Reasons why naysayers shouldn’t be listened to 100% of the time.
Listen to their advice, extract the good, useful bits of advice disguised as negativity to help you on your path and proceed.
If I had listened to every naysayer in my life I’d be…
- still in debt
- still working for a company I hated the management of
- not in my dream career
- and certainly not a mobile nomad-like minimalist
NAYSAYERS VISIONARIES DIDN’T LISTEN TO
- “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.
- “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” — David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
- “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” — Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
- “So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.’” — Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.
- “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
- “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
- “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.” — A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
- “I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” — Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With the Wind.”
- “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” — H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
- “With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.” — Business Week, August 2, 1968.
- “There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people.
- “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.
- After Fred Astaire’s first screen test in 1933, the MGM testing director wrote a memo saying, “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire got the memo and kept it over his fireplace.
- At the start of her career, Barbra Streisand was rejected repeatedly by directors because they said she simply wasn’t pretty enough.
- “A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” — Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
- “… Overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.” — Publisher on Vladamir Nabokov’s “Lolita”.
- “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” — Editor of the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling.
There will be lots of people who will tell you any of the following:
Doesn’t make sense.
Don’t like it.
Who wants that?
Who is going to pay for that?
The thing to remember is that there is always a market for everything.
It’s just whether that market is big enough to be mainstream, is another story altogether.
So if you have it in your head to follow a passion that makes sense to you and others (not just your advisor, your cat)… then proceed with caution, but take a risk and go for it because….