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The Wizard of Menlo Park

Updated on January 4, 2011

The Art of Negotiation

Thomas Alva Edison, a prolific American inventor, who in 1869 developed the Ticker Tape machine, set up a meeting with two of the country's wealthiest investors in hopes to sell his new invention. Before he left his home that day to discuss the deal, he had a conversation with his wife.
"How much do you think they'll pay for that?" she asked,
"I'm planning on asking $3,500.00, though I'll be happy to get $2,000.00!" he answered.
He left and closed the door behind him and he was on his way.

He brought the machine into the office and commenced with his demonstration. When he was done he was asked the price for this new invention. Instead of revealing his price, he asked how much they were willing to pay for it.

"We'd like to offer you $20,000 for your machine." One of them answered.

Edison was stunned, but to his surprise, the two continued on, "$30,000, that's a fair offer!" Edison never flinched.

They continued on in frustration and said, "Very well, $40,000, that's a fair offer, don't you think?"

Edison responded by saying, "Yes, I think that's fair."

As he's walking out the office with his hand on the doorknob he heard,

"Mr. Edison, we'd thought you'd like to know we were ready to pay $60,000 for your invention!"
Edison turns around and retorted, "Gentlemen, I was only expecting to get $2,000."

Edison used the money to start a research facility in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he along with his assistants came up with many more inventions to benefit the human race. He was known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park".

Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!
Thomas A. Edison


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    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 7 years ago from Florida

      I love this story! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Rocco Simari profile image

      Rocco Simari 7 years ago from Salem, New Hampshire

      Thank you Crewman6.

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 7 years ago

      Cool anecdote, well written. It pays to expect the best.