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An attractive young woman went out for a long run. She picked her route carefully, avoiding sketchy neighborhoods. But despite her best precautions, she could never feel completely safe in New York City, miles from her apartment, especially after dark. 

Her 110 pound frame sliced through the night leaving nothing but the sound of her running shoes on the pavement.  If necessary, she knew she could outrun almost any pursuit that came on foot. Assailants generally give up before the twenty-mile mark. It bothered her that she even had to have such thoughts. She kicked it up a notch.

Parked cars and lamp posts whizzed by. She thought she saw something that looked out of place, but it was just a rogue napkin blown by the wind. Settle down, she told herself. Don't be concerned about random motion in the night. Keep running. Get your miles. It's the only way you can sleep tonight.

She could see the shadowy outlines of three young males in the distance. They didn't look like trouble, necessarily, but she crossed the street anyway and planned her escape routes just in case. One of the men said something and the other two laughed. It sounded as if a comment had been directed at her. She kept her head down and put the three men in her past.

As she crossed the five-mile mark, she couldn't help wondering what would happen if someone with evil intent grabbed her. How long would it be until her husband knew she was in trouble? How long does an adult have to be missing before the police take it seriously?

She had her smartphone with her, but who has time to dial a number and make an emergency call during an attack? It takes time to get to your phone. Then you have to concentrate to get to the right mode.  Are you wearing gloves? If you get the gloves off, do you have time to dial 911, explain your situation, and give your location?

She had these thoughts every time she ran, which was nearly every day. And she knew that others must sometimes feel the same way.  There are some environments that feel unsafe no matter what precautions you take. As she ran, she tried to work out a solution. What she needed was a quick way to activate her phone in an emergency. And once activated, it needed to call for help automatically and give her location. But how?

At this point in the story you need to know that the runner's father is an electrical engineer living in California. The runner and her dad talked about the problem and brainstormed a variety of solutions. The best of the ideas turned into a patent application, a prototype, and now a business that just launched. The product is called MyRingGuard.

It's a ring that pairs with your Android phone (iPhone version will follow) via Bluetooth. If you're out by yourself, and you encounter trouble, just press the button on the ring to send an emergency text message via your phone to whoever you pre-designate. The text message will say you're in trouble and it will give your GPS coordinates. Obviously that won't stop an attack in progress, but at least you'll know help is on the way, and the help will have a good idea where to find you.

To me, the interesting part of this story is how two people starting with nothing but an idea can form a company that designs, manufactures, and markets a consumer product. I'm fascinated by the fact that none of the components of the business are physically in the same place. Most of it was outsourced by contract.

CEO (the runner): New York City

Engineer (the runner's dad): California

Industrial design: Argentina

Tooling design: Australia

Prototype: China

Electronics design: Romania

Firmware design: Hungary

App design: Hungary

Production: China (by a New York based company)

This sort of everywhere-at-once company structure would have been impractical ten years ago. In the old days, ideas were worthless and implementation was everything. We're entering a phase where implementation is a commodity that is universally available at a reasonable price. The real value is shifting to the quality of ideas. It's not a complete shift - someone still has to coordinate all of the disparate parts - but you can see the trend: If your idea kicks ass, and you have access to the Internet, you have the entire world to help with implementation. You can even crowdsource part of the funding, as the runner and her father did.

Along these same lines, a few weeks ago I teased you by saying I had a valuable idea I would try to "sell" to a venture capitalist - for someone else to implement - just to test my hypothesis that even unpatented ideas are beginning to have economic value. I can report to you today that the result of my experiment is a qualified success.  I was able to find a highly capable investor willing to form a company around my idea and grant me an equity position in return for my contribution, which will be mostly around defining the idea in more detail. That's not quite "selling" an idea, and there is a lot of distance between deciding to form a company and actually creating something of value. I'll also end up doing some actual work, but that should be manageable. (My idea will need to stay secret for now. Sorry!)

Implementation will always be important, but the shift to an ideas-based economy is underway.

Disclosure: The runner and her dad are friends of mine and I have an interest in the company's success. The opening story has some literary flourishes but it's accurate in a "based on a true story" way.

