Most people think that Edison invented the first light bulb.
In fact, Edison was spectacularly late to the game.
In 1878, when the 36-year-old inventor decided to focus on building a light bulb, 23 others had already invented early versions called arc lamps, some of which were being used commercially to light streets and large buildings.
So how did Edison win in such a crowded field when he was so far behind?
He and his team spent a year working day and night doing thousands of experiments. On October 21, 1879, they succeeded, creating a light bulb for everyday use in the home.
Edison would go on to pioneer five different multibillion-dollar fields: electricity, motion pictures, telecommunications, batteries, and sound recording. In today’s terms, you can think of Edison as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg all rolled into one.
What was the key to Edison’s incredible success? In two words — deliberate experimentation. For Edison, building a company was synonymous with building an invention factory.