My First Patent

I actually hate patents. I think they undermine the creativity and progress of technology and startups. There is a great radio program on how software patents are awful and have lost all modern meaning they once held. (Produced by This American Life in 2011)

However, when I was told that there was a bonus involved, I quickly threw my morals to the curb and signed the documents. Yes, I see the dilemma here. How can I be proud of having a thing that I think is terrible?

I have no answer other than plain vanilla greed for money. I won’t justify the patent as “defensive”. I just wanted the money. (Honesty is my brand!)

The patent is for a feature called the Opportunity Influence Analyzer. A nice piece of design, mostly because it hits the emotional heart strings of the marketer. My hypothesis was that marketers (human beings actually) are more interested in anecdotal evidence than statistical certainty.

In other words, a great story is worth a thousand pivot tables.

The design tells the story of a single sale… What happened? Who was involved? What did they do and when? This visualization tells the sales person and the marketer that Sales didn’t do the deal all by themselves. It was a team effort and can be shown visually and clearly.

My mom and dad can now say their son is a patented inventor. (They don’t know what I do anyway) I feel a mixture of pride and embarrassment. Oh well, as Dory from Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming.”

UPDATE: It looks like I have two patents! The other one is all about metadata!  Woo hoo!

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