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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Smile At Your Problems

Jack and Ruth Ellen solve problems best when they step away from the office.  They love to laugh and they love to debate the very nature of light.  It is all about the photon, of course.

Key Question:


Jack's background in research and teaching trained him to see a problem as an opportunity to learn something new. He knows: If there's a problem, what is being done now isn't working so someone has to come up with a solution which implies a new product or service needs to be invented. 

Q: Since life really is about decision-making and problem solving, why do so many run from the difficult problems?

We're spoiled! Perhaps, we've come to this point in our lives by letting others solve the hard problems and make the decisions that require complex work. Or, we have positioned ourselves in such a way that we can do quite well without taking on difficult problems.

That's fine for some but not for entrepreneurs and small business owners. In fact, the bigger problem an entrepreneur can solve, the bigger business she will build. Or, if a entrepreneur finds a little problem that lots of people have, delivering the solution can mean a big business.

Think about it

What problem needs to be solved for your current customers? What solutions do you have now for potential customers you are not now serving?

Clip from: NoUVIR: Lighting Is Big Business

Seaford, Delaware: The bold among us take on the giants of industry.  This episode of the show is a classic David & Goliath story. Their slingshot is the US Patent & Trademark Office and Goliath looks like GE, Osram Sylvania, and Phillips.

Meet two small business owners who have slain the giants. Their advice for inventors is timeless.

Ruth Ellen Miller and her ever-inventive father and business partner, Jack Miller,  are  two of the brainiest people we've gotten to know and we've met lots of geniuses since the first episode back in 1994. They hold over 100 patents; they're expert witnesses on patent infringement lawsuits. And, they truly understand the heart and soul of intellectual capital. Their lighting business is the working evidence. Museums around the world come to them to provide the type of lighting that does not damage physical artifacts.

Their company is NoUVIR.  They create pure light -- no UltraViolet and no InfraRed. UV and IR found in typical lighting will destroy art and artifacts over time. 


Ruth Ellen Miller, Co-founder

Highway 13
RR4 Box 748
Seaford, DE 19973

Visit our web site:

Office: 3026289933

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1990

Smile At Your Problems

HATTIE: OK, Jack, you have a problem to solve this morning.

JACK: Yes.

HATTIE: What is it?

JACK: Well, we were specified for the lighting in the National Archives for the original signed Declaration of Independence and for the Constitution.

HATTIE: The Constitution.

JACK: The Constitution.

HATTIE: Did you all just jump up and down and get goose bumps or what?

JACK: We did indeed. We were really excited. We wanted to do that job for many years. What they have asked us to do--they've given us a specification, and the specification was there could be no light in there of a shorter wave length than 500 nanometers. Here's the color portion, the visible light portion of the whole electromagnetic spectrum that includes ultraviolet, infrared, etc.Well, we automatically get rid--just because we're NoUVIR, we get rid of the ultraviolet already and the infrared. So we're only looking at the visible spectrum, except that they don't want anything shorter than 500 nanometers.

So I had to find a filter that supplements this. So what I found then was a dichroic filter. What a dichroic filter does--I've got one here. This is the one I selected. And if you can see that in the camera, you can see it flashes blue.

HATTIE: I see the blue.

JACK: OK. And what it's doing is it's reflecting the blue light. But if you look through it...

HATTIE: It's yellow.

JACK:'s yellow. So it's not letting any blue light through. And what I actually did is I took then, to verify it--I took one of our optical fibers and I shined it through this filter on to this simulated old document ...and it just gave a nice, bright, warm, yellowish light on it, which is exactly what they want. So what I did then is I faxed it to the contractor who's doing the installation. So he can now tell the National Archives that, yes, the problem is solved, and this will do it, and we'll guarantee that there's no light shorter wave length than 500 nanometers.

HATTIE: So this was fun.

JACK: This is a blast. This is really fun. And it will be such fun to go see the thing.

HATTIE: Why is it that the two of you work so well together?

RUTH ELLEN: I respect him. I love him. He respects me. I mean, good grief, he allowed his kid to take over and become his boss, basically. I understand the science perspective. I've paid my dues. He understands the artist. And so it's just this beautiful blending of aesthetics and science. If it's giving up an electron...

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Breakthroughs happen when smart people who care about something put their minds to answering the question: How can this problem be solved? We've seen it through history and we're seeing it right now.

JACK: (Voiceover) No Noble Prize for you, kid. You're through right now.

HATTIE: Remember, Ruth Ellen says, `To build a business, invent a breakthrough product, then take the time to protect your invention.' We'll see you next time.


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