Thomas Edison – as Seen by an International Venture Capitalist … in his own words

I recently visited the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, NJ as a guest advisor to the Edison Innovation Foundation. I learned many things that I wish to share with you here.

He invented a power generation system, the light bulb, the phonograph, and even motion pictures. I knew Edison was an inventor who had filed more than 1,000 patent applications during his lifetime, but was amazed to learn he had commercialized his inventions, developed production processes, employed people, and carried out marketing and other activities. In other words, he was an entrepreneur who established a technology startup based on his R&D (= invention) and commercialized his invented technologies.

The Thomas Edison invention factory at West Orange, NJ where he proved to the world that invention and entrepreneurship is a powerful force for progress, economic growth and social good.

The Thomas Edison invention factory at West Orange, NJ where he proved to the world that invention and entrepreneurship is a powerful force for progress, economic growth and social good.

People often don’t realize that Edison was actually a great entrepreneur as well as a great inventor, who created not just inventions but also many industries and employment. The scale of his achievements is simply breathtaking.

Yoshito Hori enjoys some reflection as he sits at the desk of the world’s greatest inventor and fellow entrepreneur, Thomas Edison

Yoshito Hori enjoys some reflection as he sits at the desk of the world’s greatest inventor and fellow entrepreneur, Thomas Edison

I run a venture capital fund (GLOBIS CAPITAL PARTNERS) so I know that even just R&D alone is difficult. But it is even more difficult to commercialize technologies, create production processes from scratch, mass-produce high-quality products, gain new customers, generate sales, and build a system to keep making profits continuously. To do all this, the company needs to hire many good people, and then manage and train them.

Invention and commercialization drive the evolution of society. “I believe that for every problem God has given us, He has a solution,” said Edison. He was right; the role of entrepreneurs is to solve social problems.

Edison also said, “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” I completely agree. For me, too, work is fun rather than a hardship. I have decided to lead a fun-filled life as entrepreneur Yoshito Hori, like entrepreneur Edison.

Yoshito Hori, GLOBIS Chairman and CEO 
[Yoshito (Yoshi) runs the GLOBIS Graduate School of Management and venture capital business, a representative director of the G1 Summit Institute and the KIBOW Foundation, chair of a committee of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), co-chair of the WEF’s Global Growth Companies, and a member of a Japanese Government committee.]

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

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Winners in the Predict the Future Contest

Last month we launched an open contest for folks to give us their ideas for what they saw coming in the next 50 years. We received some very interesting thoughts from a wide variety of participants, members of the public, students, teachers … etc. Here now are the winners:

1st Prize – $50
Cassidy Stoneback, Lawrence Middle School
Cassidy envisions a post antibiotic world where bacteria are stopped by manipulating their DNA-basically shutting them on and off.

2nd Prize – $25
Moises Jimenez, Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy
Moises sees computer chips implanted in our heads that allow us to directly watch videos, listen to music, and learn new things.

3rd Prize – $10
Monica Mobley, L&N STEM Academy
Like Moises Jimenez, Monica envisions computer chips in our heads, but she sees us downloading our images to 3-D programming from which we can make models.

Smiling EdisonEdison would smile over such futuristic thoughts. He was always “pushing the envelope” in all his work. Nice job to everyone who sent us an entry! Stay tuned to our website as more interesting things for you to participate in will be coming. Pass our websites address EdisonMuckers.org and Facebook.com/ThomasEdison along to others so they can participate in future activities-and feel free to send us questions and recommend things you would like to see us address.

Make our website your first stop for all things Thomas Edison. Teachers and educators … check out our websites articles when creating STEM/STEAM lesson plans and Facebook.com/ThomasEdison. More such resources are coming.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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Thomas Edison Quotes on Hard Work

Thomas Edison Quotes on Hard WorkSo, you are working hard, spending lots of time at work or a special project … maybe 50-60 hours a week? Thomas Edison would admire your work ethic. He would have said something like:

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits”

Old Tom was a devotee of hard work, often logging over 90 hours a week in his office and labs, punching the time clock just like everyone else-also catching a quick nap when he could to refresh himself.

Here is a quote that characterizes how Tom thought about work:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

He was all about what you could do with what you had learned … not how smart folks thought you were. For Edison:

“Genius is hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense.”

The world of Mr. Edison was all about practicality in action.

Thomas Edison Quotes on Hard Work

He did not care for quitters either:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Think about this. He was purported to have conducted over 3,000 experiments to perfect his light bulb filament; and over 15,000 experiments to get his nickel-iron storage batteries right. How many people do you know who have this kind of work discipline? Do you?

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “There is a way to do it better. Find it.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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