I was having lunch the other day with my friend (and very smart business person) Townsend.  We were on the subject of advisory services and the value that they provide.  He told me the following story and I thought I’d share it as it illustrates the value of advisory services (and what we’re trying to do at Lighthouse Conferencing) perfectly.

Disclaimer: The following story is allegorical.  It most likely never happened. I haven’t Googled it to see if anything close to this happened, but you’ll get the point.

Back in the old timey days Thomas Edison was working on a new fing-flangeled generator.  No matter what he did he just couldn’t get it to work. Everything looked right on paper and in the prototype but alas, the generator wouldn’t work.

Edison decided to call in his good buddy Nikola Tesla to take a look.  Tesla walked into the shop and over to the generator.  He looked it up and down, scratched his chin, pulled out a big piece of chalk and put a large “X” on one of the access panels.  In his thick Italian accent he said, “Open up that door with the “X”, remove two revolutions of copper wire, and you’re good to go.” And with that he walked out.  As quickly as he arrived he was gone. Edison shrugged his shoulders and ordered his engineers to  follow Tesla’s advice.  Once the access panel was put back into place Edison turned on the generator and to his delight it powered up and worked flawlessly.

About a week later Edison received his invoice from Tesla.  All it said was $20,000.  A bit perplexed as Tesla didn’t spend a ton of time in the shop with the generator, he placed a call to his buddy.

“Tesla, it’s Edison.  Got your invoice.  Not to be cheap, we’ll pay and all, but anyway you can itemize it for me? I’d like to know what I’m paying for.”  Tesla had no problem with this and a week later the itemized invoice arrived at Edison’s shop.  It read:

– 1 piece of chalk to make “X” = $1.00

– Knowing where to put the “X” = $19,999

Edison smiled and reached for his checkbook.

Anybody could have removed the copper wire and made the generator work, but only Tesla knew where to put the “X”.

About Marc Gutman

Marc Gutman is the Chief Events Officer at Lighthouse Conferencing. He has over ten years of experience in Conferencing and Collaboration services and is dedicated to Lighthouse's mission of being a different kind of conferencing company. When not sharing his passion for remote meetings and collaboration you can find Marc enjoying time with his wife and three small children, cycling, snowboarding, kiteboarding, playing golf and generally enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Find Marc on and LinkedIn.

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Marc Gutman is the Chief Events Officer at Lighthouse Conferencing. He has over ten years of experience in Conferencing and Collaboration services and is dedicated to Lighthouse's mission of being a different kind of conferencing company. When not sharing his passion for remote meetings and collaboration you can find Marc enjoying time with his wife and three small children, cycling, snowboarding, kiteboarding, playing golf and generally enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Find Marc on and LinkedIn.

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