07 September 2004

The Visionaries

How come people very often miss the obvious? In every generation, every field of research, people tend to assume that things develop evolutionary, which is to a large extend very true. From time to time new paradigm show up, which turn all assumptions away. Navigating in such fields is difficult.

  • Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further development (Julies Sextus Frontinus, Highly regarded engineer in Rome 1st C A.D)
  • Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible (Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895)
  • I think there is a world market for maybe five computers (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943)
  • There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home (Ken Olsen, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977)
  • The 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, 1876)
  • Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value (Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French commander of Allied forces during the closing months of World War I, 1918)
  • Who the hell wants to hear actors talk? (Harry M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927)
  • 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 radio in the 1920'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 (New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921)
  • With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market (Business Week, August 2, 1968)
  • 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)

As a visionary person I very often see things much earlier than others. Despite what many people might think this is not easy.

My personal faviourite quote is:

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe (Albert Einstein)

Posted by Morten Marquard at 10:55 pm