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    « To be Blue or Not to be Blue | Main | Caution Paradigm Shift Ahead »

    April 20, 2006

    Even Really Smart People Underestimate Technology

    I read an interesting article in May 2006’s issue of Fast Company an article called “The Change Function” by Pip Colburn. The premise of the article is new technology doesn’t necessarily get customers to change. He says it is a function of a customer or consumer’s:

    1. Level of current crisis, and
    2. Perceived pain of adopting the technology.

    It appears he has a book by the same name.

    What really caught my eye is an exhibit titled “Dumb Things that Very Smart People Said”

    Here are the quotes.

    640,000 bytes of memory ought to be enough for anybody.”
    Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-Founder, said in 1981

    “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”
     Thomas Watson, IBM Chairman, said in 1943 

    “It would appear that we have reached the limits of what is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in five years”
    John Von Neumann
    , a pioneer of the digital computer and member of the Manhattan Project, said in 1949

     “There is no reason for individuals to have a computer in their home.”
    Ken Olsen, Co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, said in 1977

    “The Internet will catastrophically collapse in 1996”
    Robert Metcalfe, Co-founder 3Com and con-inventor of Ethernet, said in 1995

    So all of you that said plan rooms were a fad a couple years ago. Don’t feel bad…


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    Cathie Duff

    The fact that we build it really DOESN'T mean that they will come running, so I think that I will run down the article to read!

    But I wanted to share something along the lines of the quotes: My father was a huge innovator in the industry in terms of utilizing engineering photography and other film technologies to composite layers of construction documents during the design phase of projects. He had ideas of things that no one had thought of, and we lived in the market where our customers were still referring to drafting film as "mylar paper" well into the 1980s . . .

    In 1989 we were installing a small format digital printer in our shop that was being controlled by a PC interface to set up, archive and retrieve jobs. He took me aside and said "If you buy one more piece of production equipment with a keyboard on it you will be looking for another job! Who the hell do you think will be able to operate it!"

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