Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
My Blog

Timing is everything!

While walking through Antalya this week I got the inspiration for this week's blog in the newly finished garden complex in the centre of the town. However, more of that later.

The idea got me to researching people that were ahead of their time in inventing things that came to fruition much later. I remembered the early eighties when portable, pocket TVs appeared. Of course, screen quality was poor and in black and white, transmission was analogue with plenty of white noise and the only daytime TV was cricket. So this invention failed on the basis that the ball was indistinguishable from the other white dots on the screen! And yet today streaming video is considered an essential for any smart phone.

I discovered many other cases where the original inventions failed at the time but which today have made their mark. It is hard to believe that the electric car held the land speed record in 1899 prior to the internal combustion engine but have only now started to re-emerge.

Few have heard of the mathematician and engineer , Hero of Alexandria, who 2000 years ago invented both the steam engine and the vending machine. However, at the time vending machines dispensing holy water were not big back then and coke was not thought of as an alternative.

Rene Descartes developed contact lenses in 1636 and Charles Fritts came up with solar power in 1883. Even Edison got in on the act in 1888 by using the cylindrical phonograph inside a china doll to create the talking doll. This may well be standard for dolls today, but in !888 it was considered too creepy and never sold.

Infant it is Edison that brings me back to the inspiration for this blog that I mentioned at the beginning. When I give presentations on failure I used to mention the patent that Edison had on a concrete piano that proved a failure. However, the new garden complex in Antalya is based on a piano theme and I eventually witnessed a use for the concrete piano all these years later........

So, the moral of the story is never say never. Timing is everything and hopefully you will not need to wait 2000 years like Hero for recognition, or even 100 years like Edison!

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