Five Professional Lessons from Tesla’s Inventive Career — Five Lessons

N THE YEAR 1905,a few construction workers gathered in a small New York village to erect a particularly lofty structure, a 187 feet tall tower. Atop this tower was perched a fifty-five ton dome of conductive metals, and beneath it stretched an iron root system that penetrated more than 300 feet deep into the earth. The structure was named “power tower” and its intended purpose was to bring about a global energy revolution.

The idea in the mind of the tower’s inventor was fairly eccentric— he proposed to conduct electricity through the earth and the sky, enabling a wireless transmission of electric power across large areas of land. Lamentably, the tower was never completed as envisioned by its inventor due to shortage of funds. Eventually, the structure was unceremoniously demolished in 1917 for salvage of the debts that accrued through the project.

The name of the inventor was Nikola Tesla — a generally underappreciated genius to whom we owe a myriad of modern-day conveniences. So let us pay a brief homage to Tesla by recounting his illustrious career and learning a few lessons from his professional life.

Born and bred in Croatia, Nikola Tesla possessed a photographic memory and a surprisingly vivid imagination as a child. Despite being a brilliant student, he could not finish his university degree as he got addicted to gambling. Following his father’s demise, he spent next few years bouncing back and forth across several European cities for work and study. But his career took a significant turn as he immigrated to New York City in June 1884 and joined Edison Machine Works. 

Though Thomas Edison—a great inventor in his own right—was fairly impressed with Tesla’s diligence and problem solving abilities, the professional relationship between the two was sour from day one. A famous episode goes like this: 

Edison offered Tesla an amount of $50,000 to improve the design of his DC (direct current) power generation plants. Tesla worked day and night on the said improvements and when he demanded the payment, Edison laughed off saying,  

“When you become a full-fledged American, you will learn to appreciate American humor”. 

Instead, Edison offered a $10 a week raise in Tesla’s salary. Having felt cheated, Tesla immediately quit his job with Edison and left.

Lesson One: Always document your business deals. We have no way to delve into the accuracy of Tesla’s claim about Edison’s mis-commitment however such situations are not uncommon in business dealings. Never ever rely on verbal agreements in professional matters, always get contracts signed and stamped. 

As his time with Edison came to an end, Tesla had many ideas for new motors and electric transmission equipment— ideas that never appealed to Edison. Soon afterwards, having tried and failed with a brief partnership named Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing, Tesla found him digging ditches for $2 per day. He felt miserable and depressed about his chances in this new country. However, it proved to be a temporary trial. 

Before long, Tesla and his promising ideas caught the attention of the right people. In 1887, he joined hands with A.K. Brown, a manager for the Western Union Telegraph Company; together they founded the Tesla Electric Company with the specific intention of developing Tesla’s AC induction motor. By 1891, Tesla had obtained a total of 40 patents related to his induction motor. 

Meanwhile George Westinghouse, a powerful businessman, who was looking to compete with Edison’s DC motors realized that future belonged to Tesla’s superior AC motors. The partnership between Tesla and Westinghouse marked the beginning of what came to be known as “War of Currents” i.e. to establish the commercial viability of Tesla and Westinghouse’s Alternating Current over Edison’s Direct Current.

In 1893, when George Westinghouse was awarded a contract for the electrification of world’s fair to be held in Chicago, he selected Tesla as the lead engineer for the project. Being an unconventional inventor, Tesla wanted to demonstrate the practicality and superiority of his AC technology over Edison’s rival DC electric power. 

On the day of the event, the fairgoers were amazed to see wireless lamps connected to an AC power electric field. Tesla had not only eradicated the publicized safety concerns about his wired AC electricity, he had also demonstrated the possibility of wireless electricity. Subsequent installation and success of electric generators at the Niagara Falls by Tesla and Westinghouse proved to be the decisive victory over Edison’s DC systems; Tesla had won the Battle of Currents. 

Lesson Two: Keep your aims high; give a positive direction to your anger and frustration. Rather than fighting trivial battles, strive to contest and win bigger wars. Despite his negative experiences with Edison, Tesla chose to battle in the field rather than blaming Edison for his miseries. 