 
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Oct 26, 2012
@Joe

Yeah, most dogs aren't properly trained, so there's that.

But is it possible to take down a vicious dog? Of course it is!
Is it possible to protect oneself against a person with a gun?

If anything, that just proves that the end result is more escalation. If we all get dogs, the burglar will try to be prepared (you seem to know a lot about taking down a dog. have you taken lessons?). If everybody gets guns, then eventually everybody will be wearing bulletproof vests too.

And now whtllnew will shove his website in my face again.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
Oops, wasn't finished:

Getting into the specifics over why one would choose one method of defense over another will take us forever. But the requirements for carrying and using a gun has its own restrictions (one would hope).
Regarding old people, neither gun or pepperspray helps because here criminals have long realized that taking advantage of their old age and slow reaction time is much easier and safer.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown, I'm 160lbs. and not afraid of a german shepard. Most german shepards will lick you to death if anything. I know 2 people that had german shepards and still got burglarized with the dog in the house. Dogs can be swayed with food as well. Granted with a dog you become a harder target but the reality of relying on a dog at the same level of a gun is very wishful thinking. A swift strike in the nose followed with twisting the collar until passed out / dead or just keep kick in throat, ribs, break legs. Stomp, Stomp, Stomp. They are fragile animals. With that said I love dogs and would not subject them to harm from an assailant either, they are family members not your weapon.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew

"You didn't list pepperspray as a viable option. For the very sensible reason that your government bans it. What GENIUS in your government came up with that one?"

Precisely for the reason that I stated way down in this discussion: the police and most politicians here say it will lead to an escalation of violence in the long term.
That being said, the percentage of danes that are for legalizing pepperspray is on the rise, due to increasing problems with gangs. Its entirely understandable.

Getting into the specifics over why one would choose one method of defense over another will take us forever. The requirements for carrying and using a gun presents isn.
But regarding old people, neither gun or pepperspray helps because here criminals have long realized that taking advantage of their old age and slow reaction time is much easier and safer.

 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

Your 'big dog' solution makes sense only if A) you are a big dog person and B) you live somewhere where you can have a big dog. As for self defense training that takes time and money and doesn't make sense for everyone (how many old folk do you know that can be trained to fight off a 25-year-old mugger?).

I could have agreed with you except A) the data we have ATM supports me and B) you didn't list pepperspray as a viable option. For the very sensible reason that your government bans it. What GENIUS in your government came up with that one?
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@Joe
"self defense only goes so far when there is a massive strength difference"

You lost me.
Explain "massive strength difference". You're telling me that a man who works out at the gym everyday with biceps the size of my head wouldn't be afraid of a german sherpard?
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@WATYF1

Im with Scott on this point. A ring could be activated more easily than you could draw and use a gun. As for a gun being suboptimal...maybe its partly the weight, partly the feel of it as you're running. Want to expand on this a bit Scott? Thats the best I can do.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@SonofRojBlake, just to let you know the assaulting party see's them as goods, this is a comic blog, tongue in cheek humor. Would you put a sign on your back saying you are carrying thousands of dollars in cash? Has nothing to do with being a misogynist, it's called logic in reality. I would hate to be your employer, I could just imagine all the misguided law suites.

As for firearms I'll leave it at this... The safety of my loved ones matter more than anything as should yours. Underneath this comfy veil of society natures brutal law still applies... survival of the fittest.

@callcopse, not a big fan of Clint, I'm probably too young. I'm not politically motivated by factions as well if that is what you are insinuating. China taking our guns? UK must have some crazy good bath salts for you to assimilate the tripe you post.

@uhmdown, self defense only goes so far when there is a massive strength difference. A dog? lol. Are you 12? Seriously you cannot be older than 16.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
[The ring is designed so you can easily activate it with your thumb even if an assailant grabs you by the arms. Your idea of going for a run while carrying a loaded firearm is. . . suboptimal. -- Scott]

This doesn't address my point at all. Even if the ring READ YOUR MIND and then traveled back in time to five minutes before the attack happened, there would still be only a very, very small chance that the "warning" it sent out would do you any good. You'd either be robbed, raped, or dead by the time anyone GOT THERE.

