Saturday, December 17, 2005

Inventor of Walkman: Post-Modern Thomas Edison?

Andreas Pavel invented the Walkman, but for decades, Sony tried to deny him royalties. His story is in this morning's New York Times.
"I filed my first patent a complete innocent, thinking it would be a simple matter, 12 months or so, to establish my ownership and begin production," he said at the house where he first conceived of the device. "I never imagined that it would end up consuming so much time and taking me away from my real interests in life."
Pavel reports that when he initially shopped his invention to numerous audio equipment manufacturers, they dismissed the idea as loopy. Who, they wondered, was going to strap stereo equipment around their heads as they went through their daily activities?

It reminds me of the IBM exec who was certain no one would want a computer in their home, that it was solely a business tool.

What are your favorite examples of ubiquitous products that at first, people supposedly in the know dismissed as having limited appeal?

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