Does Your Business Suffer From Chronic Blindness?
It’s easy to make fun of Bill Gates for saying “No one will need more than 637 KB of memory for a personal computer.” To give you some sense of the scale of Bill’s blindness, the computer that I’m typing this on has 8388608 KB of memory.
That’s quite a mistake coming from the technological lantern like Bill Gates. However, there are only two differences between him and the rest of us.
- Bill’s blindness was public. We have the benefit of making our stupid statements in private most of the time.
- And Bill was able to correct for it. Most of us go down never able to adjust and change our minds. In other words, we insist on being blind.
Perhaps one of the “secrets” of Bill’s success is his ability to root out his own blindness and correct for it. Most of us are not so lucky. In fact…
History is littered with examples of smart, successful people making stupid statements and being chronically blind. Thus ruining their business in the process.
Dig These Examples
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
This piece of chronic blindness is brought to you by none other than an IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, upon evaluating the business potential of new technology in 1943.
The concept is interesting and well formed, but in order to earn better than a C the idea must be feasible.
We think that our intellectual elite has what it takes to be smart. Alas, no one is safe from chronic blondness.
The above quote is from a Yale professor explaining the poor grade he gave to one of his students on his research paper regarding overnight delivery system.
The student’s name was Fred Smith who decided to follow through on his not-feasible idea and went on to start a little company called Federal Express after graduating from college.
I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out a year.
Yikes. Is there even a name for chronic blindness like this one?
What short-sighted moron could have uttered such a statement?
An editor in charge of business books at Prentice Hall publishers.
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, in 1977.
Airplanes are interesting toys, but of new military value.
Marshall Ferdinand Foch, professor of military strategy in one of the most prestigious Military Academies in France uttered this piece of chronic blindness sometime before World War I.
The automobile will never, of course, come into as common use as bicycle.
Thank you, 1899 edition of the Literary Digest, for that piece of chronic blindness.
Everything that can be invented has been invented.
I guess we should all just pack up and go home, ey?
This quote comes from the Commissioner of the US Office of Patents, Charles Duell, in 1899.
We don’t like their sound, and the guitar music is on its way out.
Some chronically blind music executive at Decca Recording Company back in 1962. The band Decca rejected?
You may have heard of them, they call themselves the Beatles.
All this of course is only the tip of the iceberg. Our past -both our own and the past of others- is littered with examples of chronic blindness.
Can We Learn From This?
It seams that all these examples have at least one thing in common.
These chronically blind statements were made by people who were experts in their own field. People who should have had a better foresight. Alas, NO ONE is safe from chronic blindness.
- What are YOU expert in?
- Can you see YOUR chronic blindness?
- Do you have what it takes to correct for it?
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This post was loosely based on a very funny and thought-provoking book The Stupid History of The Human Race (Amazon Affiliate Link) by Bob Fenster