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edison & the future

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki, I just discovered this site called “Letters of Note.”  It’s a collection of “correspondence deserving of a wider audience.”

The following quote is from Thomas Edison who is writing a letter of congratulations to a former colleague.  What caught my eye was this passage: “The worst is to come, for it takes about seven years to convert the average man to the acceptance of a solved problem.”

Was Edison being sarcastic, pessimistic, optimistic, or realistic?