Ideas

4 great ideas that were ridiculed at first. The last one will surprise you.

At Cucumber we truly believe that all ideas should be encouraged. You never know when someone will buy one for millions, eh? Well, jokes apart. Everything, big or small, beautiful or not, begins with an idea and every big idea is a challenge. It’s a protest. It is something unusual. Something that people will probably tilt their heads to, like a dog does to some of our gibberish. But the fact that your idea can upset normalcy, that’s what makes it big. Don’t let the ridicule bother you, never stop yourself from asking a question, because hey, if some people would have stopped one day, guess what we would have had to do without? Here are four things you’d be missing terribly:

1. ‘Cell phones could never replace wire phones’, said the man who invented the first cell phone of the world.

Marty CooperMarty Cooper is famously called the father of the cell phone and maybe you are reading this article today in your tiny smartphone, tightly clasped in your palm, because Marty Cooper persisted to his idea. In 1973, when he worked for Motorola, Marty invented the first handheld mobile phone and also made the first cellular phone call in the world. After almost ten years, in 1981 he was able to announce that he will be bringing cellphones to the market and they could be used on the go. However, he himself is stated to have underestimated his own potential (rejecting his own idea) when he said, ‘Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems. Even if you project it beyond our lifetimes, it won’t be cheap enough.’ Wow. Maybe that’s why Motorola lost out to Apple eventually. Remember this idea as the idea which was rejected by the creator himself and please don’t try this at home… (pause for laughter).

2. The earth is round and you won’t fall off its edge.

If the world was flatIt’s not easy to pinpoint one person (actually, reward one person) for discovering this for us. Eratosthenes, Christopher Columbus, Pythagoras or Aristotle and these discoverers all lived in times that were at least a 100 years apart from each other. Pythagoras first declared in 6th Century BC that the Earth was indeed round, but nobody believed him and apparently they were more focussed on the pythagorean theorem he created. Until finally, in 330 BC, Aristotle fought the argument with other greek philosophers so hard that the word “flat-earther” went down in history as a word that describes people who are stubborn and rigidly stick to their ideas. Finally, in 1492, Columbus was able to sail around the globe without falling off its edge. That’s when the world knew for sure that the Earth was indeed round. Phew. Tough battle. You’d think it would be as simple as making a safe assumption by looking at the two most prominent solar bodies, the Sun and the Moon.

3. Online Shopping will work. In 1966, Time magazine didn’t believe so.

Shipping online ordersImagine the impact of Time magazine today, in the world of bloggers, influencers, review websites and viral marketers. Now imagine the impact of Time magazine’s verdict in 1966. It could totally convince anyone with its opinion. In an article titled ‘The Futurists: Looking Toward A.D. 2000,’ TIME magazine in New York reported, ‘Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop — because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.’ But still people persisted. And in the 1980s, an english entrepreneur, Michael Aldrich invented online shopping. In the 1990s Amazon and Ebay hopped on. That’s why today we can sit at home, watch a Netflix movie, gulp down a lazy sandwich and order shoes online. Not suggesting that is how we like spending our weekends. Or maybe we do. Well anyway, online shopping is great!

4. Washing your hands. (You heard that right, it was an idea at first and it fought its battle)

Boy washing his handsIt’s quite common today for us to see ads on youtube of floor disinfectants and hand wash soaps that remove those annoying grumpy looking animated bacteria and help us lead a healthy life. In 1847 it wasn’t so. A doctor in Vienna observed that women were dying on the maternity bed at an alarming rate and nobody was able to figure out the cause. Until he found out that the doctors were handling dead bodies and using the same hands in the maternity ward and those germs were indeed the reason. So he suggested a simple solution — wash your hands! His idea was ridiculed to the extent of him losing his job, turning up at an asylum and eventually dying a lonely death. That’s the story of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis who is now credited with giving the world the idea of washing hands.

This teaches us a lesson that ideas should never be ridiculed. They should be improved upon, they should be debated, they can even be rejected, but they should not be ridiculed. If we lose our ability to wonder why or why not, the world will not be such a magical place anymore. By the way, did you know that the slogan — ‘Volkswagen, Think Small’, was ridiculed to the extent of almost getting rejected? We all know today it’s one of the most iconic campaigns in the world. Take note, copywriters.