And you should look into things before you talk about them. Conceal-carry weapons are now exceptionally small and light. It wouldn't be the least bit inconvenient to carry something like a Ruger LCP while out for a jog.

It never ceases to amaze me how people want to address life-or-death situations while still clinging to the comforts of a safe and modern society. You can't have it both ways. If you want to accept that there are mortal dangers out there that you need to be protected from, then don't waste your time on silly half-measures. Do the obvious. Go all the way and learn to defend yourself. It's going to be messy, but it's going to be a whole more effective than some gadget on your arm that the attacker can just take after he's shot you in the head.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew

The scary part was that it was possible for you to, albeit from a simplified angle, make a legitimate-sounding case for carrying handguns as a means of protection.
Here, we would choose methods of protection less drastic, such as pepperspray (although even that's illegal here too), self-defense training, or a big dog.
But you don't consider a gun to be drastic, to you its "freedom". We have completely different mindsets.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@Joel: "not getting assaulted starts by not over advertising the goods"

Not being called a misogynist douchebag starts by not blaming the victim of an assault for causing the assault by their clothing choices. Or referring to their body as "the goods".
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
"Re: UK propensity to lock people up for opinions - utter tripe fella, please provide references"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/08/april-jones-matthew-woods-jailed

Three months in prison for posting a joke on FaceBook.

Next question.
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown

Even as we speak your own Danish government is turning down new safety standards for bridges because they're too expensive, knowing that theres some chance in the future people will die as a result. At the same time its denying funds to your national health service knowing that some number of people will die as a result because they can't get the medical care they need. I could go on but the point is this: If I scare you with the idea that its worth it to lose one life to prevent 75 rapes and 500 assaults what do you think of your own government for trading lives for money?
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@Joe

Your scenarios are pretty simple minded there - Clint movie fan maybe? With the gun there are plenty of scenarios that do not play so well. Without the gun your society might not be so crazy violent in the first place. Perhaps get a government in place that respects women a little more?

It won't matter in a couple of years anyhow - President Romney will have outsourced governance function to China for efficiency, and the Chinese will execute anyone found carrying a gun ;-)

Re: UK propensity to lock people up for opinions - utter tripe fella, please provide references. How come you get such suck ups for mainstream media compared to the rich satire found this side of the pond?
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
@Joe

Why would you deny me the option to teach them self-defense?
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@uhmdown, put it this way... (assuming your male) which option would you pick?

A. 2 rapes and 2 assaults... You come home and your wife is unconscious on the floor beaten nearly to death after being raped. You run upstairs, omg my daughter! she is in the corner crying on the floor unable to walk as she too was disgustingly violated.

B. 1 handgun murder... You taught your wife and daughter the ins and outs of handgun defense and safety. As the 6'5 300lb assailant was breaking the door in your wife grabbed the handgun and neutralized the threat before making more than 3 steps into the house.

From your point of view you choose A
 
 
Oct 26, 2012
@stui, are you stuck in the 70's? I agree running with a .38 stub is not optimal.

Try a Kel-Tec P-3AT - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kel-Tec_P-3AT
or smaller but a bit heavier
Seecamp LWS 32 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seecamp

get a comfy holster like a thunderbelt, can even store your phone ect. without bouncing around.

If you complain your jogging apparel is too tight... well not getting assaulted starts by not over advertising the goods.
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
Some funny comments. Guess there's some people here who don't run very often.

It's a good idea. The ring is easy to wear and use (doesn't look like much though) and having it connecting to the phone is great, as you can have the phone attached you your arm with one of those velcro thingos using it as a music player while on your run. Both hands are free, no snup nose 38 rubbing on the inside of your thigh while running, all good.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 25, 2012
@whtllnew

Man, I was worried about the conversion.

So from a pure firearm-murder vs assault angle, it would actually look like a deal. I actually find that a bit scary.
 
 
Oct 25, 2012
@Bob, we as Americans are allowed opinions with out fear of being jailed... That is why you cannot understand them ;)
 
 
 
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