We all have our heroes. The people who epitomize an ethic, embody success, and who we look up to. Film heroes, music heroes, sports heroes, even Heroes of Industry.
You can’t get into your car and drive to work without gasoline to power your car. Cars and gasoline was a foundation that began with Ford and Rockefeller agreeing in the 1920’s to work together. Nowadays, very few people question that basic fact of everyday life.
The multi-billion dollar industries that manufacture cars, tires, batteries, interior carpets and fabrics, window glass all exist to supply the car buying public. Billions in oil & gas exploration, drilling, production, transportation and refining all exist to deliver the most cost effective gasoline, oil and plastic feed stocks possible.
If you think Edison’s commercialization of the light bulb was transformational, think about the fact that today’s power utility companies are the vestige of Edison 128 direct current power plants in the early 1900’s. Quite a legacy after the light bulb, phonograph, stock market ticker, moving picture system and dozens of other inventions that we take for granted today.
Sometimes inventors are entrepreneurs, sometimes not. Inventors are sometimes complemented by investors and visionary business people that are able to facilitate the invention to manufacturing process. The “Work Horse of Modern Industry” Tesla’s ac induction motor was funded by George Westinghouse.
Others like Steve Job’s and Elon Musk have been able to see the creation of their vision and meet the demands of funding a startup. The creation of the Apple personal computer and the smart phone have spawned huge industries needed to manufacture the consumer electronics, often inventing other new technology like high strength touch screens. Tesla Motors has built it’s own manufacturing infrastructure in order to manufacture a copper rotor for it’s high efficiency drive motors and develop complex assemblies techniques for its lithium battery storage systems.
Sometimes its the notion of taking what exists and making better, necessity is the mother of invention. James Watt improving the efficiency of the Newcomen steam engine and creating the first industrial revolution.
The list could go on for ever. And it does. Because everything that exists in the world today started as somebody’s new idea. Production of textiles, large scale water treatment systems, energy production, transportation systems are all the ideas and improvements of creative individuals working together to solve problems and make life better.