Thomas Edison was a forerunner for today's entrepreneurs.
For example, he was the major technological innovator of his time. Yes, he developed the light bulb, but he also developed the phonograph, motion pictures, concrete cement, storage batteries and rubber. He could be viewed as the predecessor of today's tech companies in Silicon Valley.
Edison wasn't interested in theoretical research but practical research to develop useful products for which there was a market.
On the other hand, he sometimes tried to dictate what the market "should" want. For example, he believed his original cylindrical design for recordings was superior to that of flat disk recordings. The market preferred disks and his record players became obsolete and discontinued. His technology and approach for motion pictures also were surpassed by other technological and artistic innovations. Sometimes we can learn as much from others' mistakes as we can from their achievements.
Edison created the first large-scale laboratories for methodical technological product development and innovation. This was a significant contribution to modern industrial development.
Like Steve Jobs after him, Thomas Edison was the "face" for the Edison General Electric Company. Advertisements for the company included photos of Edison and recited the "Thomas Edison Story."
Edison And The Rise Of Innovation is a worthwhile read for its insights on how today's society stands on the shoulders of innovators of the past like Thomas Edison.
Buy it on Amazon: Edison and the Rise of Innovation.
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