As the business-minded half of Food Network's "Invention Hunters" -- in which he stars with "Gadget Nation" author Steve Greenberg -- Patrick Raymond's in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of turning a great idea into a must-have product is on full display.
And while viewers may scratch their heads about some items he and Greenberg choose to champion for a licensing deal, Raymond understands that even a product with broad appeal and an agreeable price is not a sure thing with consumers. That's because of the failure of his own great idea, the ShowerBow -- which the rangy Raymond designed after being repeatedly assailed by a clingy shower curtain -- even after it appeared on HSN and the shelves of Bed, Bath & Beyond.
"And Mr. Smarty-Pants went to business school!" the former advertising executive says, chuckling. "So I'm thinking, 'Wow! If I got it wrong, what chance do inventors who are not formally educated have?' "
Rather than dwell on his losses, Raymond -- who by then had founded the Inventors Association of Manhattan and was serving as executive director of the United Inventors Association -- decided to put the lessons learned to good use.
"There is no system to predict shifting consumer taste ... because shifting consumer taste is, by definition, shifting," he explains. "So I developed InventionScore, an algorithm to formulize what is predictable, so that inventors can have the maximum amount of chances to score a licensing deal or to attract investors for the least amount of money and effort. That's my street cred in the inventing world -- I know how to guide inventors away from all of the pitfalls because I fell into every damned one of them!"
•What are you currently reading?
" 'The Mars Trilogy' by Kim Stanley Robinson - a scientifically respected trilogy on the terraforming prospects of Mars."
•What did you have for dinner last night?
"Raw veggies and lots of them! I was fortunate to have been raised with a more Middle-Eastern/European diet, which is all about freshness, so my palate doesn't react well when things are overprocessed."
•What is your next project?
"Right now, the challenge for inventors is commercialization. So I've come up with a new system to help inventors access that payoff moment."
•When was the last vacation you took - where and why?
"Florida. I play semiprofessional pool, and I thought I would try to learn to golf, because I thought there were similarities in what the Brits call "the spherical arts." I sucked so bad! I'm on the record to say there are no similarities between pool and golf!"
Photo/Video credit: Food Network