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Predictions - Quotes
  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, 1943

  • "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" -- H. M. Warner (1881-1958), founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927

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

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

  • "Inventions reached their limit long ago, and I see no hope for further development." -- Julius Frontinus, 1st century A.D.

  • "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 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.)

  • "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.

  • "Space travel is bunk." -- Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik

  • "All attempts at artificial aviation are not only dangerous to life but doomed to failure from an engineering standpoint." -- editor of 'The Times' of London, 1905

  • "640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates (1955-), in 1981

  • "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

  • "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

  • "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 confess that in 1901, I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years . . . Ever since, I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions." -- Wilbur Wright, 1908

  • "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre

  • "A bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law, which instrument it is within the capacity of man to reproduce with all its movements." -- Leonardo da Vinci, 'Treatise on the Flight of Birds,' 1505

  • "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon". -- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon- Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873

  • "You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck...I have no time for such nonsense." -- Napoleon, commenting on Fulton's Steamship

  • "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

  • "Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances." -- Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the Audion tube and a father of radio, 25 February, 1967.

  • "The aeroplane will never fly." -- Lord Haldane, Minister of War, Britain, 1907

  • "I suppose we shall soon travel by air-vessels; make air instead of sea voyages; and at length find our way to the moon, in spite of the want of atmosphere." -- Lord Byron, 1882

  • "A certain Liquor which they call Coffee...which will soon intoxicate the brain." -- G. W. Parry (1601)

  • "Within the next few decades, autos will have folding wings that can be spread when on a straight stretch of road so that the machine can take to the air." -- Eddie Rickenbacker, 'Popular Science,' July 1924

  • "But what ... is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

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