Subject: " It couldn't be done"
"Computers in the future may weigh no more
than 1.5 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's 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.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable
commercial value. Who pay for a message sent to
nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates
in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in
"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, 1887.
"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
"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
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 for
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 gone to college yet.'
- Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts
to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wolzniak's
"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 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 in 1859.
"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 form the intrusion of the wise and humane
surgeon." - Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon,
appointed Surgeon-Extraordianry to Queen Victoria 1873.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981.
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