Via Maggie’s Farm and Dinocrat, here’s a Bob Newhart skit from 1970. Bob plays the role of an 1890s-style venture capitalist, talking on the phone with inventor Herman Hollerith, who is trying to explain the merits of punched card technology.
Related: Father, Son & Co., the biography of long-time IBM CEO Thomas Watson Jr, is the best business autobiography I’ve read. I reviewed it here.
5 thoughts on “Selling New Concepts can be Challenging”
Selling new concepts before the climate is willing to accept it can be impossible. Those that have a radical new concept – think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates – those that have a radical new concept and convince the market that they need this – and how they can use it -can become billionaires.
There was an interesting article in my club magazine on Bertha Benz – husband of Carl – who is generally credited with inventing the automobile.
One early morning Bertha took her 2 sons – pushed his car out of the shop – started it up and drove 60 miles to visit a relative. She literally “snuck out” of the house – knowing her husband, convinced his invention wasn’t ready – would forbid her to go.
It is my contention that Bertha really showed the world the exciting and earth shaking potential of the automobile.
Before Bertha’s drive Benz was considered a nutty inventor creating a thing for which no one had a real use.
After Bertha’s drive word slowly filtered out – eventually across oceans – and Carl Benz became world famous.
Yes, inventions need to be promoted as well as created. More about Berthe Benz and her road trip here:
Thanks – Newhart’s great. And humbling.
It was the image of Bertha Roentgen’s hand that made x-ray the sensation is was immediately after the invention. He actually gave the presentation before the paper was completed because of the sensation.
A somewhat related post by venture capitalist Paul Graham: BLACK SWAN FARMING
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