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Business People Applauding

Our Philosophy

from the desk of Thomas Bontempo

June 8m 2021


Ideas are a dime a dozen, and you need lots of dimes before a good idea can accelerate into reality. Bad ideas and good ideas are the same until they are tested. Each idea is a vision that requires imagination and confidence to lift it one inch off the ground.


What’s a lowly inch? 

In business it is not 25.4 millimeters, but a sum of values necessary to execute on the idea. The risk to “test” the idea doesn’t go beyond imagination until the money factor is addressed, which can only happen if vision is clear and simple. There is a significant difference between consensus and vision.  Thousands of ideas never reached their potential because of naysayers and ignorance. 

Let’s look at an idea that initially was lost in the sauce.

A simple idea that was around for over 250 years, but no one paid attention.

In my opinion it stands as the foremost idea that made possible what we have today. Without it the modern world does not exist, or the 20th century would have looked like the 19th century in slow motion.

What is the idea?

Handheld box camera --- a billion-dollar idea that spawned a $155 trillion industry and still growing.

Before shutting off your brain to the thought, I believe the backstory is worth two minutes of your time.


David Henderson Houston received the first patent in 1881 for a camera that used a roll of film. The immigrant farmer from Glasgow, Scotland, offered the idea for a mere $150 for a 50% interest to produce the camera. An estimated 27 individuals and organizations did not invest in the idea, claiming in part, it was worthless, a measly novelty. Moreover, the idea had been around since the 18th century, and no one believed it was practical. 

In 1887, George Eastman said “yes” to the idea.

What did George Eastman have that the others lacked?


Those four words by themselves have value but when applied together magic happens. You may ask, which one is the most important. The first --- vision. George Eastman saw beyond the handheld box camera. He looked into the 21st century and envisioned changes in journalism, art, culture, and how we see ourselves.

To him the printing press expanded human innovation and considered one of the most notable events of our social evolution. Its sphere of influence is  paperphotography, the personal computer and the underlying technology for the modern data age, semiconductor electronics and of course the Internet.

All because of vision, each linked together pushed our intelligence into the 21st century.  

George Eastman’s humble handheld box Kodak camera launched in 1888, loaded with a film for 100 exposures and cost $ 25, made him extraordinarily wealthy. The Kodak camera had a $300 billion monopoly, using the current value the fortune would have been worth $1.04 trillion. By the last quarter of the 20th century, Nikon, alternative imaging methods and advancement in digital technology, reduced Kodak to near zero value. 

Why wasn’t the Kodak idea embraced by literally hundreds of thousands of people since the 18th century, only to be “discovered” 125 years later when one person executed on the vision?

There is no answer. The idea was accepted by George Eastman and in the process was amply rewarded. 


We are not saying CommerceByUs, Inc. has an idea worthy of the Kodak example, only ideas are:

V + M + E + P=S™

vision +money+ execution+ patience= success


At CommerceByUs, we search for major patterns which exerted influence in times of turning points, whether positive or negative, to identify creative, expressive, and even moral opportunities. Albert Einstein ranked alphabetization, paper, and the printing press as the crucial factors of human intellect. These ideas conceived 500 years ago created billions of ideas as the human mind exploded with thoughts.  I call them “upstarts,” a cluster of ideas bearing fruit with visionary extensions. 

Today, we are influenced by consensus. Ideas have been reduced to “herd-mentality,” the rules which declare, who makes the most noise gets the prize.   It’s the wrong approach. “If Sally likes it, I must like it.” Social media has blasted our thoughts with marginal consensus that become main-stream just by being more vocal, “out-there,” like raw meat ready to be devoured without care of indigestion. 

At CommerceByUs, we have jammed our banner in the ground, declaring, 

“Wealth, whatever its favor, color or shape, flows from ideas.”


Show me your idea. I will personally review it. 


Thomas Bontempo

President, CommerceByUs, Inc. 

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