Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

November 11, 2013

Sometimes The Experts Are Idiots. So Just Go Be Awesome.

In 1828, Dr. Dionysys Larder, a science writer and academic made the case that “rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers would be unable to breathe.” Today, the Shanghai Maglev Train reaches 268 mph during its daily service.

In 1895, Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society of Science, expertly argued that “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” The Wright brothers built one anyways. Boeing has built more than 4,285 of them  since then.

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

In 1899, Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US Office of Patents astutely noted “everything that can be invented has been invented.”  Since then, 7,673,820 inventors have received patents from the USPTO.

In 1903, Horace Rackham, the president of the Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s own lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company by making the case that “the horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty — a fad.” As of 2010, there were 1.1 billion cars being driven across the globe.

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

In 1923, Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics offered his opinion that “there is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” The United State’s secret “Manhattan Project” team built an atom bomb that leveled 7 square miles and 2 cities in Japan.

In 1929, three days before the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression, Economist Irving Fisher made the prediction that “stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Days later, and for the next decade, investors across the globe would lose trillions of dollars.

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM observed that “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” As of June 2010, there were approximately 1,966,514,816 computers connected to the internet — accounting for roughly 28% of the global population.

In 1962, Brian Epstein, a senior executive at Decca Recording dismissed the Beatles with a note that “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” They went on to sell 180 million records win 7 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score,  and 15 Ivor Novello Awards. Rolling Stone would later call them “the best artists of all-time.”

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

In 1968, Times Magazine made the observation that “online shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop.” In 2013, worldwide online shopping reached nearly $1 trillion.  Goldman Sachs predicts year over year growth of almost 20%.

In 1969, Margaret Thatcher told a listening audience that: “It will be years — not in my lifetime — before a woman becomes Prime Minister.” Ten years later she would prove her own prediction wrong — winning the 1979 UK general election.

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

In 1977, Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp scorned the idea of personal computing with “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” By 2014, industry analysts predict that 2 billion families will have a personal computer in their home.

In 1981, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft prophesied the maximum speed of computers with his opinion that “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” Today, the average personal computer is 300,000,000 times faster than that.

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

In 1998, Edmund DeJesus, the editor of Byte magazine, boldly proclaimed that “Y2K is a crisis without precedent in human history.” The morning of January 1, 2000 nothing happened.

In 2007, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft proclaimed that: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Since 2007, Apple has sold almost 430 million iPhone.  Microsoft has only sold about 2% of that number.

Sometimes the experts are idiots.

So you should probably do what you want to do anyways.

You should keep dreaming big dreams.  You should refuse to believe that things won’t change.

What you feel doesn’t need facts yet. It just needs you to believe. To believe so passionately that you move past logic, criticism, and everything that you think is possible in the pursuit of making it reality.

No one can stop you if you won’t be stopped.

Chose to be awesome.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.