Never Say Never


I’ve learned to “never say never.” Even if I think there is no way on earth that someone can do something, sell something or achieve something, I leave myself open to the possibility. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around long enough to have heard enough people be embarrassed by saying something couldn’t be done, then have to eat their words. Maybe you remember these great quotes:

  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” ~Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  • “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons.” ~Popular Mechanics, 1949
  • “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.
  • “But what…is it good for?” ~ Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” ~ Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

(If those aren’t enough, you can read more of them here.)  The thing is whether you say “impossible” to yourself, your staff, your family or your peers, one day one of them is going to prove you wrong and accomplish the impossible. Trust me. They will. I think it’s a lot better to say, “I’m looking forward to that!” or “I’d love to be on the front row when you do that!” when you hear what sounds like an impossible dream or idea. Not only will you be remembered and loved for being encouraging when all others laugh, but you may be remembered as a visionary by history as well.

“Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said couldn’t be done.” ~Sam Ewing

image compliments of Swanksalot

2 thoughts on “Never Say Never”

  1. I remember many years ago arguing with a co-worker that paid TV was a ridiculous idea and I was outraged. We also argued about ebooks and I expressed my thoughts about how I would never give up paper books. Never say never.

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