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July 2009: Keith Herndon is Featured Speaker at the Inventors Association of Georgia Meeting

Atlanta, GA (July 25, 2009) - The process of bringing an innovative product or service to market hinges on understanding the needs of potential customers and the threats posed by likely competitors, according to a presentation made before the Inventors Association of Georgia.

"The two most important questions that must be asked by innovators and inventors as part of the product development process are: 'Who are my customers?' and 'Who will be my competitors?' So many companies — large and small — think they know what the market wants without conducting any real intelligence to understand if their assumptions are correct," said Keith Herndon during the presentation to the more than 100 attendees.

Herndon was invited to speak to the group following the publication of his two books, both compilations of interviews with experts: "Entrepreneurs and Innovation: Creating Value with Emerging Technologies" published in October 2008, and "Raising Capital When You Don't Have a Silicon Valley Address," which was released in 2007. Both books were published by Atlanta-based Innovations Publishing LLC.

Each book's dozen interviews reveal the characteristics of entrepreneurial companies that succeed by facing down risk to create products and service that transform their markets, said Herndon, the Atlanta-based consultant who conducted the interviews and edited the compilations. "Successful innovators share many of the same traits; they aggressively protect their intellectual property, they go after market segments that represent huge potential customers and they approach their innovations with extreme passion," Herndon said.

Speaking to the inventors' group, Herndon used passages from the interviews to illustrate the importance of understanding customers and competition. For example, he quoted Tony Stelliga, a serial entrepreneur who founded Softcom and is now the CEO of Quellan. "If you focus on the product, you won't necessarily get a customer," Stelliga said. "But if you focus on the customer, you'll always get a product — the customers know what they need and what their problems are." In regards to competition, Herndon turned to the advice of Sig Mosley, President of Imlay Investments and one of Atlanta's most respected venture capitalists. "If you come to me and tell me that you have no competitors, I'll tell you that you haven't done your market research," Mosley said. "You don't know your market . . . if you think there isn't any competition."

About the Presenter

Keith Herndon is president of Internet Decisions LLC, an Atlanta-based market research and strategic planning firm. Herndon, a former business writer and editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also held several executive posts before starting Internet Decisions. He was President of a business incubator, Vice President of Planning and Product Development at Cox Interactive Media and Director of Operations at Cox Radio Interactive. Herndon was actively involved in the Cox corporate venture funding activity, conducting business and technical diligence. He served on the board of directors of a Cox investment recipient and was a board adviser to other investment recipients. He also led many strategic partnerships and alliances. Herndon is a journalism graduate of the University of Georgia, holds a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma and completed a fellowship in economic journalism at the University of Missouri. For more information, please visit www.internetdecisions.com.

About the Inventors Association of Georgia

IAG, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization, established in May, 1968, and incorporated in the State of Georgia on October 21, 1976. The IAG, Inc. is a mixed group of experienced patent owners, inexperienced inventors, patent practitioners, marketing consultants, and other innovative persons who like to get together, share accomplishments and concerns, help promote invention and innovation, and provide guidance to members without breaching implied confidentiality. For more information, please visit www.georgiainventors.com.