It’s a very old saying, “Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.” I always thought Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. At least, that’s what I was told by somebody, or I read it somewhere and believed it.
That’s how good advertising works. Twist the words around and make it work for you.
The funny part is the mousetrap wasn’t even invented until 1889, seven years after Emerson died.
His actual statement, written in his beautiful prose, was, “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”
No doubt this quote is a remarkable metaphor about the power of innovation. It is quite a stretch from church organs to mousetraps.
And yet, many folks took the “mousetrap” saying to heart. Not counting the thousands of turned down unsuccessful applicants, there have been over 4,400 patents on mousetraps by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.