth plain and simple.

       From birth I have had the right to merely publically disclose any new innovation to claim it as my own in this country up until 1998.
Until it can be proven that date of origination of my actual original innovation is 'not' mine, then I need not pay a dime to stake my claim to the intellectual property since it has indeed been disseminated quite publically without fees.
That this eliminates middle-men just makes me happy.
Whether the limited monopoly allows me to capitalize on the concept in the short amount of time allowed is irrelevant to the concept being attributed to the actual original thinker.

       Anything else is a con you've been fed and... choose to conform to.   

       I do not.   

       My original publically declared thoughts belong to me by right of birth.
...and I will have them back from the thieves who stole them.

       <expletives deleted>   

       What happened in 1998 and in which country?
the porpoise, Dec 11 2016

       Canada stole first-to-invent from its citizen's constitution in 98, the States stole it from their constitution in 2013 under pressure from big business to stimulate innovation. The UK was conned out of their FTI right back in 1883.   

       By doing so they have also taken 'freedom of expression without penalty' from their people since we can no longer discuss ideas in public without forfeiting them to the state.   

       It's probably best not to get me started about the corrupt bastards again...
<walks away muttering something about asses and foot-shoving>


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