donderdag 29 december 2011

Benford law

Again a topic not so related to patents, though still of a puzzling beauty:

I 've just stumbled upon the mystery of Benford law in one of the video's of the Khan Academy:

This law dictates that the first digit distribution of naturally occurring random numbers is not at all randomly distributed, instead occurs in a certain distribution. For curiosity's sake, i have made an excel matrix with in each cell only the first digit of the product of any number of 1-99 (lined up in rows) and any number of 1-9 (lined up in columns)..

much to my surprise, these random numbers (with random first digits) multiplied with random numbers (also with random first digits) results in a mysterious mathematical distribution of the first digit....

Below I 've showed the matrix with the results. If you want to expand the matrix, for each cell I 've used the function VALUE (LEFT($A2*B$1;1)) returning the first digit of the product of A2 and B1. After adding some color, the following art piece is the result:

When plotting the frequency of each of the first digits of the occurring results, it becomes clear that the randomness of this distribution is gone. In this graph, each line represents the frequency distribution of first digits in a column of the above depicted matrix.

From this graph, it is shown that in order to destroy randomness of the first digit, multiplication with 2 will do best, more than 50% of the results obtains 1 as first digit. On the other hand, multiplication with 9 the least disturbs the randomness of the first digit.

The total frequency of first digits of the entire matrix is:

which closely resembles the Benford Law chart shown by Sal....


woensdag 28 december 2011

about innovation monetization

In order to get a grasp of the game of licensing, the following two books may be very useful: "The Patent" by Robert Bruce Kennedy and "One simple idea" by Stephen Key.

When you are not familiar with any of these books, it is recommended to first read "the Patent", a terrifying story about what could go wrong in finding a licensee without having a thorough knowledge of the licensing trade. Kennedy gives an excellent insight in theft of invention and to what consequences that may lead.

The general message from Kennedy's book can be sublimated to "protect your ideas well"

The second book is a great eye opener in how to best license ideas. This is a very hands-on guide in how to bring ideas and inventions in ten practical steps to successful licensing contracts. In Key's book the essence in successful licensing resides in solving the question: "will it sell?". The sooner this question is answered the sooner the bad ideas can be separated from the good ones and time, effort and resources can be more efficiently be dedicated to the good inventions. A good protection, prototyping, production, logistics, raw materials, search for investors etc. etc. all is made subordinate to this question. What is needed is a proper sell sheet, and a powerful benefit statement.

The general message from Key's book is "protect your ideas with minimal effort and find out if it will sell".

In this light, a relatively new development is taking place that is able to answer the question “will it sell?” before production and development of the idea have started. This development is known as crowdfunding.  On most crowdfunding initiatives, a project requires a certain sum of money, a threshold which should be reached within a certain time. Some initiatives allow an overshoot, some don't. Most crowdfunding websites do not pay out when the threshold is not reached. 

At the moment, the most successful initiative available in the United States is Kickstarter. Over 10 000 projects have been successfully sourced, only in the last three years. For all of the successful projects, the answer to the question "will it sell?" was affirmed. We do need this fascinating new “bringing inventions to the market” in Europe badly. 

Therefore I appeal to Kickstarter to open up its European branch as soon as possible!


[1] R.B. Kennedy, "The Patent" (2008).

[2] S. Key, "One Simple Idea" (2011).