Patent Protection: Friendships hold up betterThe first question most people ask when I tell them SWAYY's story seems to ring in my ears on a daily basis, and honestly, I think it adds more legitimacy to a brand than actual protection. The question is: “Have you gotten a patent yet?”
I decided a few months ago that filling out an application for a patent provisional here in the US (patent protection for 12 months with very little up-front cost) would be a good idea for several reasons: first, it adds legitimacy to the SWAYY brand, and secondly, it allows me to shut down the question of “Have you patented your idea yet?”.
Over the past few months, all this talk of patents and legal protection has caused me to reflect on what it means to be doing business in China and the kind of work relationships one should expect. Should I get a patent in China? If so, how good would it be? Should I mistrust my manufacturer in the first place? Do I have the capital to enforce any legal action if I was cheated and ripped off? For that matter, could I do anything if something were to happen to us in the states?
One thing has become abundantly clear to me that much of the world throws by the wayside: people are people, and it’s much harder to rip off someone who you know as a friend. And I mean a real friend — the kind of friend who sends you photos of their toddlers and cracks funny jokes with you. I believe that friendships hold up much better than any stack of ink and paper held together by a three-ring binder. Friends are bonded by trust, respect, and a deep understanding for who you are and what you stand for.
A piece of wisdom that is becoming increasingly apparent is that your network is your net-worth. I am incredibly fortunate and blessed to have the connections that I have today. Just to give you an idea, I have confirmed that there is only one degree of separation between myself and influencers like Richard Branson, Snoop Dog, Michael Jordan, and Barak Obama, which is beyond crazy… or is it? Does this really mean anything? I would argue not until I get to know them, but the possibilities are exciting.
I am here to offer some encouragement. I believe that today, this week, this year, is an incredibly amazing time to be alive. You can literally meet anyone and become anything. I am optimistic because regardless of who you are and where you sit, you have an opportunity to learn from the largest database in the world, the internet, and create value for others on a scale that ten years ago would have been laughed at!
That being said, each day I get up and I have one purpose. It’s not to make the best hammocks in the world (although that is a goal). My purpose—SWAYY’s purpose—is to build relationships that are long-lasting and create value for everyone involved. Being able to help others is equal to adding value. For example, connecting a designer with a project means adding value. In all we do we should add value, period.
Being an entrepreneur is all about making friends, connecting others and bringing value to anyone and everyone. Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you want to make a difference? Then here’s to step #1: Get up, get out, and go build some friendships — you’ll be amazed at where you’ll end up.
Founder of SWAYY
p.s. This month The WAYY Vlog is a bit longer, but it tells a bit more of the in depth story of SWAYY. I hope you enjoy it!