id you understand that two of the very most successful business ideas of the twentieth century were invented with a man who died in debt? The 2 inventions are still in wide use and generate hundreds of billions in revenue each year. We think of Thomas Edison whilst the inventor of the light bulb. The fact remains that Edison invented the light bulb so he could market his electrical distribution system. Marconi remains called the Father of Radio in fact his invention was based almost entirely on others’ work.
Con Edison remains a powerhouse (pun intended) in the electric power distribution service. Edison didn’t invent the modern power grids, however. His invention was for DC power distribution. A man by the name of George Westinghouse Jr. was an inventor. He invented the railway air brake. He is most widely called Thomas Edison’s main competitor in electric power distribution. The Westinghouse and Edison companies competed for decades in what became called the “War of Currents”, AC vs. DC. Science eventually won Alexander Malshakov the battle because AC power distribution is cheaper to deliver. The point here is that neither Westinghouse nor Edison invented it.
The Marconi Company was wildly successful as was Marconi himself. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the radio. He was heralded as among the greatest inventors of all time. He later became a Senator in his native Italy. His fame and fortune were stupendous! He, however, did not invent the radio.
The inventor of both of these died in debt and alone in the New Yorker Hotel. Which was January of 1943. Later that same year the US Supreme Court upheld his patent which, in effect, said that he had actually invented the radio. He had sold most of his patents for AC power distribution to his former employer, the Westinghouse Electric Company. His name was Nikola Tesla.
This story is really a perfect exemplory case of the truth about successful business ideas. Edison, Westinghouse and Marconi all knew the truth. Marketing could be the key. Successful business ideas are not the only things that matter. What counts is you will get others’ to get them. Thomas Edison’s company didn’t fail because his DC power distribution didn’t win. He adapted his company to distribute AC. Westinghouse knew so it wasn’t the invention alone that made the difference but instead setting it up to the public. Marconi’s success was largely based on his mass appeal and his power to take his tips to market. Successful business ideas work because they are marketed. So remember Tesla whenever you think you have the maximum product or service. It won’t mean anything until you market it.