I’m sure you’ve heard of the allegorical story that, when asked why he built his cars the way he did, Henry Ford is alleged to say, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that supports the claim that he is to have said it — though it certainly sounds like something that Ford would say. After all, he was the one who said that his customers could have their Model T in any color they wanted…so long as it was black.
The popularity of this quote, however, persists beyond all proof that it was never actually spoken by someone so famous. Is it because there’s some kernel of universal truth to be found in it, or is it because it gives us license to do what we want, when we want it, and to rationalize it by saying that customers don’t know what they want? The truth, actually, lies somewhere in between.