What We Still Can Learn from Thomas Edison

Posted on 05. Mar, 2011 by in Blog, business development, innovation, technology

Innovation and Inspiration from a Man born a 164 years ago

Edison was tenacious. He didn’t mind failure because he learned from it. He surrounded himself with very smart people. He had patience. But most important, he was a brilliant marketer. He understood that to make money he had to commercialize his inventions. He understood that to get a potential product/idea to market, it needed to be uniquely positioned against the chaos around it.

Though chaotic on the surface, now is the time to see the opportunities for you to introduce new products and services. Leading-edge companies are using this time to their advantage by incorporating an integrated marketing communication approach to their goals especially on the look out for new ideas and products. Addressing them strategically, and using targeted tactics (internet, public relations, targeted marketing, etc.) will help you reach your targeted market. Looking at the “big picture” before you begin project and the affect it will have for internal and external audiences is vital for marketing effectively. Over time, you will learn how to be a smart marketer, using marketing communication tools to that demonstrate the value your product or idea to a business.

Thomas Edison, the quintessential inventor and entrepreneur, can still teach us a lesson. Thomas Alva Edison held 1,093 patents for different inventions. Many of them, like the lightbulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, were brilliant creations that have a huge influence on our everyday life. However, not everything he created was a success; he also had a few failures. Take a look at his list of patents.

Thomas Edison’s greatest challenge was the development of a practical incandescent, electric light. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t “invent” the lightbulb, but rather he improved upon a 50-year-old idea. In 1879, using lower current electricity, a small carbonized filament, and an improved vacuum inside the globe, he was able to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light. The idea of electric lighting was not new, and a number of people had worked on, and even developed forms of electric lighting. But up to that time, nothing had been developed that was remotely practical for home use. Edison’s eventual achievement was inventing not just an incandescent electric light, but also an electric lighting system that contained all the elements necessary to make the incandescent light practical, safe, and economical. The miracle of the millennium was providing light and power to the masses.

Before Edison could make his millions, every one of these elements had to be invented and then, through careful trial and error, developed into practical, reproducible components. The first public demonstration of the Thomas Edison’s incandescent lighting system was in December 1879, when the Menlo Park laboratory complex was electrically lighted. Edison spent the next several years creating the electric industry. Edison was a poor student. When a schoolmaster called Edison “addled,” or slow. his furious mother took him out of the school and proceeded to teach him at home. Edison said many years later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had some one to live for, some one I must not disappoint.”

We can all learn a lesson here. Belief in oneself and ideas that help society, particularly the next generation. Happy Birthday Tom!

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