“Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box.” – Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” – Ken Olson, President and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in a talk given to a 1977 Word Future Society meeting in Boston.
“The idea that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pioneered a new business paradigm is silly. He’s just another middleman, and the stock market is beginning to catch on to that fact. The real winners on the “net” will be firms that sell their own products directly to consumers. “ – Barron’s May 31, 1999
“The iPad is nothing more than an oversized iPhone and the App Store will be no more than a few low-rent extras like tip-calculators and international clothing size converters.” – The Independent, May 26, 2010
“Bitcoin is probably rat poison squared.” – Warren Buffet in 2018
History has shown us that when something truly revolutionary occurs, something that is disruptive to existing entities or creates a new category altogether, we tend to dismiss it.
What the hell is cryptocurrency? I am not one to explain it. Quite frankly, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it, but I don’t think we should ignore it.
Adults learn when they can relate it to something they already know. Crypto is not the “money” that we know and understand, and yet according to what you read it has value to purchase goods.
Credit unions are not known for being innovators. At our very best we are “fast followers.”
At the dawn of the internet when the first web page had been posted (August 6, 1991), I had already been working in credit unions for 11 years. I remember the idea that credit unions needed websites was dismissed very early on. In fact, a large credit union in Portland conducted a member survey to prove they were right to ignore it. They asked their members, “Do you own a computer?” They replied with a resounding “No.” They asked the wrong question. They should have asked, “Do you have access to a computer?” By 1991, most people did, at work.
In 1993, Frank Feather published the book The Future Consumer I had the pleasure of seeing him speak at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference in Dallas. He took the stage and very slowly said these words: “The internet is the biggest thing to happen in human history…[long pause]…..if you don’t get it, you’re toast!” Then he repeated it. I’ll never forget that. I worked for Tom Sargent at the time and I remember he bought the cassette tape of that speech so that everyone in senior management could hear it. It was exciting to work for a real pioneer like Tom.
I don’t know if cryptocurrency will be the biggest thing to happen in the history of the movement of money, but since credit unions are in that business, I think we should pay attention.
Four years after the Oracle of Omaha called crypto rat poison, he invested $1 billion in a crypto-friendly bank. Warren Buffet’s original lack of enthusiasm was to be expected, as it goes against his main investment strategies. He only invests in things he understands.