Famous people and industry experts haven’t always got it right when it comes to future predictions
“It’s a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?”
Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell’s telephone, 1876.
“Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop – because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.”
TIME, 1966, in one sentence writing off e-commerce long before anyone had ever heard of it.
“I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”
Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet, writing in a 1995 InfoWorld column.
Metcalfe is well aware how silly his prediction came to look. He ate his words—literally. In 1999, addressing the Sixth International WWW Conference, Metcalfe put a copy of his infamous column into a blender, pureed it, and drank it.