40 years ago one of those popular myths which arise from time to time achieved worldwide credence. The myth was the imminent advent of the ‘paperless office’.
The myth alarmed one company which made its money from selling copying machines. If paper wasn’t going to be around to be copied then, thought the companies’ execs, their company would be put on the scrap heap.
Being get-up-and-go kind of guys, the execs decided that their company would be a supplier of whatever machines were needed for the paperless office.
Because they didn’t know what machines would be needed by a paperless office, the execs hired 50 of the best researchers they could find and put them together in a building to figure that out.
Three years later, the researchers had pretty much figured out exactly what machinery the paperless office would need.
But the company let in a visitor who copied all their ideas and got to market with them first.
MORAL: A good thing is soon copied.