"Who in their right mind would ever need more
than 640k of ram!?"
--- Bill Gates, 1981
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than
--- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science,
"I think there is a world market for maybe five
--- 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,
"But what ... is 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
"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
--- 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
--- 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, 1927.
"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'
"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
--- 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 got through college
--- Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari
and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal
"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.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a
permanently high plateau."
--- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University,
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no
--- Marschal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole
Superieure de Guerre.
"Everything that can be invented has been
--- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents,
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous
--- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will
forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane
--- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed
Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.