Since I can remember Thomas Edison was the inventor of the light bulb.

Until I read Richard Friday’s insightful book The Great Reset and found out Edison in fact did not invent the lightbulb.

In the early 1800’s Sir Humphrey Davy began inventing a variety of safety lamps for coal miners and presented them to the Royal Society in return for accolades.  

On into the mid-1800’s lamp technology began to be encased in a glass bulb through other adventurous English inventors.  

It wasn’t until the latter half of the 1800’s that Edison would form the Edison Light Company and begin commercially perfecting and lighting up entire cities.  

Although Edison did not invent the light bulb, he and his Menlo Park team certainly perfected the light bulb and even more importantly created a system for mass delivery which would go on to revolutionize an entire planet and it’s ensuing economic revolutions.  

Last night, a massive storm rolled through our town and the dog woke us up freaked out.  The power went out while we were awake, and it reminded me how grateful I am for the systematic delivery of power and light. 

Building one lightbulb is transforming.  Building a system to light a thousand lightbulbs is exponential.

When you build a product you impact one person.  That very well may be good enough.

When you build a system you impact tens, hundreds, or thousands, or millions.

When you build a product you feel satisfied.

When you build a system for that product you satisfy tens, hundreds, thousands, or millions.

Sometimes building a system is unnecessary. 

Systematizing conversations with my wife in the privacy of our walks down the street would be invasive and harmful.

Systematizing building a puzzle around our dinner table during a pandemic quarantine would position us to miss the point of that private moment.

Sometimes building a system is entirely necessary.

Sometimes building a system is entirely compassionate and thoughtful.  I’m glad our healthcare workers operate within the system to help impact human life.  

We are in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and a significant economic decline.  Business owners are going to need a system for building a business that will be able to withstand this type of storm in the future.

Just in the United States there are reported to be over 30 million small businesses, and even more business owners (think partnerships).  You cannot impact hundreds or thousands of business owners with one person delivering one product door to door.  There is not enough time to combat the speed of chaos.

We have the necessary product in the Business On Purpose Roadmap, now we rely on a growing and compassionate system to light up entire towns and cities to liberate business owners from the chaos of working in the dark. 

What is your product?  Regardless of your inventive authorship of that product, the more important product is the system to deliver your product…but only if it aligns with your mission.



Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at