Edison, Lemley writes, “did not ‘invent’ the light bulb in any meaningful sense.” Electric lighting was long in the works when Edison came on the scene, and his work attracted several patent infringement lawsuits from his contemporaries. “What Edison really did well,” Lemley argues, “was commercialize the invention.”
Like Steve Jobs, Edison may have taken a lot of the credit for other people’s work. In other words, his 10,000 failures were really team efforts. But why not build the team around the quarterback? The leader is the face of the company after all.