Tesla’s triumphs with AC induction motors and Niagara Falls project were still fresh when a tragedy befell: on the inauspicious morning of March 13, 1895, Tesla learnt that his laboratory located on West Broadway had burnt to ground overnight. Within a span of few hours, he had lost his years of research and hard work. 

It is thought that experiments involving production of liquid oxygen could have caused the disaster. However, the consequences were much more fateful than the causes. Not only had Tesla never prepared for such a situation, he had not bothered to take insurance for the building and the equipment. Consequently, the calamity caused him a major intellectual as well as financial loss. 

Lesson Three: Never underestimate the vulnerability of your business. Always keep a disaster management plan in place. Tesla was so busy in imagining and experimenting with his ideas that he didn’t think the unthinkable and eventually got a major blow.

Subsequent to his lab’s destruction, Tesla found him struggling to cope with the aftermath; on the other hand, his partnership with Westinghouse was about to run its course. He had no choice but to find new investors. The trouble was that most of his ideas, despite being brilliant, were so grandiose that investors were often skeptical about spending huge amounts of money.

Tesla’s power tower mentioned in the beginning was not the only project that failed due to lack of funding. In 1898, at the first Electrical Exhibition in Madison Square Garden, Tesla demonstrated the first remote-controlled boat and advocated for its numerous applications including military potential but there were no takers. 

Many of Tesla’s ideas were so far ahead of his time that no one was able to grasp their limitless potential. Thus they remained limited to his imagination and could never be materialized. 

Lesson Four: Try to turn your ideas into commercially viable projects or they will remain nonsensical sparks of brilliance just like many of Tesla’s ideas. It is better to start small and gradually upgrade than starting big and failing due to lack of resources.

In 1897, Tesla filed his fundamental radio patent. But when Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio communication in December 1901, it started off a series of legal battles that would last decades. Tesla responded to the situation by saying:

“Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using 17 of my patents.”

While the legal battles continued for next forty years, Marconi reaped plenty of financial gains; on the contrary, Tesla spent the better part of his remaining life struggling to make ends meet. It wasn’t until 1943, eight months after Tesla’s death, that the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that Tesla’s fundamental radio patent was to be upheld.

Lesson Five: Don’t expect to win all the battles in your career; be ready to lose some of them, fairly or unfairly.  The posthumous acknowledgement of Tesla’s radio invention meant nothing to his financial struggles. The world may treat you unfairly as it happened to Tesla; that is the way it has always been, and always will be. Keep a plan B ready. 

Though he could not gain the appreciation he deserved, Nikola Tesla was granted more than 250 patents across 24 countries. Apart from his contributions to electricity, he was the inventor of car sparkplugs, remote controls, wireless communication systems and numerous other devices. However, his dream of wireless electricity remains elusive till date.

Five Professional Lessons from Tesla’s Inventive Career — Five Lessons

I think Tesla was inspired by EBE’s. My favorite scientist who just might have been one of them.

5 Tracks For Friday(s) — … on being and becoming …

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The Easybeats – FRIDAY ON MY MIND

Nancy Sinatra – FRIDAY’S CHILD

The Cure – FRIDAY I’M IN LOVE

Steely Dan – BLACK FRIDAY

The Specials – FRIDAY NIGHT, SATURDAY MORNING

BONUS TRACK (Get ready for the weekend if you’re able)
Gavin Friday – ABLE

5 Tracks For Friday(s) — … on being and becoming …

Scorpions – The Good Die Young — Via: Poetry By Archangel White Wolf

Dedicated to my friend Paul you only just passed but I miss you already mate never forgotten always loved your place in heaven awaits you. LYRICS You wake upWatch the world go ’roundYou shiverFeeling upside downYour heart is beating fastPumping blood to your headAnother day to fightYou have a prayer on your lips under the […]

Scorpions – The Good Die Young — Poetry By Archangel White Wolf

😢

Manowar – Warriors of the World — Poetry By Archangel White Wolf

To my brothers and sisters around the world who work in the dark to serve the light this ones for you.🐺⚔️

