From The Vaults

Dayton area doing nothing to nurture our innovators

Thanks to the Fairborn Daily Herald and the (Xenia) Gazette News-Current for publishing the following letter to the editor on Tuesday August 25, 2009.  (The article by Gery Deer to which I referred in the letter was published in those newspapers on Thursday August 13, 2009.  It can be found at  here (


Dayton area doing nothing to nurture our innovators

Gery Deer is exactly right.  The Dayton area IS putting all its eggs in one basket again.  “The City Of A Thousand Factories” has become “The City Of Monolithic Bureaucracy.”

Not only is the Dayton area putting all its eggs in one basket, the basket is not even locally owned!  Everything the local leadership is doing is making the area completely dependent on the federal government!  They’re spending ALL their resources on getting federal jobs here.  The few private sector companies they’re seeking are government contractors!

They’re doing NOTHING to nurture homegrown entrepreneurs – which is what built this city to begin with!  Local innovators virtually created the modern world!  Based on what today’s business leaders are funding and not funding, the world of the future will consist entirely of surveillance technology!

Some might argue that defense deserves all the resources because there might be a war.  Guess what?  We’re ALREADY in a war!  It’s an economic war!  And our opponents are wiping the global floor with us!  Defense cannot exist without an economic base to support it!  It seems that the local leadership would rather see every last job disappear from America than see one job created that’s not controlled by the federal government!

Large numbers of new product ideas are being ignored by the local business leaders.  Thousands of new jobs would have been created by now!  Every day of delay means another six families lose their homes to foreclosure.  Dayton Ohio is the LAST place in the world that should be having the kind of problems it’s having.  We have the world’s greatest wealth of product innovators!  All we lack is business leaders who are willing to make any use of it!

Jeffrey K. Putman,

Professional Engineer

Kettering Ohio


Flu & The System


The worst that could possibly happen would be a repeat of 1918, when the flu killed some fifty million people worldwide.  Most people who “die from the flu” actually have other medical condition that made them weak to begin with.  If you’re normal and healthy, you almost certainly will survive the flu, even though it makes you feel horrible.  Still, there are things you can do to get through it with less suffering.


I survived the last time the country was stricken by a killer flu, in 1958.  I was sick for one week, and lost a pound a day.  That’s not too bad, unless you’re starting at seventeen pounds to begin with!  Then it’s pretty serious.  The doctor’s advice that saved my life was this: bananas and Coca Cola.  That’s it.  No high tech medical equipment, no advanced chemistry.  Just bananas and cola.


Effective medical care doesn’t have to be expensive or government-mandated.  Just some cola to kill the virus and some bananas to replace lost nutrients.  It doesn’t even have to be name brand cola.  Just any old cola, as long as it has phosphoric acid in it.  Vitamin C also helps by amping up the acidity even more.  Recent research indicates that Vitamin D also plays a big role in fighting disease.


You don’t even have to wait to get the flu to start drinking cola.  It makes a good preventive measure!  And even if you do get the flu, it will hit you less severely than it would without the cola.  My uncle once dropped a pretty good sized nail into a bottle of Coke and let it sit overnight.  The next day he poured it out and the nail was gone!  If that’s what phosphoric acid does to a steel nail, think what it will do to a flu virus!


Of course The System would have you believe that you NEED government-mandated injections and any other expensive, intrusive, oppressive measures the government can think up.  The System wants you to panic and demand that the government inject you with poisons and make everyone submit to severe restrictions of their freedom.


The System also wants you to ignore as “old fashioned” anyone old enough to see through The System’s tricks, which they keep pulling on the people over and over and over again – anyone old enough to remember the simple, practical, EFFECTIVE methods of dealing with life’s problems – methods that don’t put you at the mercy of The System by making you dependent on them.


It’s no surprise that The System would use the flu to help promote their agenda of taking control of your health care.  The System is so much like the flu to begin with!  About once every generation, both of them run amok, infecting and sickening everyone whose immune system is not yet able to recognize the virus.  Your body will generate antibodies that can recognize the latest version of the flu and defend you against it.  You need to use your mind to learn to recognize the latest version of The System’s same old disease of trying to take absolute control of your life.


