Make Decisions And Commit
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs3/10/2021
Make Decisions And Commit
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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we tend to think that uh intellectual property patents trademarks that kind of thing is higher on the list but we also are ready to acknowledge that uh sometimes maybe getting together a prototype might be a little more important than getting that patent today if you have to choose between you know one one or the other and so it a lot of times just being able to make those decisions um and then commit to it you know and we're here we're really here to help businesses make those decisions you know we're not we're not going to try and build you out of money and get you to make a decision that you're going to regret later we want to we want your business to be successful and so we're going to help you kind of navigate what's the best path particularly in regards to intellectual property [Music] hey everyone this is devon miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we've uh we're doing a bit of a different episode which is so we you know miller ip law we have some great attorneys i'm a great attorney but i'm not the only one there's also a lot of awesome attorneys here at the the firm and so wanted to introduce a bit of what the other attorneys are not just you know what they are their education i went to this law school or i went to got this degree but really what the journey is it took them to where they're at today in their career field with working with miller ip law wanting to work with startups and small businesses and kind of tell that bit of that story so with that we have uh one of the attorneys that's a miller ip law and we're going to go through his journey to give you a bit of a background so his name is jedi knight the first question everybody asks is that really is his name and he'll he'll give you the answer to that but beyond that he's one of the attorneys does a great job he's been with the firm for coming up on a couple years now so with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast jedi thank you devin glad to be here so maybe you know kind of where we always started and we'll start the same places that we always do kind of where you started with your journey so take us back a little bit in your mind or back in history so to speak to when you're an undergraduate what were you studying and kind of as you're coming out of undergraduate how did you decide to go to law school so i actually went to um into my undergraduate program knowing that i wanted to go into patent law it's something that i've been interested in for a long time uh partly because my growing up my dad always told us stories of kind of being the jilted inventor that got built by a big company you know so one story that he tells a lot is that he uh he used to be an optician and he designed some new frames and lenses and wanted to start manufacturing those he had a business partner they got together put the design together did a prototype and then sent it to a manufacturer in i want to say it was in china the manufacturer was super excited at first and said yeah we want to work with you i'm getting this going and then they just kind of went radio silent and that's never that's never a good thing anytime anybody goes radio silent it makes you nervous yeah exactly and so um i i think another year went by and uh my dad was just in another optical office and there on the shelf were was his exact design and he looked at it and sure enough it had been completely ripped off he you know obviously upset when he goes and talks to attorney an attorney and the attorney said well did you get a patent and he said what's a patent i want to get one right now i i want to get a patent so uh he was kind of out of luck right and so he's got a few other kind of interesting stories about business that way um it just kind of inspired me to want to get into this field to help small businesses entrepreneurs solo inventors set themselves up the best they can for success later on down the road so i started my journey as an undergrad studying physics i studied physics and minored in biology and the idea was to learn as much as i possibly could across as as great a variety of different uh technical areas so you know in physics when you do physics and biology you study everything from mechanical engineering principles to chemistry biochemistry um and then uh you know obviously diving in to the details on um principles of physics electromagnetism and that kind of thing so i tried to get a you know a broad kind of base of understanding a variety of technical fields um and then went into law school knowing that i wanted to become a patent attorney so so now you so you graduate from undergraduate and that's that's great they knew you were going to be i don't know when i i i kind of had an idea when i got to the end of engineering school that i wanted to i didn't want to be an engineer and that's kind of what i always said i liked engineering but i didn't want to be an engineer so you you set out much earlier on the journey of knowing what you wanted to do but now you get into law school and you went to byu or byu pro you went to byu idaho for undergraduate and byu provo for law school right yeah that's correct yeah so and you get into law school and was it everything that you envisioned and everything you wanted in other words you set up your whole career heading towards law school was it just what you wanted and envisioned and you had a great time or was it any different um it was a challenge and a lot of it was because i when i got in i didn't quite know what my career path was going to look like you know a lot of people they'll they'll get in and they're like yeah i want to become a prosecutor and so they're you know going and doing externships and courtships with different municipalities or with the state right to be a prosecutor or a lot of people know yeah i want to go the big firm route and so they're just studying their butts off and getting good grades and getting hired with you know huge