With immigrants in the news, let me tell you about fifteen-year-old David Sarnoff whose father died shortly after his family immigrated to America. To support his mother and siblings, David got a $5/week job as office boy at the Commercial Cable Company in New York. (Government funded welfare programs weren’t to arrive for another 30 years.) On his own time he taught himself to use the telegraph key making himself more useful to the company’s telegram business. On Monday morning September 17, 1906, he explained to his supervisor that he’d be unable to come to work on Thursday and Friday on account of the Jewish holyday of Rosh HaShana. He was promptly fired.
Ten days later, on Saturday, September 29, 1906 he observed the holyday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and on Sunday morning he began working for the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America. Two months later Guglielmo Marconi, himself, visited the New York office. Young David brashly introduced himself to the great Italian inventor who took a liking to his young employee. While off duty, David took correspondence courses in mathematics.
At work on the night of April 14, 1912, David Sarnoff received the distress signals being telegraphed from the doomed Titanic. He passed the tragic information to William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers. This turned the new-fangled radio into a household term. Meanwhile, despite his fascination with the technical side of radio, David Sarnoff moved to the financial side of the business saying, “…the place to make money is where the money is coming in…”