Ten business predictions that were proven to be well and truly wrong

6. “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau”

Irving Fisher, economics professor at Yale University said this in 1929. In the wake of the Autumn Statement and as economists struggle to make predictions, this is one that Professor Fisher would rather have forgotten. He lost much of his personal wealth as well as his standing as an economist in the crash but he did accurately predict the dangers of deflation that occurred during the Great Depression that followed it.

7. “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible”

A Yale University professor to Fred Smith on his proposal for a reliable overnight delivery service. Smith went on to found FedEx, building a $34.7bn empire in the process.

8. “Next Christmas the iPod will be kaput”

Alan Sugar said this in February 2005. In fact, just three years later, Apple’s little box of music technology had already sold nearly 175m units worldwide. It went on to change the way in which people buy and listen to music, of course. As far as this prediction goes it’s a case of “Lord Sugar, you’re fired!”

9. “Children just aren’t interested in witches and wizards anymore”

A publishing executive said this in writing to Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling in 1996. With over 400m books sold worldwide, translations into 67 languages and a brand valued at over $15bn, it rather looks like they are.

10. “The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many sceptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive”

Economist Paul Samuelson said this in 1961. In fact, Professor Samuelson went on to become American to win the Nobel Prize for Economics – but probably not for this misfiring prediction.

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