Not included on this list is the college professor of Bill Gates’ who purportedly told him to stop wasting his time on computers; the expert who told Ben and Jerry few would want to buy their fancy ice cream; the experienced restaurateur who told McDonald’s franchiser Ray Kroc there would be little national business for a drive-in that only sold hamburgers, French fries and soft drinks; the various publishing houses that turned down Mario Puzo’s bestseller “The Godfather,” one ‘expert’ claiming that no one wanted to read gangster novels anymore; and ‘Bush’s Brain’ Karl Rove erroneously forecasting Republican gains in 2006 and 2008.
And, of course, we have the various business gurus and sage economists, from Suze Orman to Alan Greenspan, who never foresaw the collapse of the US housing market and our lengthy ‘Depression Lite.’ So much for expert predictions; you’re better off tossing a coin.
Seen at Jumbo Joke
“The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.”
— Admiral William Leahy, U.S. 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 magazine, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
— Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“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
“Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.”
— Dr. Lee DeForest, “Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television”