Henry Ford quote on Faster Horses

This quote from Henry Ford about Faster Horses crops up time and time again. But it doesnt mean market research is pointless.

If I’d asked my customers what they wanted they’d have said “a faster horse.”

Ah, now we’re onto the juicy quotes everyone’s heard of. Here’s the one that “proves” all market research is junk. Steve Jobs used to recite this quote (supposedly). Which was taken as meaning Steve Jobs thought market research was pointless.

He didn’t.

Market research can’t tell you that people want a Walkman, an iPhone or a DVD player. That’s because average people can’t conceive of such things until someone else has invented them.

But they CAN tell you they want their music on the go, a nicer way to use their phone and a more durable way to play movies.

And they would gave told Henry Ford they wanted a way to get from A to B that didn’t involve feeding, shovelling shit and 24/7 care. As once informed by research, the clever folks can invent cars, Walkmans, iPhones and DVD players.