"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"

2017-02-02 - Watt Factory , Smart Cities

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" — Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros Pictures, 1925

Innovation is a strange thing. It takes a lot of bright ideas, hardly any of them work and for those that do, you need to spend even more time convincing people of its value. The quote by Harry Warner of the famous Warner Brother Studios came at a time when the studio had made early fame in silent movies accompanied by live orchestras. In the Twenties, technology appeared that allowed film to be coupled with high-quality synchronised sound. But the notion of hearing people talk did not seem to add any value for Mr. Warner. It took several years longer and the push by his brothers for the studio to start producing the first talkie ‘The Jazz Singer’. It became an instant success and established the three brothers as the most important figures in the film industry. Talkies catapulted their studio in the ranks of the major studios.

In hindsight it always seems easy. But it takes time to turn innovation into an accepted product and it takes hard work to build a company to make this happen. Today I am writing this from Ecuador visiting different universities to share our experience in spin off creation. Here the government does not support private companies in innovation and companies distrust universities. How different this is from Watt Factory where the city and university try to help young starters scale their business by sharing knowledge, network and resources. Without being a guarantee of success, for those willing to make use of the opportunity it can ease the path. So when Watt Factory comes into town, it is worthwhile to at least ‘hear the actors talk’!

Feb 5 2017, Sidharta Gautama, i-KNOW UGent

Sidharta Guatama, i-KNOW UGent

So when Watt Factory comes into town, it is worthwhile to at least ‘hear the actors talk’!

Sidharta Guatama, i-KNOW UGent