The famous Henry Ford quote: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’”.
“I realize that most inventions fail not because the R&D department can’t get them to work, but because the timing is wrong — not all of the enabling factors are at play where they are needed. Inventing is a lot like surfing: you have to anticipate and catch the wave at just the right moment.”
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘Faster horses.’” ~ Henry Ford
I think of this quote when I see both good and bad design. Some people build/design faster horses, others invent cars.
This BusinessInsider.com story on Larry Page has this tidbit on Nikola Tesla. BI also has this very detailed (48-page PDF) bio of Larry Page.
Time magazine has a list of the best inventions of 2014. Some of them are kind of a joke to me, but a personal nuclear reactor and wireless electricity would be welcome.