Wet Blankets Through History
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 95 12:16:35 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Wet Blankets Through History
From: email@example.com (Daniel Steinberg)
You've already seen some of this list. Perhaps not all.
[Yes, many, but not all, of them went out to Fun_People last May. -psl]
I got it without a forwarding history, but with a long pedantic
introduction from which i've spared you.
Wet Blankets through History
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, 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 the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers,
"Im 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"
"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.
"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 of
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.
"I think there's a world market for about five computers." Thomas J Watson,
Chairman of the Board, IBM.
"The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives." Admiral
William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project.
"This fellow Charles Lindbergh will never make it. He's doomed." Harry
Guggenheim, millionaire aviation enthusiast.
"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.
"Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific
advances." Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the vacuum tube and father of
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell,
Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
© 1995 Peter Langston