The Flux Capacitor
Logically I know better, since I have family members who hold patents, but when I hear the word “inventor,” I tend to envision someone along the lines of Doc in the “Back to the Future” movies — white-coated and white-haired, with excitement about his invention putting a slightly manic look in his eyes.
Thus, I’m especially pleased to take an additional step toward dispelling that pervasive stereotype by featuring the two amazing women in our cover article: Carole Teolis and Carol Politi. Both are electrical engineers. Both hold patents. The two head a technology company on the verge of significant growth, with millions of dollars in capital investments and grants to fund its work.
And neither has flyaway white hair or a manic expression.
These women, along with the other inventors featured in this issue, truly are shaping our future. Their work, and the work of others like them, will determine what that future will look like.
Growing up, my family had one black-and-white television. I was in high school before calculators became commonly available — and what a boon we thought they were. Computers, the World Wide Web and the Internet, mobile phones, not to mention CAT scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines, even the various components of the Hubble Telescope — all these were no more than a (somewhat manic?) gleam in someone’s eye, and then a pending patent, not so long ago.
I envy these inventors who are leading the charge into the unknown. I’m not one of them; I don’t have the background or the imagination. But I’m pleased we can do our small part in introducing them to the world.
I’ll Even Use the Word ‘Synergy’
Not all entrepreneurs are inventors. Certainly not all inventors are entrepreneurs. Its when we introduce the two — the inward-facing inventor who can develop an idea and make it work and the outward-facing entrepreneur who can bring that idea to market — that the magic happens.
As government, academic institutions and economic entities have come to this realization, they are creating avenues to get the two together. Much research and development — “invention” — is done in universities and research laboratories, so a multitude of technology transfer programs boasting acronyms such as ACTiVATE, MIPS, TEDCO and the unpronounceable MTTF have sprung up to provide a conduit to bring these developments to market through the development of technology companies.
Enter the entrepreneur partner, with the fire in his or her belly and the quick wit to usher the product into the marketplace and make customers desire it. Each partner benefits, and so does the public.
Much as I hate the overused term, I’ve got to call that “synergy.”
Joan Waclawski, Editor