What is the most crucial skill: expert knowledge or salesmanship?
- Galileo Galilee was the genius who invented the telescope, right? Wrong. He has effectively stolen it from Hans Lipperhey, a German spectacle maker. Galileo improved the device and used it to discover new celestial bodies. Because Galileo was highly skilled in selling observations to his contemporary scientific world, the true inventor has rarely been mentioned at all. Everyone knows who Galileo Galilee was; most people are still convinced that he invented the telescope. Galileo Galilee made little effort to point to the original inventor – a circumstance that sheds some light on a surprisingly sinister side of his character.
- Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, correct? Not quite. It was the Italian Antonio Meucci who made the first long-distance call. However, he was unable to patent his invention effectively. Lack of English skills and a general lack of sales ability stripped him of the fruits of his work. The sales wizard Alexander Graham Bell effectively copied Meucci’s invention, patented it, and used it to gain great fame and riches.
- Every child knows Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. Countless legends are told about the incredible number of experiments Edison allegedly undertook to produce a working light bulb. Unfortunately, these stories turn out to be a clever PR stunt. Heinrich Goebel, a German emigrant to the U.S., tried to sell his original light bulb invention (although he also had likely used the work of others to construct his prototype) to Thomas Edison in 1882. That was his biggest mistake; Edison stole and patented the invention himself. It shows what a clever salesperson Edison was.
I am a project manager (Project Manager Professional, PMP), a Project Coach, a management consultant, and a book author. I have worked in the software industry since 1992 and as a manager consultant since 1998. Please visit my United Mentors home page for more details. Contact me on LinkedIn for direct feedback on my articles.