The trouble with predictions

Posted: February 2, 2010

After the last couple of years of general gloom there are a decent number of good-news stories surfacing. The February issue’s news pages are full of pieces about new products being launched and deals being signed, and AVN’s Adult Entertainment Expo, which took place in Las Vegas last month, benefited from a 10% increase in attendance according to the organisers.

One of the stars of the show pops up in Paul Smith’s feature in the February issue, in which he asks a number of industry folk which direction they think the industry will take during the new decade.

Of course, anyone who makes a prediction of any kind leaves themselves wide open to ridicule when progress proves them wrong. For instance, Professor Johann Poggendorff was a high ranking German physicist who developed the mirror galvanometer, a device for detecting electric currents, and he edited the same scientific journal for a staggering 52 years. But the only famous quote attributed to him that posterity has recorded is this, from 1860: “It’s impossible to transmit speech electronically. The ‘telephone’ is as mythical as the unicorn.”

It should perhaps be added that Gardiner Green Hubbard, Alexander Graham Bell’s future father-in-law, was also a bit of a sceptic. When his future son-in-law proudly showed him the aforementioned ‘telephone’ in 1876, Hubbard reportedly said: “It’s only a toy,” though he did go on to become the president of the Bell Telephone Company.

And who can forget Charles H Duell, Commissioner of the US Office of Patents, who in 1899 was alleged to have stated that: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Whether it’s apocryphal or not, that’s his only legacy on Wikipedia.

We trust the same fate will not await those who shared their views on the future with us in this issue. Even if it does, it’s an interesting and thought provoking read.

Perhaps the best, and certainly the most down to earth, quote about the future comes from Professor John M Richardson, an American academic. He said: “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people; those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

And it’s the immediate future that should concern adult retailers now, with Valentine’s Day nearly upon us. If you need some last minute ideas or inspiration please take a look at our feature in the February issue. The occasion has been described as a ‘second Christmas’ for adult retailers and we hope you all take full advantage of it.

Finally, on behalf of everyone at ETO, I’d like to wish Sean Spence, formerly Head of Erotic Business at Millivres Prowler Group, every success as he begins a new chapter in his life, away from the adult industry. All the best for the future Sean, you will be missed.