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How music has been a prelude to more than 30 patents

By: Bob Varettoni
Inventor Patricia Chang

At Verizon, we’re inspired and motivated by innovators. So we’re sharing stories from #InventorsWhoInspire as a way to connect with inventors, patent winners, and men and women we’ve met in the tech industry who can offer the best advice on how to create a brighter future for all.

To Patricia Chang – like the writer Maria Cristina Mena – the piano keys may be black and white, but they sound like a million colors in her mind.

Patricia, a Verizon technologist based in California, says that playing the piano has inspired some of her most creative thoughts. In a story from late 2014 – which was accompanied by the video posted here that includes a wonderful soundtrack – she described how an open mind and a love of music had helped her come up with 22 patents.


Revisiting her today, we found that Patricia has won an additional 10 patents in the meantime. How does she do it, and why? We asked…

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by all the possibilities the Verizon network offers to make parents’ and kids’ lives easier. Playing and listening to music is still the thing that most often sparks my ideas, and it’s my hope that all my patents will be adopted in the industry. I want to help make our lives more convenient, simpler and safer.

Tell us a little bit about one of your inventions. What it is, and how you came up with the idea?

The one I described in the video is a system-optimization algorithm. It’s designed to work so that when a customer or network database goes down, Verizon’s network can still continue to operate without outages. I came up with the idea after a network outage caused by a database crash, and I’m proud that this patent has now been deployed in our network.

What advice would you give an aspiring inventor?

Always remember that even small ideas can make a big difference. Follow your passion, and never give up on any ideas.

That’s great advice, and we can’t wait to see – or hear – what Patricia will do for an encore.

Do you want to spread the word to inspire the inventors of tomorrow? Check out this year’s Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge, which gives middle and high school students across America the chance to design real mobile apps. No coding required.

Bob Varettoni is a Verizon spokesperson for financial, strategic and governance issues.