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Bad Predictions

"Who the ... 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. when they rejected the Beatles in 1962

"It will be years -- not in my time -- before a woman will become Prime Minister." --Margaret Thatcher, 1974

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

"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 Debbie Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies

"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 to invest in the radio in the 1920's

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." --Lee DeForest, inventor of the television

"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 in his project to drill for oil in 1859

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." --Albert Einstein, 1932

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." --Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899

And on airplanes...

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

"No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris." --Orville Wright

"Aeroplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value." --Marshal Ferdinard Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre (French equivalent of U.S. Army War College)

"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. Fred went on to found Federal Express.

And on computers...

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

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

"But what is it good for?" -- engineer at IBM commenting on the microchip in 1968

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, President & CEO of Digital Equipment Corp. in 1977

"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

"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 founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get backing for his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer

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


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