Saturday, October 22, 2005

There's no market for copiers. Carbon will do just fine

Today exactly 67 years ago, Chester Carlson made the first xerox. In today's world it may sound unbelievable, but the good and great such as IBM and GE thought there wouldn't be a market for copying.

Carlson's biggest mistake was not to hire an ad agency, of course. Had he done that, he wouldn't've called his invention 'electrophotography.'

It took Carlson 10 years and a professor from Ohio State University to find a client for the technology, and a name. The Haloid Company of Rochester bought the invention, and the professor of classical languages came up with 'xerography', Greek for 'dry writing'. Another 10 years later Haloid renamed itself Xerox.

Message to inventors: try not be ahead of your time, and find a catchy name.

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