Predictions & Reality

If you ever made a mistake, as outlined in the last two chapters, based on false expectations, it may help to know, that you’re in good company.

1. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Ken Olson, founder, Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), 1977

• Reality: Total number of computers sold so far 4’187’000’000

2. “We don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished.”

Dick Rowe, executive in charge of evaluating new talent of Decca Records, about ‘The ‘Beatles’, 1962.

• Reality: The Beatles’ record sale so far: 2’303’500’000. And today, as no one buys records anymore? Just one figure: ‘The Beatles’ sold 2 million songs on iTunes – in the first week, the titles were available.

3. “Television won’t last. People will soon get tired of staring at a wood box every night.”

Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

• Reality: One of the greatest 20th century inventions and still indispensable for billions around world. Will the TV survive the internet-age? Most likely yes – but with new technology: Cable-TV could be replaced over time by streaming platforms. Sales of Apple TV for instance have tripled 2015 over the last year.

4. “640Kb ought to be enough for anybody.”

Bill Gates, 1981

• Reality: Each 3-minute-song you download to your hard drive requires a much higher memory-capacity. Well, just to be fair. At that time this memory seemed enough not just for the use of a PC. The thinking was, the costs of several thousand Dollars for that capacity would prevent PC-users to ask for even more.

5. “The three- to five-year earnings projections of more than a thousand analysts, should bode well for continued capital deepening and sustained growth.”

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, 2000

• Reality: Instead of going up as predicted, the market fell and fell. Greenspans expectations turned out to be so wrong he later admitted that his essential beliefs about the market were shaken to the core. For a man, over decades seen by almost everyone as infallible, a noble gesture – jos palaria, Mr. Greenspan.

To close, an inspiration how we all can make the best out of our failures in life:

“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks, learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes” (John Dewey)

Just returned from London, where I stumbled upon an interesting study about coffee and costs, I’d like to share with you in the next chapter:

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