This is a humorous suppliment to an article I wrote contesting those who contend that there is nothing new to learn about marketing. Some contend that a solid foundation in "the basics" is all a person needs to create radical growth in their businesses.

While I wholeheartedly agree that an understanding of basic copy writing and a familiarity with human behavior is vital to a good business, I do NOT agree that "the basics" alone are sufficient. We are in a very fast changing world and sales and closing techniques that were cutting edge ten years ago are now old hat and embarrassing to those who still use them.

For even more great examples like this, check out The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky (Pantheon Books, 1984)

No New Advances in Travel

What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?

- The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.

- Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist

Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.
- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole
        Superieure de Guerre

That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.

- Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909

Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.
- Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1838) Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College, London

The foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments.

- A.W. Bickerton (1926) Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Canterbury College, New Zealand

No New Advances in Communication

Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.
- Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)

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)

Radio has no future

- Lord Kelvin, ca. 1897.

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.

While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.

- Lee DeForest, 1926 (American radio pioneer)

[W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.

- Erasmus Wilson (1878) Professor at Oxford University

No New Advances in Energy

There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.

- Albert Einstein, 1932.

No New Advances in Product Development

If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment.
The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this.

- Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives
        for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.

Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil?
You're crazy.

- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project
        to drill for oil in 1859

No New Advances in Technology

Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 19,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons.

- Popular Mechanics, March 1949.

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

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 lastout 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 need for any individual to have a computer in their home.
- Ken Olson, 1977, President, Digital Equipment Corp.

Stop thinking like these people and open you mind to what might be changing around you right now. Open your eyes to the fact that there are others in YOUR market who are RADICALLY growing their businesses while yours makes incremental progress at best. There IS a reason and the longer you wait to find out what is happening, the further behind you get.

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About the Author: Julian Franklin is one of America's leading marketing consultants, a top behavior modification specialist, and author who develops creative ways to stimulate growth in your business. He has authored more than 20 books on human behavior, marketing, professional development, and personal accomplishment. He is frequently invited to speak on these topics as well. For more information, including the opportunity to subscribe to his free monthly e-newsletter, you can visit

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