December 1, 2004
Excerpts: 10 Lessons from History's Innovators - Part VII
Lesson #6 - NEW IDEAS DISTURB. There are a hundred Cassandras for every change. Raymond Damadian was a screaming lunatic for thinking nuclear magnetic resonance might be used for medicine. Theodore Judah was crazy Judah for advocating a railway line over the High Sierra; Edwin Drake crazy for believing he could drill for oil. Giannini was a hothead (and worse) for thinking banking should be for the masses. The flat-earth dogmatists can never remember their predictions when success is achievedbut they serve a purpose. Something like 90 percent of new ventures do fail, so the odds are with the naysayers; they are only going to be disproved once in ten times. Ted Turner put it this way to me: If youve got an innovative idea, and the majority does not poohpooh it, then the odds are you must not have a very good idea. When people thought I was loony, it did not bother me at all. In fact, I considered that I must really be onto something. From the book THEY MADE AMERICA by Harold Evans, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer. (c) 2004 Little, Brown & Co.