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 …”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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