Glory be to problems!

Edwin C. Barnes wanted more than anything else to be the partner of Edison. Big defining word there – partner – different than to work for Edison. But that’s how he made his start, figuring that would certainly be an inroad in the right direction.

He actually got that job pretty easily. He managed to see Edison. Edison, though the encounter was brief, could see he had nothing on the ball. He said so himself later on. It was an easy thing for Edison to put someone in employ, so he had him hired into an entry level position and forgot all about him.

For five years Edison didn’t even know Barnes existed.

Quite the contrast to Barnes’ state of mind in which there didn’t pass five seconds he wasn’t fixated on Edison and how he could rise by his side. For five years Barnes was happy to do anything he was assigned, and was busily increasing his value in the organization, his awareness, and his network.

And then comes another invention this famous inventor makes. It evolved into the Dictaphone, in Barnes’ day, and is evolved presently into the digital hand-held voice recorder.

Basically it was for business people. Instead of having a secretary doing shorthand, they could now speak their message and be free from that bond. Not that the secretary wouldn’t type it up, but one no longer had to be connected at the same time in the same place.

Edison was sold on this idea, on fire with the vision. That invention made possible and evolved into the entire music and film recording industry.

So he gets the invention finished, and takes it to his sales force. But all he gets back is a chorus of “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah! Nobody wants this queer looking machine!”

Oh they whine, and if you like to shepherd weenies, this would be your group, “It’s hard to sell!” they bleat.

Edison’s at wit’s end. Barnes hears of the drama through his network. He stops what he’s doing, seeks immediate audience with Edison, and without even evaluating the specifics and the stats, blurts out, “Mr. Edison, I can sell that machine for you.”

The people Edison was paying to do that job weren’t doing what they were paid to do, go out there and sell the doggone thing. Barnes offers to solve Edison’s currently biggest problem. And he did!

The brass medallion fixed on thousands of Dictaphones said, “Made by Edison, Installed by Barnes.”

That’s it. That’s how Barnes’ fortune began. Not by avoiding the problem and whining, like those who had first dibs, but by exploiting it, by embracing it with the specific intention and certainty to master it.

Barnes became a multi-millionaire in short order, and retired from active business while he was still a young man, fulfilling all his dreams.

Why? Because he didn’t avoid problems, he went looking for problems. Because that’s where he could get the leverage, get the “in” with anybody, even the greatest inventor who ever lived! When you solve someone’s problem, you’re not a pest, you’re a very welcome guest!

Problems aren’t something to be avoided, they’re to be exploited!


Problems Aren't Something To Be Avoided, They 're To Be Exploited  by Ted Ciuba,

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