And if your body or your mind doesn’t learn to recognize the flu or The System, either one can kill you!


See Video of Each Kettering City Council Candidate — Speaking At LWV Community Meeting

At the League of Women Voters Community Meeting this evening, October 28, held at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, in Kettering, Ohio, there were about 40 people in attendance. Each of the six candidates took turns answering questions. I took my video camera and sat in the first row.

I decided to post on You-tube the concluding statement of each candidate. Dealing with video is very time consuming and after posting the concluding statement of five of the candidates, I realized that Frank Spolrich’s concluding statement was missing. Yikes. Evidently, I failed to push the record button during his last speech. So, five of the videos listed below are the concluding statements, but Mr. Spolrich’s is his opening statement.

These videos are posted on a new web-site, I hope to develop this web-site as a community resource, starting with Kettering, but, with the thought that if it is successful in Kettering it might expand to other communities as well. My goal is that CitizensTogether will become the voice of a nonpartisan web-based community dedicated to the vitalization of our democracy, dedicated to providing transparency to government. I’ll write more about CitizensTogether in a later post.

These videos are from a hand held camera — I did use the stabilization feature of the iMac, but still they are a little shaky and erratic. Next time, I think I’ll invest in a small tripod of some kind. I’m just learning to do this.


Top Ten Tips For Economic Development

Thousands of foreclosures in the Dayton area would have been prevented if the local business leadership had cultivated home grown entrepreneurs.  Maybe they don’t know very much about entrepreneurship.  After all, many of them spent their whole career in large, bureaucratic organizations.

 In any case, here are ten key issues about creating new products, businesses and jobs.  If this area is to have any future at all, its leaders need to master this material.  If they don’t, they’ll be replaced by investors (maybe in other cities) who ARE willing to learn!  (To all you other investors:  There are GIANT profits waiting to be made!  Opportunity is here!)


 ONE – New products don’t always require new technology.  MANY new products are yet to be created by making new applications of existing technology.  These new applications certainly DO qualify for patent protection!  (I’m glad to see that CincyTech is willing to take up “orphaned” technologies – technologies abandoned by existing companies.  That’s a good sign.)  ANY product that is sold mostly in other places will enrich the area that produces it.  Also, a “business method” qualifies as a “process” and can be patented!

 TWO – This category of new products (new applications of existing technology) can be brought to market the fastest.  There is no need for lengthy testing programs to validate the technology.  These products also have the lowest technical risk.  That is, there is virtually NO chance that it will turn out to be impossible to make the product work.  Something Woody Hayes said applies well here: “I’d rather have a boring win than an exciting loss.”  Don’t be so obsessed with the glamour of high tech that you neglect the profitability of just plain practical!

 THREE – It certainly is desirable to have technical-minded people in an area.  Not just to earn high incomes themselves, but also to create other jobs for the less talented people.  Not everyone is ABLE to learn high technology!  Those people need jobs, too!  They HAVE to do one of three things to survive: work, welfare, or crime.  Let’s make the right choice available!

FOUR – This category of products (new applications of existing technology) requires special consideration about intellectual property.  High-tech products have a certain amount of inherent IP protection by trade secret.  One can present to investors WHAT they plan to do without revealing HOW they plan to do it.  This cannot be done with products based on existing technology!  To reveal WHAT is to be done automatically reveals HOW it will be done!

Patent protection (and protection by non-disclosure agreement in the interim) is EXTREMELY important in these cases!  Standard practice in the economic development business is to not use non-disclosure agreements.  Some HUGE opportunities are awaiting anyone who is willing to make an exception to that rule!  Some MAJOR INDUSTRIES are waiting to be created!

 Economic development types need to learn from companies like Big Idea Group, America Invents, DaVinci Legacy Group, and Evergreen Intellectual Property.  These companies ALWAYS use non-disclosure agreements at the beginning of the relationship.  (Those companies aren’t focused on growing any one region, or even any one country!  Also, they tend to focus on serving corporate clients who are looking to make new products that fit well with their existing product lineup.  What those companies do for their clients could be done for a local region.)

