Wisdom of the Ages

Famous last (and not-so-last) words.

1. "Computers, in the future, may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.

2. "I think there is a world market for, maybe, five computers." --Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

3. "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.

4. "But what ...is it good for?" --Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

5. "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." --Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

6. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is, inherently, of no value." --Western Union internal memo, 1876.

7. "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.

8. "The concept is interesting and well-formed. But, in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." --A Yale Univ. management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

9. "Who wants to hear actors talk?" --H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

10. "I'm just glad it will be Clark Gable who is falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." -- Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in Gone With The Wind.

11. "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 Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

12. "We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out." --Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

14. "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." --Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

15. "Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value." --Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

(Note: You'll often see "'640K ought to be enough memory for anybody.' --Bill Gates, 1981" on this list, but there is no evidence that he actually said it. Nice try, revisionists!)

Posted September 7, 2011

« The Cardiologist's Funeral | Home | Random | Are You a Literature Abuser? »

Category: Online life -- Prev: In the Beginning | Next: Memo to Customer Service