By Bill Hellkamp
Have you ever said something stupid? I know I have, sometimes in front of a large audience. We know it was ridiculous but once said, it is very hard to take it back. It has been said and it has been heard by one or many. We are, of course, in a political season and presidential hopefuls are talking plenty, but often saying very little of substance. When they talk so much (as all politicians do), there are plenty of opportunities to blunder. But I will avoid taking the easy route and give you some examples of some jaw-dropping comments from past “authorities”.
The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who looks for a source of power in the transformation of the atom is talking moonshine.
Sir Ernest Rutherford, 1933
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson, COB IBM, 1943
Everything that can be invented has been invented.
Charles H. Duell, commissioner, U.S. Office of Patent, 1899
Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction
Pierre Pachet, professor of physiology, Univ. of Toulouse, 1872
Just as certain as death, (George) Westinghouse will kill a customer within six months after he puts in a system of any size.
Thomas A. Edison
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1972
We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?
Lee Iacocca, former chairman, Ford Motor Co.
Television won’t be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
Daryl Zanuck, co-founder of 20th Century Fox
Two years from now, spam will be solved.
Bill Gates, 2004
The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.
Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.
So for those of us who spend much of our day speaking to people, we should be careful about the things we say. These “experts” show us that at times we can be too smart for our own good!