LYRICS

Here our soldiers stand
From all around the world
Waiting in a line
To hear the battle cry
All are gathered here
Victory is near
The sound will fill the hall
Bringing power to us all
We alone are fighting
For metal that is true
We own the right to live the fight
We’re here for all of you
Now swear the blood upon your steel
Will never dry
Stand and fight together
Beneath the battle sky
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Like thunder from the sky
Sworn to fight and die
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Many stand against us
But they will never win
We said we would return
And here we are again
To bring them all destruction
Suffering and pain
We are the hammer of the gods
We are thunder, wind and rain
There they wait in fear
With swords in feeble hands
With dreams to be a king
First – one should be a man
I call them out
And charge them all
With a life that is a lie
And in their final hour
They shall confess before they die
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Like thunder from the sky
Sworn to fight and die
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
If I should fall in battle
My brothers who fight by my side
Gather my horse and weapons
Tell my family how I died
Until then I will be strong
I will fight for all that is real
All who stand in my way
Will die by steel
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Like thunder from the sky
Sworn to fight and die
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world
Brothers everywhere
Raise your hands into the air
We’re warriors
Warriors of the world

Manowar – Warriors of the World — Poetry By Archangel White Wolf

carnival of rust — … on being and becoming …

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To breathe the name
Of your savior
In your hour of need
And taste the blame
If the flavor should remind you of greed
Of implication, insinuation and you will
Till you cannot lie still
In all this turmoil, before red cave and foil
Come closing in for a kill

Come feed the rain
‘Cause I’m thirsty for your love
Dancing underneath the skies of lust
Yeah feed the rain
‘Cause without your love, my life
Ain’t nothing but this carnival of rust

It’s all a game
Avoiding failure
When true colors will bleed
All in the name
Of misbehavior
And the things we don’t need

I lust for after no disaster can touch
Touch us anymore
And more than ever, w hope to never fall
Where enough is not the same it was before

Come feed the rain
‘Cause I’m thirsty for your love
Dancing underneath the skies of lust
Yeah feed the rain
‘Cause without your love, my life
Ain’t nothing but this carnival of rust

Yeah feed the rain
‘Cause I’m thirsty for your love,
Dancing underneath the skies of lust
Yeah, feed the rain
‘Cause without your love, my life
Ain’t nothing but this carnival of rust

Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
Ooh, when the world is burning
Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
Ooh, when the heart is yearning
Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
Ooh, when the world is burning
Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
Ooh, when the heart is yearning

carnival of rust — … on being and becoming …

When this is over we will all have something in common

big-low-t.tumblr.com Said:
When this is over we will all have something in common. Every single person in the entire world. It will not matter what race you are, what your sexual preferences are, what religion you worship or even if you don’t have any beliefs. When this is over we will all share a common bond. We will have survived. We will have endured. Many of us will know some people who didn’t make it. Many of us will have caught the virus and came out the other side alive. We all now know what it means to be “essential.”

We must take this common bond, as humans, and make the world a better place afterward.

Take the chance to change what it means to be human.

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Well said, don’t you think?
A music blog I’ve followed for many years.
About any kind of music can be found there.
I find the wider the range of music liked,
usually the more intelligent most truly are.

Eclecticism .

Love in Venice #short prose #flashfiction — Short Prose

“Would you like to remain in Venice forever?”

I bite my lips.

“Oh, no, but I would love to live here for an entire winter.”

“And what would you do?”

“Every night I will walk in Piazza San Marco, at that moment when the silence becomes so permeable that my steps can be heard from the moon. In the heated, mysterious, thrilling nights of the carnival I will change mask after mask, dress after dress, smile after smile, pain after pain, lover after lover. Every morning I will mix essences of perfumes, seeking for the very one that can revive the mystique of my body, intoxicate my soul, empower my mind. Every twilight I will dive in the coolness of the Adriatic Sea; my body shivering, my soul revived; my memory of him forever gone. In the night I will go to consult astrologer after astrologer in the less known quarters of the city.”

I stop.

The sound of a church bell tears apart the moist air.

He looks at me: blue eyes, dark hair; powerful voice.

“Tonight there is party at the Doge’s Palace. Would you like to come with me?”

“I am not going to parties anymore.”

“Why not?”

“I died long time ago, by mistake. Now I am just a Venetian mask.”

For a moment he looks flabbergasted.
….

excerpt from the manuscript Glass Lovers 
@short-prose-fiction (Gabriela M)

image: Mohammadreza Zeidabadi; Shutterstock; [link]

Another beautiful poem from Short Prose.

Love in Venice #short prose #flash fiction — Short Prose