firms and uh that kind of thing and i i had a few clerkships with some big firms and um it never quite felt right in the sense uh that how those businesses run they tend to be oriented towards the larger institutional clients um clients that are you know multi-billion dollar companies that just kind of are patent mills right and just churn out tons and tons of patents and they just have teams and teams of engineers right and so um it it it didn't feel like i was accomplishing the goal that i had set out to do and so um ended up actually right after law school landing a job with a a small startup incubator called hall labs and they uh fund and kind of house and help get off the ground a number of different startups and my job was to go in and work directly with the top engineers the ceos the owners of the companies to get an idea of what they envisioned the world should look like with their technology and then see how we could use patents to create that you know make that vision a reality for them um no no and i i said that that i i'm right there with you in the sense and this is a to the audience we actually knew each other briefly where with one of the other firms we both worked at but we had the experience and that was kind of the same thing i came to conclusion was and mine was i always say it's kind of we always feel like you're a much smaller cog in a big wheel when you work for the big companies right in the sense that you get to see a very small portion of what the overall thing that they're working on at half the time i would work for like intel or others and i'd be like i don't know where this is going or if it's ever going to get implemented how much of an impact of it because you know they turn through a lot of patents and some never come to the light of day and others do it but you know with the startups and small businesses kind of like even hall labs you get a what they're working on is what what your patent is what they're working on and what they're trying to bring to market and it has a much different feel and dynamic which i think is a lot more fun yeah very very true so i worked with hall labs for a little over a year [Music] the company started going in a direction with their intellectual property that kind of departed from what i wanted to do with my career i i realized that i wanted to have a more traditional role as an attorney and at that time i was not i was kind of in a hybrid engineer patent writer you know patent harvester role um and so it was it was fun to experiment with that and to learn some new things and to get some experience but ultimately decided that's not the direction i wanted to go with my career so i actually took a little time off from doing patents and worked for a company that builds shooting ranges i got to travel the world it was excellent it was amazing i went uh all over the world i was in canada denmark uh abu dhabi i was in the middle east i was in the middle east when the iranians and the us navy were duking it out in the persian gulf i'd like to joke that me and some of my co-workers were were um cruising around on jet skis while you know we were 50 miles from war or something it was kind of fun but one question just before you depart that that i had was you know so you were you know that's a fairly large departure from you know from the legal field in the sense it's really largely unrelated uh to the legal field so how did you kind of come to that a career hey i want to i want to take a break and i get that you know there's a myriad of reasons why you take a break from a career can be everything from i'm just burned out i've worked too many hours to hey this isn't what i wanted i'm going to take a breather kind of reevaluate reassess and go do something fun that's exciting for a period of time what was kind of the motivation for kind of making that or taking that breath and then how did you kind of get to doing shooting ranges that you're traveling all over the world yeah it would honestly it was kind of opportunistic so i when i had decided that i wanted to go somewhere else i knew i was going to need to study for the patent bar and take pan bar and also take this state bar exam and prepare for that and i was going to need to do something where i wasn't burning a whole bunch of my mental capacity while i was preparing for you know two of the biggest exams i would take in my entire life and so i just kind of started looking for part-time jobs or you know things that i knew would be at least not very mentally taxing and this job just popped up and the job posting was you know something like you know doing construction installing shooting ranges traveling the world and i thought that's always the best job save the world it doesn't matter yeah so um i i just saw it and i thought well i'll give it a shot it turned out that the their headquarters their international headquarters are like uh were two blocks from my house and so i literally walked down there handed over my resume they said do you have some construction experience and i say yeah i had some construction experience a while ago and they said okay that's all we need to know can you pass a drug test yeah i could pass a drug test okay let's get you on so that's a pretty that's not a high bar to beat so i was like i guess if you don't have construction experience it sounds like you could have said yes or they would have just hired you anyway yeah yeah so i mean it would have definitely shown if i hadn't had that experience because you really hit the ground running and stuff but um you know and so i did that while i prepared for and took the bar exams and then i actually you know i really kind of dug in there and was then ended up being promoted to lead installer fastest in the company history six months and they put me ahead at the head of several teams in fact uh one of the last jobs that i did with the company they um it was one of the most important jobs that they were doing they were trying to win more contracts with a government contractor and we built a huge indoor shooting range a full tactical range for uh the air force and so it was a it's it was a huge kind of learning