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Edison vs Tesla and the Myth of the Lone Inventor

Tempers run hot in the tech community anytime you mention the names Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. At the dawn of the 20th century both men had incredibly accurate predictions for the future and each were talented inventors who helped build the high-tech world we know today. But, as the story now goes, Edison robbed Tesla of his inventions and made out like a bandit. This simplistic (and very fashionable) version of technology history hurts our ability to innovate in the year 2013 and beyond. Looking at everything from the light bulb to the iPad to the internet itself, BBC Future's Matt Novak explores the process of collaboratively building the future and why the myth of the sole inventor needs to die.


  1. What really happened between Edison and Tesla?
  2. Does it really matter if Edison robbed Tesla?
  3. Are there any true sole inventors or are all inventions collaborative?
  4. In terms of inventions, how far have really gone since Edison/Tesla?
  5. Does collaboration build better technology?



Rob Wilson, Digital Publicity Manager,

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