The fundamental problem with pronouncements is that they can be remembered later.
This may not be so bad if whatever was pronounced or predicted actually comes true somewhere down the road.
But there are other cases where a statement that seemed totally logical at the time later proves to be beyond off-base.
There are many classic examples of this from throughout the years.
For example, there was the famous Western Union internal memo in 1876 that stated: “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
Or the 1943 quote from then IBM Chairman Thomas Watson: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
And then there’s the classic, from Digital Equipment Founder Ken Olson in 1977: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Of course, these types of pronouncements are based on the current state of a market, including a view of how far ahead can be practically projected at the time.
Statements such as these often pertain to new and potentially transformative technologies that are not yet fully baked.
An example is the early days of Facebook.
In October 2007, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the following about it: “A faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people,” and Barry Diller, then CEO, IAC Interactive and Ticketmaster chairman, who in May 2008 said: “Facebook is nothing more than the Princess Phone 20 years ago.”
These were extremely successful business leaders, which may show at least that not every business luminary is right all the time.
Which brings me to The Internet of Things.
As a new and totally transformational revolution in the making, there will be statements made today that either will or won’t become one of the keepers for history books.
It’s no secret that automakers and tech companies like Google are working on developing driverless or autonomous cars.
But on discussing its future plans, at least one high-end carmaker plans to leave the driving up to the driver.
In a recent interview, Porsche chief executive Oliver Blume said: "One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself. An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road."
Blume said his company does not need to team up with any technology companies.
Only time will tell if every Porsche will require a driver behind the wheel all the time, or if the company follows the current market focus on driverless cars.
There’s no right or wrong in these statements, just historical context later. Generally, much later.
My favorite of all time was from Bill Gates in 1981: “640k ought to be enough for anybody.”