Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BT Chief Says People Don't Need Fibre To The Home... Please Fire Him

BT (formerly British Telecom) Chief executive Ian Livingstone recently stated that people don't need fiber to the home. I love this quote by Livingstone:

"Of course a Ferrari is faster than a Ford," Livingstone said. "But most people are happy with a Ford."

Genius. What a brilliant, forward-thinking person. Can we say, "Fire now? Save BT!"

While typically a "build it and they will come" strategy doesn't work, when it comes to technology a lot of cool things come about when you just build it. Consider the iPod. Steve Jobs didn't want to listen to the market. He didn't care. He had a vision, executed and told consumers what they would like and it happened. They built it and a fanatical culture was born.

A more relevant example is South Korea. They built out the high-speed Internet infrastructure without specific businesses in mind. From this cesspool of broadband came innovation from online gaming to virtual worlds that leads the world.

So Mr. Livingston, why don't the people of the UK need Fiber to the home?

Anyway, his quote reminded me of some other great quotes in history...

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, Founder and President of Digital Equipment, 1977

"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

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - H.M. Warner, 1927

"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 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.'" - Steve Jobs on his and Steve Wozniak's attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in their personal computer

"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." - New York Times editorial on Prof. Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981

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