Here is what happens when a talented engineer wants to giveaway his secrets. In fact he wants to transfer his knowledge on his “universal robot” to youth for a start up and mentorship opportunity. Here is my latest column from The Times, where I examine entrepreneurship in rural Prince Edward County, Ontario. While the column is about business, people and “place”, I believe many of the stories I write about can happen in many communities across the globe.
Serendipity and community are themes that seem to keep coming up as I continue to meet and write about people and business in the county. One of my first county experiences was meeting Kathy Kennedy, then proprietor of the Devonshire B&B, long before the Drake showed up. I don’t remember her and her husband David’s story but I do remember the notion of serendipity and community. I remember Kathy talking about coming to the county and buying the Devonshire somewhat serendipitously. I also remember her saying in a community like this your friends are less about your age group like they are in the city and more about common interests and shared community.
Speaking of serendipity, I received an e-mail a few months back from a gentleman by the name of Peter Carpenter, he had an invention and he was looking for a home for it. It was a bit of an unusual request but we met and he has an interesting story.
Peter was introduced to the county via his psychiatrist wife’s work colleague Dr. Paul Patterson. Peter and wife enjoyed their visits to the county that they too discovered somewhat serendipitously and they decided to buy a fixer upper on Salmon Point Road of all places right next to The Hayloft and fix it up they did.
Peter is an engineer and spent an interesting and rewarding career at IBM starting in 1962, primarily at a test engineering facility in Don Mills. This was a testing and trouble shooting facility where Peter become involved in circuit board work. In those days (the 60’s & 70’s) big corporations were not really looking for creativity in workers, rather uniformity. However part of the testing process involved the “sandbox” which was where ideation and brainstorming was necessary to solve problems creatively. Peter a natural creative problem solver latched on to the idea of creative thinking and has become a bit of a student and follower of the practice ever since.
Peter enjoyed a long and successful problem solving career at IBM. Retired now, Peter enjoys creating things. Based on his circuit board experience he’s come up with something called a “universal robot”. In a nutshell it is a circuit board based robot that he can create many things from. He introduced me to “Tabitha” a toy cat game where an electronic baby cat and mother cat talk to each other and find each other, ironically in a cat ’n mouse kind of way. The circuit board and robot can have a variety of gizmo’s integrated into it such as motion sensors, speakers, voice, lights and more. Peter has just finished another iteration of the universal robot. This one is an electronic dog that barks at ducks who leave too many droppings on a friend’s lawn. The possibilities are quite endless as is Peter’s creativity and problem solving skills.
Now this is where things get interesting. Peter is not a business man (self confessed), he has this idea to have someone else, perhaps some youth in the county take on his ideas and grow his ideas and technology into a business opportunity. Peter sees himself as a mentor and knowledge transfer agent as part of this process. He is willing to help those with a keen entrepreneurial interest to take his ideas to the marketplace. So investors, this could include you too. Peter’s investment is his intellectual property and time. His return on investment is in knowing that he has helped those in the community with an opportunity. So this is a call to all those budding, young county entrepreneurs. If you are interested in working with a mentor on a technology prototype / concept and take it to the next level this may be your opportunity.
Wow, unusual indeed and what a fantastic opportunity. It’s nice to see that those with so much to give in the community reaching out to those in the community with so much to gain. Sounds like serendipity may be working it’s magic once again in the county. To reach Peter, contact me for further details.
If you liked this article, please share it with somebody who could use the information via e-mail or your other social media links. If you didn’t like the post or see room for improvement please share that with me as well.
I work with companies on their marketing, lead generation and sales throughout their life cycle – from start ups, to expansions to exit strategies and the sale of the company. My clients are from the private sector and public sector including economic development and tourism based organizations. Let me know if you have any projects you need help getting started on in 2016.
I offer FREE 60 minute strategy sessions to get people started or back on track. For more information e-mail me or give me a call today.
Is your marketing working the way you would like it to, do you need help, want more leads and more business? Download my 9 Step System for Marketing Success “Cheat Sheet” , the system is designed to get substantial free publicity and new business. This is the exact formula I used to create $150 million in incremental development, 400% growth in tourism, millions of dollars in free publicity (national, regional and local newspaper, magazine & blog articles, radio & tv interviews and programming) more than 10 x my marketing budget and helped to create and a new identity for an old “brand” and community. Don’t let those big numbers scare you. This is a process and a system that is scalable up or down.