Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Great Expectations

John McEnroe made good television.

The man we loved to hate, an American spoiled brat with a stupid perm and eye wateringly tight shorts.

Nowadays John would not exist, in the modern game of tennis that is - he does of course still exist.

The John of old would simply challenge and the marvelous Hawkeye would confirm or deny his crybaby outbursts. As much as we loved Johns whining the invention of Hawkeye must go down as one of the best sporting inventions since woman’s beach volleyball. Players have three challenges, use them wisely, and that's that, stop dripping about it and get on and play – perfect if you love tennis.

Some years ago I watched a regional news bulletin and there was a piece about inventers of Hawkeye, who were at the time a bunch of spotty students. They were putting the finishing touches to their invention before approaching the various sporting bodies. I clearly remember remarking at the time that it was a great idea and am sure those spotty students are now being well rewarded for their innovation.

Googling “top 10 great inventions” brings up 1.5million results.
There are a lot of top 10 invention lists out there but they generally contain at least the Telephone, TV, Penicillin, Steam engine and the wheel, which is un-credited, along with fire I would imagine.

All of these are good but if you are looking for that eureka, make a million overnight, moment you probably need to look elsewhere for inspiration. Running down the list they all required a lot of hard work, a sprinkling of luck, a couple of bucket loads of intelligence and more importantly a lifetime of determination.

Google isn’t anywhere to be seen, in fact the most recent addition to the top ten was first invented in 1936.

Alternatively try Googling “how to make a million fast” and you will find 52 million answers. Without even looking I can bet you that none will say develop software which will assist an umpire in disputed calls.

Having browsed the results I can safely tell you they are all shit, or shite depending which side of the border you are reading this from. Granted I only looked at 5 but am assuming the other 51,999,995 were similar. Either way I am no richer having spent 5 mins browsing through the answers. 52 million seems did seem high so as a control I tried Googling “Sex” - clearly Sir Tim Berners-Lee didn't really think his invention through before gifting it to humanity.

516million if you are interested.

None of this has helped me in my invent something and make money from it search.

Generally speaking I have my best ideas as I drift off to sleep or when I am drunk.

The major problem with the first fleeting creative period is it is normally followed by 8 hours of more creativity, during which I save the world, become James Bond and get chased by a strange orange ball, all conspiring to overshadow the real brilliant innovation.
On the odd occasion I have actually woken up to write down my brilliance it somehow changes from a Hawkeye idea into a invent an alternative fuel source idea by the morning and I am back to square one.

The drunken ideas come to me and then normally disappear into a memory black hole As a side note I can attest that there is not much money to be made from being a singer sporting the latest line in Police cones on your head.

Apart from these instances I thankfully haven’t had a Jerry McGuire moment and decided to act upon my epiphany there and then as I tend to find the sober cold light of day is rather good at giving perspective. Unfortunately this same cold light of day hasn't let me act on any of my world changing ideas so far.

I guess as I fast approach 40 I should either decide to split the atom, invent a new fuel, take on Google or, as a fall back solution, knuckle down and try to earn a living in Finance.

A backup career as my father would put it, one to revert to if the worst comes to the worst and my glittering professional footballing career doesn't work out.