We boomers have definitely made our share of prognostications and other pronouncements we’d like to take back. Perhaps our most famous slip of the generational tongue took place when we fervently declared that we shouldn’t and wouldn’t “trust anyone over 30.” Yet there were plenty of other cringe-worthy statements that sprung forth from our youthful mouths.
But before we get too down on ourselves, the good news is that we weren’t the only ones to make declarations that, from the viewpoint of hindsight, look more than slightly ridiculous. Here’s a list that should put a smile on your face:
- “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.?
- “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,?1977.?
- “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously?> considered as a means of communication. The device is, inherently, of no value.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.?
- “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 1920s?
- “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.)?
- “Who wants to hear actors talk?” — H.M. Warner on ‘talkies’, Warner Brothers, 1927?
- “I’m just glad it will be Clark Gable who is falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone with the Wind.”?
I’ve saved the two best ones for last!
- “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962?
- “64K ought to be enough memory for anybody.” Bill Gates, 1981