Well, generally am optimistic, but recent events are starting to make me pesimistic.. Seems that programs begin with good thoughts in mind. Also small companies start with good thoughts in mind. Our eperience after 34 years in business is once we gain a good customer, we keep him. That is because we are always interested in the customer's problem,, not ours.
The same might be said when the government started SBIR. They had needs, and if you could solve their problem then, no matter how large or small, if you had an idea and they liked it, it was funded. Supposed to work that way now, however the small guy is now encourage to partner. Nothing wrong with that. Two heads always beat one.
One problem. In todays world it is becoming more and more about money, and greed now enters the picture. We innovate and do not wish to produce anything other than ideas and good research. Our sucess rate in solving problems has been excellent and people are happy with our services.
It is the commercialization part that becomes the problem, especially today when things become micro or macro in size.It used to be when you partnered you could take a person at their word. More recently you need to be very careful, because it appears that greed and lack of ethics has entered the picture.Instead of a co-operative effort to create products for new markets, once your idea becomes known somehow the producer finds a way to have a better idea and backs out. This has now happened to us on several occassions. For instance we recently had an idea for making or repairing a part quickly and cheaply at the site of the failure. Initially we found several manufacturers that were anxious to participate and then backed off.As far as we can see, the investment required to proceed was small to nil for the large markets that would open. Yet in the end, greed toke over and what apreared to be a good deal was aborted under the guise that more than the dollars allocated were inflated way out of proportion. In past years the joke was that the Brooklyn Bridge had been sold so many times to the gullible. Well, today greed and relaxation of ethics is making the sale of the Brookly Bridge a reality once more.
We have also been encouraged to patent our ideas. We have done this and were awarded five patents within the last five years. We know there is infringement. Yet to defend the patents would be foolish and drive us into bankruptcy. Maybe it is not true "let the buyer beware" but more true to beware of the greed and decrease in ethics.