Launching a Start-up in the 1960s
Jun 18, 2020
Robert Merrick
Launching a Start-up in the 1960s

     Robert Merrick invented and marketed numerous products for 32 years as head of Merrick Industries, Inc. in Sunnyvale, CA. His company did no manufacturing in house. Rather it outsourced all production, concentrating on inventing, patenting and marketing. Simplicity was the key element in all his inventing and the reason for its self-financed success.

     His first big customer, the US Army, purchased a carload of his first invention, the military pay calculator. His proprietary commercial products were sold nationally in office supply stores such as Office Depot and Staples. His patented business-to-business promotional products were purchased by more than two thirds of the Fortune 500 companies. At age 67 he retired and sold his company to Moore Push Pin Company of Pennsylvania.

     During his working years he was active in teaching individual inventors how to capitalize on their new product. As a volunteer, he gave numerous presentations at college classes, inventor workshops and seminars. His best-seller book, Stand Alone, Inventor! published in 1997, has helped thousands of lone inventors prosper with their inventions. An eBook version was launched in 2011 which is available free online from

     He graduated from UC Berkeley with a liberal arts degree in communications and then served four years active duty as a shipboard naval officer, including a tour as an adviser in Vietnam waters. He worked six years at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation where he rose to Advertising Manager and helped introduce the world's first integrated circuit or "chip." Next he joined the Hal Lawrence Advertising Agency in Palo Alto as a partner. There, as an account executive, he created the advertising and PR for companies such as Memorex, Spectra Physics, Philco-Ford, Union Carbide Electronics and The California Wine Institute.

     He served ten years as a co-founder and director of Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan of San Jose, CA. He was president of the non-profit California Inventors Council and a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business.

     Currently, he is active in real estate development and management. He is widowed, has three grown children and lives in Monte Vista, CA.