— Dr. Lee DeForest, “Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television.”
“The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.”
— Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project
“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.”
— Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
— Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
“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
— Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
— Bill Gates, 1981
“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.
— 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.)
–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.
— 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” Notepads.
“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 , 1929.
— Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre , France .
— Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.
— Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University
“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”
— 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 surgeon”
— Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon to Queen Victoria 1873.
— Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977