Despite his phenomenal ability to innovate, Edison was not always successful. Even some of the ideas he took to market failed commercially. One example of this was the Edison talking doll.

The doll was an amazing idea for its time. Here we have a doll that could talk or recite a poem to a child at a time when recorded speech and music was in its infancy. A very pretty doll was created with fancy clothes and a wax cylinder recording inside. It had one major problem, it simply did not work. It sounded like something out of a “B” horror movie, plus it was very fragile and expensive. Few were made and even fewer were sold.

There are two things I’ve learned from this example from Edison. First, it is ok to make mistakes, even big ones. If you learn from them they’re not even mistakes. Edison showed this attitude when he said, “I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000-step process.” Second, it’s ok to put the past behind you and move on. Edison didn’t go back to the doll, he moved on to other projects. Later, he even referred to the dolls as “little monsters.” So, let’s put the little monsters behind us and move on to something new.

To learn more about the Edison talking doll, click here.

Here is an example of the doll today with our friend, Charlie Hummel.