The Hook's Favorite Quotations 

Quotations on Inventing and Technology Transfer

On Appropriate Technology: 


". . . technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience, conducive to decentralization, compatible with laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scarce resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines."
*E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful 


"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
*R. Buckminster Fuller, Praise for Sustainable Sources


On Patents


"This is the patent age of new inventions/ For killing bodies, and for saving souls/ All propagated with the best intentions."
*Lord Byron, 1824 


"...the primary responsibility for sifting out unpatentable material lies in the Patent Office. To await litigation is -for all practical purpose- to debilitate the patent system. We have observed a notorious difference between the standards applied by the Patent Office and by the courts."
*U.S. Supreme Court, Graham v. John Deere, 1966


On Change:


"You will in your business ultimately go out of business.  You can do it yourself in organic ways by shaping your business with new products.  Or somebody else will do it for you. It is only a matter of time."
*Harvey Golub, CEO of American Express 


"Learning is not compulsory ... neither is survival."
 *W. Edwards Deming 


"640K [storage] ought to be enough for anybody."
 *Bill Gates, 1981 


"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
 *Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977


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


"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.  Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
*David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio, 1920s


"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 


The Absurd: 


 "R&D management training, why do I need to go on R&D management training?  I have a Ph.D. in physics".
*Senior R&D manager, Canadian government agency 


The Profound:


"Inventing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."
*Thomas Edison


"Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors, concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods--in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to Mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations."
*Albert Einstein, address to Caltech, 1931



Suggestions/ nominations welcomed! Please email us. We also have a whole page filled with invention articles , many of which are original works!


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