id you understand that two of the most successful business ideas of the twentieth century were invented by a man who died in debt? The 2 inventions continue to be in wide use and generate a huge selection 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 is still known as the Father of Radio but in fact his invention was based almost entirely on others’ work.
Con Edison is still a powerhouse (pun intended) in the electrical energy 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’s most widely known as Thomas Edison’s main competitor in electrical energy distribution. The Westinghouse and Edison companies competed for a long time in what became known as the “War of Currents”, AC vs. DC. Science eventually won Alexander Malshakov the battle because AC power distribution is cheaper to deliver. The idea listed 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, didn’t invent the radio.
The inventor of these two 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 all his patents for AC power distribution to his former employer, the Westinghouse Electric Company. His name was Nikola Tesla.
This story is a perfect example of the reality about successful business ideas. Edison, Westinghouse and Marconi all knew the truth. Marketing is the key. Successful business ideas are not the only items that matter. What counts is that you 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 rather getting it to the public. Marconi’s success was largely based on his mass appeal and his power to take his ideas to market. Successful business ideas work because they are marketed. So remember Tesla whenever you think you’ve the maximum product or service. It will not mean anything unless you market it.