“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” (attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, although he probably didn’t say it in that way). That’s not necessarily true. In fact, it’s not likely true. At least not for a long time. A look at the records of the Patent Office reveal that many people have built better things than what were currently available, but those things were never offered for sale. Perhaps most things that are patented are ridiculous and have little chance of ever being developed into a product that can be sold widely, but there are many patents for good products that were never developed. If virtually no one knows about a better mousetrap, they will not beat a path to the door of the inventor.

Once something worthy of people’s consideration has been created, be it a product or a service, people have

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