Expert opinions….

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in General | 1 comment

Notwithstanding the very serious nature of the work we do, the high standards we must maintain, and the responsibility we have to deliver services day in and day out, it’s good to enjoy the lighter side of life every so often.  So this week, in recognition of the 126th celebration of Groundhog Day – hey, it’s as good as any to celebrate – I thought it fitting to look back at some notable expert opinions.

According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather.  Dubbed the Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil enjoys a perfect record of weather forecasting.  While our ability to prognosticate as accurately may fall somewhat short of perfect, our predictions can sometimes prove just as legendary!  I hope you enjoy….

“I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.”

(Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.)

“Computers in the future will weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
 (Popular Mechanics, Forecasting Advance of Science, 1949.)

“I have travelled 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.”
(Editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.)

“But what is it good for?”
(Engineer at Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the microchip, 1968.)

“There is no reason why anyone would want to have a computer in their home.”
(Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, 1977.)

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
(Bill Gates of Microsoft, 1981.)

Thinking the computer industry corners the market on fallible predictions?  How could we be so wrong?

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”
(Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859.)

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”
(Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.)

“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 memo, 1876.)

“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
(Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.)

“I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you don’t know how to use the English language.”

(Editor of the San Francisco Examiner, rejecting a short story from author and poet Rudyard Kipling.)

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

(Charles H Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.)

“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 1920’s.)

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”

(Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.)

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
(HM Warner, Warner Bros, 1927.)

“Fred Astaire can’t act, can’t sing, balding… Can dance a little.”
(MGM talent scout, 1928.)

“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

(Irving Fisher, Economics professor, Yale University, 1929.)

“What can you do with a guy with ears like that?”
(Jack Warner, movie mogul, rejecting Clark Gable, 1930.)

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

(Jim Denny of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, firing Elvis Presley after his first performance.)

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
(Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962.)

“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say that America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.”
(Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting the Mrs. Fields Cookies business.)

Did you ever have a great idea that nobody thought would work?  Take heart from these examples….

“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 for 3M PostIt Notepads.)

“So we went to Atari and said, ‘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.’ They said ‘No.’ Then we went to Hewlett-Packard; they said, ‘We don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.’”
(Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.)

These brilliant examples bring to my mind one of the greatest ads ever produced…with a tribute ending:  Think Differently…with tribute ending

So in our world, where failure is not an option and literally millions of people depend on us, remember that there is room for innovation, humor, and the persistence of will.  Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.  That is something that only you can tell yourself.  Take time to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned, pursue what we have yet to understand, and enjoy the human condition.  And oh, yes, happy Groundhog Day!

One Comment

  1. I thought it was interesting in comparison in todays world.

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