Success According to Thomas Edison: Sellable Inventions
How do you measure success as an entrepreneur? Money? Profit? Number of customers? Number of units sold? Awards received? According to Paul Judge, co-founder of TechSquare Labs,
“How do you measure success? [quoting Thomas Edison] ‘Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.’ It’s not about solving the hardest problems you can. It’s about solving problems people care about.”
Thomas Edison, owner of 1,093 patents and countless inventions including the phonograph, lightbulb and early motion picture cameras, worked for 84 years making things people would buy. People only buy things that solve their problems. Things they truly care about.
Being an entrepreneur is about building something from nothing. But the success of that something is measured only by it’s ability to solve a real problem. If an idea does not solve a problem, it won’t work. No one will want it because no one will care. The best test? The solution sells.
If every entrepreneur and aspiring founder had an Edison-filter on their idea, I think better things would be made. Sharper ideas. Better problem solving. Even Edison, back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s had the customer in mind.
Let’s all adapt this strategy. It’s not revolutionary. It’s basic problem solving skills 101. Invent products that are solutions for real everyday problems of real everyday people. If it won’t sell, don’t invent it. Period.
According to Edison and centuries of business cases, that’s how you measure success.