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  • Selling New Concepts can be Challenging

    Posted by David Foster on September 8th, 2012 (All posts by )

    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 Responses to “Selling New Concepts can be Challenging”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      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.

    2. David Foster Says:

      Yes, inventions need to be promoted as well as created. More about Berthe Benz and her road trip here:

    3. Ginny Says:

      Thanks – Newhart’s great. And humbling.

    4. Mike_K Says:

      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.

    5. David Foster Says:

      A somewhat related post by venture capitalist Paul Graham: BLACK SWAN FARMING