Monday, February 07, 2011

Bad Predictions

It’s still early enough in the year that people are continuing to make predictions.  Because I have always believed that  business is an exercise in foresight — and as we are getting closer to tying the knot on our own four year strategic plan — I keep thinking how vulnerable predictions are, no matter how sensitive and studied you are about what’s coming next. 

To justify my own vulnerability, I looked at what I thought were a few of the least accurate predictions in the annals of American business history — made by some of the smartest people around.  Here are a few examples:

•  Legendary inventor Thomas Edison dismissed radio as a “craze that will die out in time.”

•  When asked what he thought of the telephone, President Rutherford B. Hayes asked: “Who would ever want to use one?”

•  The Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in World War I, Ferdinand Foch, saw “no military value” in airplanes.

•  IBM’s former chairman Tom Watson predicted a world market for “maybe five computers.”

Now I don’t feel as bad as I might have about my prediction 10 years ago that by 2011 New York would lead the way in flying cars!!!!

Technorati Tags: predictions,Thomas Edison, President Rutherford B. Hayes, Ferdinand Foch, Tom Watson

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