FIVE – Creators of new products are not always the best people to run a business.  It takes different kinds of people to do those different things.  Tech Columbus recognizes that fact on their “Tech Genesis Fund” page, where it says:

 “The researcher/inventor is either

  1. an experienced entrepreneur who is willing to found and run a company, or
  2. a person with an entrepreneurial spirit who is willing to take direction and guidance in commercialization efforts, or
  3. a person /team who is willing to cede control and acquire the management talent to develop to business opportunity.”

 Having the right people do the right jobs is just sound management.  Requiring a product creator to run the business takes him away from the FAR more valuable activity of creating more products!

SIX – Just being high tech will NOT protect you from foreign competition!  Several countries out there (Japan, South Korea, etc.), if they buy just ONE of your products, WILL copy it!  And probably improve on it!  Japan is AHEAD of America in electronics!  You NEED good patent protection!

By obtaining patents in just the USA and the European Union, you have already protected almost half of the world market!  With just a few more countries, you can protect most of the rest.  A patent protects against others manufacturing in OR IMPORTING TO a protected country unauthorized copies of a product.  Even if a competitor improves on your product, you can still make them pay royalties on the basic idea, or bar them from all protected countries.  (Which is probably what you want to do if your focus is on growing jobs in your region.)

SEVEN – Don’t expect a start-up company to do marketing research like a global corporation.  Entrepreneurs should address marketing questions as much as possible, but investors need to realize that entrepreneurs don’t have millions of dollars to do full scale test marketing!

To refuse to invest in product development until you have complete data about the market is to delay your market entry until after your competitors completely own the market!  A small, fast company will beat a large, sluggish company every time!

It’s okay to have focus areas, but they should be treated like a playbook, not a straitjacket.  Sometimes, focus areas are just “management by buzzword.”  Some managers love to use lots of buzzwords to sound impressive.  The real world doesn’t care what’s chic in management circles!  The real world will buy ANY product that will enhance their lives!

EIGHT – Protect the intellectual property right from the start!  Far too many managers refuse to invest in patents (which are relatively cheap) until they have conducted extensive marketing studies (which are expensive) and disclose the proprietary information, making it impossible to EVER get a patent!

Your patent is often your MOST valuable asset!  It gives follow-on investors something concrete in which to invest.  Don’t jeopardize future patents for the sake of marketing data!  If you’re truly innovating, if you’re creating a new category of product, marketing data does not exist!  ANY moron can follow existing marketing data.  Having a sense of what people WILL want to buy is the TALENT that marks a true business LEADER!

NINE – Collaboration can spur creativity, but it can also STIFLE it.  Sometimes, bouncing ideas off one another sparks new ideas.  But sometimes, terms like “groupthink,”  “mob psychology,” and “tunnel vision” describe what happens in a group.  Creativity is an inherently INDIVIDUAL act.  EVERY act of creativity is an act of non-conformity!  The whole point of creativity is to do something DIFFERENT from what others are doing!

Here’s a really BIG pitfall that can sabotage a group innovation:  a patent is valid only if the names listed on the patent include EVERY person who contributed to the concept!  If a competitor can show that someone not listed on the patent contributed to the concept, the patent will be declared null and void!  You can lose your patent!

TEN – Don’t put off investing in new products until the recession ends.  NOW is the time to be laying the groundwork for future projects – so you’ll BE READY when conditions improve!  In fact, investing in new products is an essential part of MAKING the economy improve!  Remember: Apple Computer, Microsoft Corporation, and all the other stars of the computer revolution started their companies DURING the last major economic slowdown!

 A free market works well because it lets anyone try anything!  ALL ideas can have a shot!  Unlike a planned economy, which inherently stifles innovation.  It’s been said that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans.”  Don’t be so obsessed with a plan that you reject other really BIG opportunities that pop up!

While we’re creating new products and reinventing the economy, let’s be open to improving economic development, too!

 Jeff Putman, P.E.

