History tells us again and again how prominent politicians, empires, and even large corporations have fallen from grace or lost millions of dollars due to the simple fact of not having a vision.
A famous story says that when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in the late nineteenth century, he looked for a way to spread his new device to the masses and strengthen his patent in order to prevent other companies from copying his idea. Since this all this required huge amounts of money, he tried to find investment partners.
In , Graham Bell offered the patent for the telephone to Western Union Telegraph Company, which handled the largest telecommunications monopoly of the time: the telegraph.
According to a Forbes magazine article, the president of Western Union Telegraph Company, William Orton, said,
What use could this company make of an electrical toy?
Given this humiliating rejection, Alexander Graham Bell created the Bell Telephone Company in Boston, later called American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), which became the largest supplier of telecommunications worldwide. Western Union, meanwhile, focused on money orders and transfers.
Jumping to another event in history, in , the lead talent scout at the music company Decca Records, Dick Rowe, rejected a quartet of young musicians, arguing that
guitar groups are on their way out. He instead chose to sign another group called The Tremeloes. The group that was rejected, named The Beatles, is now considered the most popular and successful band in history, with over 2 billion albums sold worldwide.
The year was , the M&M’S candy company was relatively famous and was looking to expand its brand. They received a call from a film producer at Universal Studios. The movie executive told them that a young director wanted to use this candy in a new movie and asked permission to do so. After a short internal debate, M&M’S declined the offer, saying it was too risky to link the brand with a science-fiction movie.
With no other option, Universal Studios knocked on the doors of the Hershey’s company, who authorized the use of their relatively unknown chocolates with peanut butter: Reese’s Pieces. The young film director was named Steven Spielberg and his new film was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
After the film’s resounding success, Hershey’s tripled its sales in just two weeks, earning a profit of 20 million more than was expected that year.
These stories illustrate the importance of having a vision for the future and investing in it. Have large companies learned their lesson?
The Latino community in the United States is an extraordinary demographic and economic force. According to a Nielsen’s study, the purchasing power of Latinos will reach 1.9 trillion dollars by . This figure makes the Latin American community one of the first economic powers in the world. This gives us an idea of the enormous potential of this niche market, not only in the U.S. but also worldwide.
The Latino community is the demographic and economic future of the country. Companies and governments who really want progress can no longer afford to ignore this group, that is, if they truly have a vision of the future.