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15 famous predictions that were spectacularly wrong


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Steve Jobs shows off the iconic gadget that would never take off, apparently. But the iPod wasn’t the only invention or idea that was panned before changing the world. Source: AP

IT’S kind of scary when you think about it; no one can possibly know what the future holds. Not really.

We can make an educated prediction, yes, based upon facts. Like, for example, the way environmental experts say we will, one day, reach peak oil. Predictions like this usually hold some authority.

Sometimes, however, people — and usually some know-it-all trying to shoot down an idea — make predictions that couldn’t be further from the truth. And sometimes they are proven wrong.

Here are some excellently satisfying examples of just that: 15 people making spectacular fools of themselves with famous predictions gone superbly wrong. Take note: the next time someone shoots down your idea they could be totally wrong!

1. The iPod


Business mogul Lord Alan Sugar on the fate of Apple’s iPod back in 2005.

2. The Beatles


A Decca Records executive to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, following an audition in 1962. He continued: “We don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished.”

3. The automobile


The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903.

4. The train


Dr. Dionysys Larder, science writer and academic, in 1828.

5. Rock ‘n’ Roll


On rock ‘n’ roll, Variety magazine in 1955.

6. A female Prime Minister


Margaret Thatcher, future Prime Minister, October 26th, 1969.

7. Online shopping


Time magazine, 1966.

8. Harry Potter


Anonymous publishing executive writing to J.K Rowling, 1996.

9. X-rays


Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.

10. Machine guns


Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun, in response to the question “Will this gun not make war more terrible?” from Havelock Ellis, an English scientist, 1893.

11. The iPhone


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, 2007.

12. Rockets


The New York Times, 1936.

13. Nuclear energy


Albert Einstein, 1932.

14. Photocopiers


IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959.

15. The telephone


William Orton, president of Western Union, in 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell tried to sell the company his invention.


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