JP Rangaswami (confused of calcutta) writes “Interesting, but of no commercial value”: The problem with emerging social media tools: A Saturday Evening Post (via Cloudy Thinking).

Rangaswami relates how often the bleeding edge technical trends are hard to recognize as significant until they are adopted by the masses. From email to web applications to social networks — all were considered odd fringe elements at first. I enjoyed reading his whole post.

He also highlights some gems collected by JD Paul. I followed the link and enjoyed reading all of them, but here are my faves:

“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.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
–Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

“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.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” –H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” — Bill Gates, 1981

2 thoughts on “new technical trends which have no future

  1. The Bill Gates quote is infamously nothing whatsoever to do with Bill Gates. (For one thing, Microsoft had the 640K limit imposed on them by IBM – it was a PC hardware limit, not an MS DOS thing.)

    Got provenance for the other quotes? They’re oft repeated, but never with any verifiable references.

What do you think?