and growing experience managing other people managing a huge project working with other uh subcontractors working with the general contractor to get this huge project uh completed so i learned a lot doing that eventually kind of decided you know i've had my fun i need to get back into that's right i've found out that america is the best country and the united states of america is the best country and that's where i want to stay so um i'm i'm teasing a little bit so uh anyways just decided i wanted to get uh back into practicing law now that i'd had you know past the bar exam um i was doing a little bit of work for some clients kind of on the side uh on my own and uh one of our mutual friends said um hey you know devin's uh starting up his own firm uh you might want to reach out to him and so i i don't remember if it was you that reached out or i reached out or anyways we started that conversation and you know from all with all the goals of miller ip of serving of building the firm around serving small businesses entrepreneurs startups and you know catering to the unique needs that those entities have i just saw a lot of synergy there with what i wanted to do with my career and what i wanted to do as patent attorney and that's what i decided to do join the firm yeah and i think to fill it i think i was i'd reached out to sam and i said hey you know i started my own firm we're growing a bit we're bringing on more clients i've kind of outstripped what i can do just on my own do you know of anybody to be good and he says well you know you know we worked and we and as i mentioned we'd worked a little bit for the the previous firm and sentence as well i know that jedi you know with i liked jedi we both knew him and he was he would i think i think he's uh in the market or kind of looking to kind of move back or you know get back into the having taken his break and so i think i reached out to you and said hey let's are you interested and then we we went from there and you were in abu dhabi so i think i hired you without actually having faced or in person oh that's right actually we started out and hired john and you came back to the states so it's been uh been a fun or fun fun to have you on and it's been great well as we kind of now so that's kind of your journey and uh so as we always you're kind of at the end of each podcast we always ask a couple questions one of them probably isn't quite as soothing but the second one i always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the the one piece of advice you'd give them yeah i i think triage is important in a small business you know there's there's always 10 million things to do right 10 million things to tackle and you just got to make a list of what's most important and start from the top and work your way down and that includes when it comes to dedicating financial resources to different tasks and that kind of thing we tend to think that uh intellectual property patents trademarks that kind of thing is higher on the list but we also are ready to acknowledge that uh sometimes maybe getting together a prototype might be a little more important than uh getting that patent today if you have to choose between you know one one or the other and so it a lot of times just being able to make those decisions and then commit to it you know and and we're here we're really here to help businesses make those decisions you know we're not we're not going to try and build you out of money and get you to make a decision that you're going to regret later we want to we want your business to be successful and so we're going to help you kind of navigate what's the best path particularly in regards to intellectual property yeah no and i like that and it's one lesson that i and continue to still learn but even after having done several startups and small businesses and run those it's i i always came to the conclusion it also kind of almost plays into a little bit of work-life balance and i always came to the conclusion that there's always fires to put out there's always more things to do than time to do it and so every day i get up work hard you're going to try and put out as many fires as you can try and get as much things as done and then you let the rest of the fires burn and you deal with the next fires tomorrow type of a thing because otherwise you're never if you try and tackle all the lists you never triage it you try and get everything done you don't get anything done well if you get anything done you don't get anything done well and so i think that's a great piece of advice and i like the idea that you know i think the tenant that both you and i have in the firm in general is that we we look at not just hey how can how can we get money out of this client and you know as a short-term gain and you know let's always recommend a patent but or a trademark or whatever it is rather say you know if we're here to hold you to our tenants of doing start helping startups and small businesses with their with their business then we have to say what would we do in our shoes what would make sense and maybe that's not today maybe that's six months or maybe it's never but giving that honest advice i think is a great a great piece as well yeah yeah thank you for coming on the podcast it's been a it's been fun i learned some things and i never knew about your journey as well so it was insightful to me and i hopefully insightful to everybody else but thank you again for coming on now for all of you that are all of you that are listeners if you uh have your own journey to tell probably not an intellectual property attorney at miller ip law but a journey nonetheless um feel free to go to inventiveguest.com sign up to be on the podcast and we'd love to hear your journey also if you're a subscriber one makes your or your listener one make sure to click subscribe so you get notifications as all our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so new people can hear about us as well and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents or trademarks go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help thanks again jedi and have a good one take care