12Marketing, Innovation, and Risk

The very nature of creativity is that it always comes as a surprise to us. In a free economy, a high degree of apparent randomness does not mean actual randomness. An apparently random pattern is evidence not of purposelessness but of an entrepreneurial economy full of creative surprises.

—George Gilder, Knowledge and Power, 2013

Harrison “Buzz” Price was a consultant with Stanford Research Institute between 1951 and 1955. In 1953, he received an interesting assignment: Do a location and feasibility study for Disneyland, a new theme—not amusement—park idea from the legendary Walt Disney. He recounted how the highlight of that study was the amusement park annual convention and trade show in November 1953 at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. Buzz and a group of Disney executives did a two‐hour presentation of the idea of Disneyland to four of the nation's leading amusement park owners, while liberally pouring Chivas Regal and feeding them caviar. These were the leaders in the industry: William Schmitt, owner of River View Park in Chicago, Harry Batt of Pontchartrain Park in New Orleans, Ed Schott of Coney Island (in Cincinnati), and George Whitney, of Playland at the Beach in San Francisco. “The reaction was unanimous. It would not work” (Price 2004, p. 29, emphasis in original).

Keep in mind the adage that knowledge is about the past and entrepreneurship is about the future. The “experts” explained a litany of reasons why Walt's fantasy would ...

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