Monday, February 15, 2010


Edison was quite willing to accommodate the press and to use it in promoting himself and his inventions.
Working in an industrial setting with connections to leading companies and entrepreneurs, Edison and his colleagues had access to much greater financial resources for their work and they could more easily employ skilled assistants and machinists.
Paul Israel, Edison: A Life of Invention (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998), 147, 155.
One of the keys to Edison's success as an inventor was his ability to use his connections to best promote himself and his work, while also using those same connections to secure the necessary resources to further his career. There is no doubt that he was an absolute genius, but without the necessary resources or connections - there is no way he would have achieved all that he did. In fact the idea of an inventor simply doing everything on his own (the "lone inventor" as Israel calls it in his book) was made to look foolish and shortsighted by Edison. I cannot imagine a more practical application to my own life. It is critical to network and use all that can be available to me. Opening the door to greater resources puts more opportunity in front of me. Self promotion may seem like a pride thing, but in reality if I don't promote myself - no one else will. No one is going to fight for me to get what I want out of life. I have to be willing to go for it myself. Edison accomodated the press because he knew that in turn he could use the press for his advantage. I am not suggesting only using relationships for selfish gain. However, I do believe that it is helpful in life to recognize how key relationships can be relied upon for the futhering of one's cause or purpose.