Innovators, Idealists, and Influencers

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision


Photo from
I have an insatiable appetite for information. Couple that with a hunger and fascination with history and you get a person who is constantly reading, discovering, and asking questions. Sometimes my curiosity frustrates people (sorry); and it is often times misunderstood for my knack of “cornering people” to get to the bottom of things. But to my plea of innocence, it is simply my desire “to know” things.

Whether it is a weakness or strength, I am realizing that curiosity often fuels new discoveries and it even helps people to dream and envision things of the future. One of the things that inspire me is when I read about what people in the past have said to visionaries and innovators to some of their ideas.

Here are some of them:

1) “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]

2) “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]

3) “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” [Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962]

4) “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 and 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 H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer]

5) “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” [Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist in his project to drill for oil in 1859]

6) “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” [Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943]

7) “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” [Lee DeForest, inventor]

8) “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.]

9) “But what is it good for?” [Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip]

10) “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]

When we think about our lives without some of the things that we have now, we are thankful that that they were wrong. Can you imagine all the lost opportunities?

The challenge for us today is to look ahead and to make decisions today that will affect our future destiny. This is not an easy process because there are so many factors that hinder people from moving forward. For some people it is the fear of failure. For others, it is a self-imposed skepticism which limits us. For others, it might be their lack of faith. For some, it might be their desire for comfort, security and safety. But whatever the reason, we have to see things through the eyes of Christ.

He believed that through a rag-tag team of disciples that the world will be transformed. Who would have ever thought or imagined?

But as we look into the future and see what God has in store for us, let’s stay ahead of the curve. The possibilities are endless because we have a God, who is the God of the possibilities (Mt 17:20; 19:26). May we stay close to Jesus, as we navigate towards the 2020 Vision.