Dayton Ohio



The local city “alternative” (right) paper solicited articles for new columnists. I tried. The guy at the paper couldn’t open one attachment, then a different kind of attachment, or (apparently) didn’t like the version I sent as an e-mail. Indeed, he never really even responded. So here was my audition, for what it is worth.


The debate over Swine Flu/AH1N1 brings with it what may well be three ideas essential to American political history. Oddly enough, it isn’t entirely clear that those three ideas can be reconciled. But it is always fun to see people try.

First of all, Americans don’t like to be pushed around. Americans especially don’t like to get pushed around by their own government. From Christopher Gadsen’s iconic “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, all the way to Ron Paul’s quixotic Presidential campaign, there is a strong libertarian streak running through American history. We don’t want to be told what to do, where we can do it, or (with some exceptions) who we can do it with.

Second, there is the legitimate expectation that some things will be taken care of. We expect an ambulance to come when we need it, or someone to show up to help out if we discover that our house is on fire. Even most libertarians recognize that some kind of apparatus needs to be in place to ensure that contracts are enforced, citizens are protected against fraud and violence, and that national boundaries remain sacrosanct.

Third, we expect—or hope—that whatever decisions we feel comfortable with the government making, they will be made by experts. In short, important policy decisions should be made by those with the best training and the best information, coming to conclusions that lead to the best possible results for all involved.

So the government wants Americans to get themselves vaccinated against this current strain of flu. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has offered a number of policy recommendations, including increasing the availability of the supply of vaccine. They’ve also recommend people wash their hands more, and that employers adopt an approach to absenteeism that will make their workers more likely to stay home if they exhibit flu symptoms.

This hasn’t prevented some of the teabaggers, and those who live in the alternate reality sometimes known as “GlennBeckistan,” from warning of “Mandatory Swine Flu Vaccinations This Fall.” Internationalists (Socialists), in league with the World Health Organization (Socialists), abetted by the Executive Branch (Socialists), are putting in place their program to force Americans to endure risky and untested vaccines, as part of a program either to control their minds, or bodies, or perhaps just to distract us from recognizing the imminent Socialist takeover. At least for those unable to distinguish between Kim Jong-Il and Barack (Hussein) Obama.

The government announcing, on the basis of “experts,” a policy of mandatory vaccinations, would indeed be pushing us around. That this isn’t the case might be a factor to consider. We also confront here an idea already mentioned: sometimes we do want government to take care of us. Minimizing the amount of rat excrement in our hamburger rarely evokes panicky cries of an impending Nanny State.

As usual in such debates, it often depends on who, or what, is being pushed. The state, determining that you may not marry your life partner, is for some being pushed around by an intrusive government, while for others it is the sacred duty of the state to maintain a specific “tradition” of marriage. The state, being able to identify, arrest, try, convict, and imprison or execute even its own citizens is for some a legitimate responsibility of the government, while others might make (ineffectual) gestures of the violations of both civil and common law involved.

Fundamentally, what we should expect of the government in its response to the flu pandemic (as declared by the WHO) is to determine the threat involved, and if the response is proportional. While some talk as if AH1N1 is indistinguishable from Ebola, others seem to regard it as no threat whatsoever; unsurprisingly, the truth seems to lie somewhere in between. As of September 5, there were 593 deaths attributed to H1N1 in the U.S., 2,837 in the world. Given its contagion vector, these numbers will go up, although how far seems to be a matter of conjecture. As one might expect, those at risk of succumbing to this virus are the very young, the very old, and those with compromised immune systems.

In Ohio, students are required to be inoculated against a variety of diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, and the scary-sounding Haemophilus influenzae; exemptions based on religious or other grounds are available.

Rather than scurrying to find “experts” who confirm our hopes (or fears), perhaps it makes more sense to see what the threat is, and with the best information available, respond accordingly. AH1N1 isn’t polio, but is a threat sufficient to recommend vigilance. Offering some degree of limited liability, encouraging practices that minimize its spread, and avoiding exaggerating or minimizing the dangers, is precisely the kind of sensible approach the Obama Administration is encouraging. But that’s a difficult position around which to energize knee-jerk reactions.