Nikola Tesla is a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, futurist, and one of the greatest inventors of all time. His inventions made human life easier from plugin your phone to the use of the refrigerator and light, we should thank him for all of that.
Nikola Tesla died poor because he focused on science and innovation more than business and money. He had many chances to become rich but didn’t take them and instead focused on his inventions and forgot the business and marketing aspects.
Tesla had an idea of developing a new way of generating electricity using alternating current, to learn more about the field in a technical way. He moved to Paris to work for the Frech branch of Thomas Edison’s electric company.
Because of his hard work and ability to fix any problem in the company, his manager gives him the opportunity to work for Edison Machine Works in New York City. Thomas Edison was very impressed by Tesla and told him that he is the best assistant he ever had. This was a chance for Tesla to make money and become rich but he didn’t take it.
Tesla and Edison disagreed on how electricity should be delivered, Edison preferred Direct currency while Tesla preferred Alternative Current. He then left Edison’s company and started his own but it fail because of a lack of capital. This also shows how Tesla was more of a scientist and not a businessman like other inventors.
Tesla didn’t have any money and turned to work in digging to survive. In 1887, Tesla invented an induction motor that run on AC. This was his second chance to make a fortune.
George Westinghouse believed in Tesla and bought his induction motor invention and made him a consultant in his company. The company success but it was in a $10 million debt (equivalent to $280 Million today).
Westinghouse asks Tesla to reduce his royalty to save the company, which Ttesla agrees upon. If Tesla didn’t give up his royalties he would die with a net worth of $12 Million (equivalent to $300 Million today).
Tesla then walked away with $216,000 (equivalent to $60 Million today) to let Westinghouse use his inventions forever. Tesla invested this money to build a couple of laboratories around New York City.
Tesla continue to work on his project but suddenly his laboratory was set on fire and he lost years of hard work. His mental health and financial situation declined.
Tesla’s last days were in a small hotel room alone and bankrupt. He only focused on making human life better and didn’t care much about capitalism or money. If Tesla wasn’t only focused on his invention and start to focus on his financial and marketing side he would be one of the richest inventors of all time.