Tag Archives: Inventor

The Worst Thing to Happen to an Inventor

Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison

When Thomas Edison was asked about his failures while trying to develop a practical light bulb, his reply was, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”*

Inventors are driven to ask why; to find out what comes next. So are they happy when they get everything just right?

For inventors, the thrill of the hunt is the chase, not the kill. When all the challenges are met, all the goals achieved, it’s time to either take it apart and try something different, or else immediately find a totally different challenge.

Our minds tell us, “I’ve successfully found out how to do this; now in order to learn I need to try something new.”

* The World Bank. 1994. World Development Report 1994: Infrastructure for Development. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press…” (via Google)http://darwin.nap.edu/books/NX006728/html/35.html

The Cost of Heroes

Walt Disney's  Gyro Gearloose

Walt Disney’s
Gyro Gearloose

When I was a kid, there were certain comic book characters that I favored – Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, and Gyro Gearloose (from the Donald Duck comics). Why? They all were inventors. Batman created all those great tools that fit into his utility belt. Spiderman proclaimed his web shooter “worthy of a Science Major” (pretty impressive to a guy in grade school). Iron Man – well back in those days Tony Stark figured out how to actually magnify power using (ready for this) A TRANSISTOR! Gyro Gearloose? He could invent the most amazing things, since Disney characters were unfettered by physics, math or any of the other hard sciences.

So, why do I bring this up? First, I’ve never invented anything – but I love to tinker. So, instead of drinking beer, sitting in my recliner, and watch sports on TV, I sip wine and try to get my computer to talk to my radio; my radio to talk to a peripheral device; my weather station to talk to the internet; and all my other inanimate object to talk to other inanimate objects.

Like a 3,000 piece puzzle, it takes a while to get all the pieces to fit.

Maybe I’d be better off watching the quarterback hit the puck up a line-drive to center field right past the keeper for a hat trick.