Red Faces

(Thanks to Urb LeJeune, South Jersey IBMPCUG)

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

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

"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

"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.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." --Bill Gates, 1981

"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 memo, l876.

Whatever the situation in the USA, Britain had little use of the telephone because, "Here we have a superabundance of messengers, errand boys and things of that kind." W. H. Preece, then Post Office Assistant Engineer in Chief, testified in 1879 to a House of Commons Committee. [source: "Person To Person", Peter Young, 1991].

"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 urging for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

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

"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."

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

"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.)

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." -- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

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

"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.

"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 in 1859.

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

"Louis Pasteurs theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1871.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." -- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, l899.

ON THE OTHER HAND...                      
                      ....some ideas have endured:

The automatic [telephone] exchange was invented in 1889 by Kansas undertaker Almon B. Strowger as a means of preventing telephone operators from advising his rivals of the death of local citizens ("Power of Speech", Peter Young, 1983).


"I say, with Waite of Colorado, that the rivers of America will run with blood filled to their banks before we will submit to them taking the Bible out of our schools." William A. (Billy) Sunday (1862-1935) American evangelist.

Will this quote withstand the test of time?...

"As the dust and emotion settles over Manhattan and we all return to our daily routines digesting the drama that played out before our weeping eyes this week, I would ask you to consider the infamous words of global elitist and billionaire David Rockefeller as he and others like him carefully planned out our future from behind closed doors. 'We are on the verge of a Global Transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nation will accept the New World Order!'" Source: Paul Proctor c. 9-11-2001

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