"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 15 tons." - Popular
Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson,
chairman of IBM, 1943
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best
people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the
year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
"But what ... is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems
Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson,
president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means
of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." Western Union internal
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a
message sent to nobody in particular?" --David Sarnoff's associates in response to
his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a
'C,' the idea must be feasible." - A Yale University management professor in response
to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to
found Federal Express Corp.)
"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - Harry M. Warner, Warner Brothers,
"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary
Cooper." - Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone
With The Wind."
"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America
likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." Response to Debbi
Fields' idea of starting her company, Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - Decca
Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president,
Royal Society, 1895.
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature
was full of examples that said you can't do this." - Spencer Silver on the work that
led to the unique adhesives or 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with
some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We
just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then
we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you; you haven't got
through college yet.'" - Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get
Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.
"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the
need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the
basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." - 1921 New York Times editorial
about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.
"You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your
muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent
muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." - Response to
Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're
crazy." - Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - Irving
Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." - Marechal
Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell,
Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". - Pierre Pachet,
Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of
the wise and humane surgeon". - Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed
Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.