Dvorah Graeser

Founder of KISSPatent

D’vorah has spent 20 years in the intellectual property industry and is a licensed US Patent Agent. She operates KISSPatent across borders, with offices in Chicago, New York, and Eindhoven. She participated in the Human Genome Project and has extensive knowledge in the fields of healthcare, technology, and business. In her time off she enjoys running ultramarathons.

Where did the idea for KISSPatent come from?

I’ve been working in the intellectual property industry for over 20 years and I decided to spin out KISSPatent to address a concern I was noticing in a particular niche.

I wanted to create a business that would serve startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs — small businesses that don’t have deep pockets and would benefit greatly from our services. We don’t charge by the hour, we offer affordable fixed-price packages and we are deeply invested in openly sharing our knowledge so everyone can understand WHY they need idea protection, WHAT type of idea protection they need, and HOW to go about getting that protection they need.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts out with a workout to get the blood flowing and the body moving. Exercise, for me, is one of the most important parts of my day.

Since I’m usually working across 3 major times zones (US/Europe/Vietnam) I set aside chunks of time for deep concentration (usually in the morning) and other chunks for calls and emails so I can speak with everyone on all time zones without distractions.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m very inspired by our clients (their great ideas) and helping them in a way that is fun, engaging, and frictionless.

What’s one trend that excites you?

AI is one trend that excites me very much — it allows us to reduce costs and increase access to our clients wherever they are in the world no matter how big or small their budget is.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Being able to disconnect and focus on a really deep problem that needs to be solved — no distractions. This ability to really dial in is a major driving factor in my productivity.

What advice would you give your younger self?

No matter how large a problem looks, there is always a way forward.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The main reason we haven’t seen an increase in productivity, even with the widespread adoption of computers, is that the world’s business processes are stuck in the 1950s — all companies and businesses need to COMPLETELY OVERHAUL their processes in order to take advantage of computers.

This a particularly acute problem for the legal profession as its business processes are stuck in the 19th century.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Work out on a daily basis.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Continuous experimentation with customer outreach and UX (user experience) — this has helped us grow our business according to our customers’ needs and not the other way around! We are market-driven, not marketing-driven.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Fortunately, none of my companies have actually failed. We had a business line expansion failure due to the great recession that started in 2007. We had to completely reconfigure our company, drop our plans, and adapt. It was pretty tough for a while.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A digital presence creation company that specializes in legal professionals. Let me explain, most lawyers don’t know how they want to represent themselves online — so actually helping them create that presence.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I purchased a set of online machine learning tutorials from Udemy. Some of them are algorithms I wasn’t familiar with and some of the others helped me shore up my knowledge.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We have team members in 7 different time zones and it helps me stay connected with them without an overflowing email inbox.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations — by Gene Kim, Jez Humble (Goodreads Author), Patrick Debois, John Willis.

What is your favorite quote?

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Joseph Campbell

Key Learnings:

  • Idea protection rights, such as patents, truly exist only if everyone can access them.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no.
  • Ditch your old business process for a 21st-century approach — and finally take advantage of computers and automation.