"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"
Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
“There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corp, in 1977
“No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer. 640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, in 1981
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist
“Radio has no future.”
Lord Kelvin, ca. 1897
“Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.”
The Boston Post in 1865
"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. 1957
"But what…is it good for?"
Engineer at the Advanced Computing System Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"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 1920's
"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"
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962
"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
"Professor Goddard dose 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.
"Drill for oil?' You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
--Driller 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, 1929
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
--Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
--Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
--Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1972
"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