Great quotes by Doug Engelbart and Others

Contents: Quotes By Doug | About Doug | Related Quotes

Quotes by Doug Engelbart

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“The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing.” — Doug Engelbart

Source: TBD

slide showing quote“Technology should not aim to replace humans, rather amplify human capabilities.” — Doug Engelbart

Source: Sam Yen via Mark Finnern

“If ease of use was the only requirement, everybody would still be riding tricycles” — Doug Engelbart

Source: (slide) Smithsonian Oral History Interview
(quote) Lemelson-MIT 1997 Engelbart Tribute Video

“In 20 or 30 years, you’ll be able to hold in your hand as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city, or even the whole world.” — Doug Engelbart

Source: Lemelson-MIT Award Ceremony, 1997
“The Mouse that Changed the World,” – Associated Press, Apr 9, 1997

“The key thing about all the world’s big problems is that they have to be dealt with collectively. If we don’t get collectively smarter, we’re doomed.” — Doug Engelbart, 2006

Source:  Intelligence in the Internet Age, C|NET, 2006

“Human beings face ever more complex and urgent problems, and their effectiveness in dealing with these problems is a matter that is critical to the stability and continued progress of society.” — Doug Engelbart, 1961

Source:  Program On Human Effec­tive­ness,
by Douglas C. Engelbart, 1961

Why waste time doing experiments in the organization with technologies that are going to be out of date in 5 years or 10 years? — Doug Engelbart

Source: Spoken at his 1993 IEEE Distinguished Lecture  (@29:24),
as recipient of 1993 IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

“There’s a double pressure on the evolution of every organization: how you evolve to be more capable and effective, and efficient, but also how you stay in synch with the rest of the environment.” — Doug Engelbart

Source: Engelbart’s Colloquium at Stanford, January 2000

“The complexity of the problems facing mankind is growing faster than our ability to solve them” — Doug Engelbart

Source:  Doug Engelbart: Father of the Mouse,
by Andrew Maisel, SuperKids, 1996

“To improve our collective ability to solve the world’s problems, we must harness the immense promise and power of technology.”  — Doug Engelbart

Source:  Commemorative Poster, from “Engelbart’s Unfinished Revolution
event marking the 30th anniversary of the Mother of All Demos, 1998

“The mouse was just a tiny piece of a much larger project, aimed at augmenting human intellect.”  — Doug Engelbart, inventor of the mouse

Source:  Doug Engelbart: Father of the Mouse,
by Andrew Maisel, SuperKids, 1996

“Any possibility for improving the effective utilization of the intellectual power of society’s problem solvers warrants the most serious consideration. This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents possibly the most important resource possessed by a society. The other contenders for first importance are all critically dependent for their development and use upon this resource.” — Doug Engelbart

Source:  Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework,
by Douglas C. Engelbart, 1962 – VI. Conclusion

Doug Engelbart 1968“If the dream of improving human destiny isn’t enough, how about the thought that the companies that adopt the best Collective IQ improvement strategy will have a significant competitive advantage. Wouldn’t you want your group to have the highest Collective IQ?” — Doug Engelbart

Source: Doug Engelbart | Talks at Google | Slide 31, August 2007

“Payoff will come when we make better use of computers to bring communities of people together and to augment the very human skills that people bring to bear on difficult problems.” — Doug Engelbart

Source: Improving our ability to improve, Doug’s Keynote
address, World Library Summit, Singapore, April 2002

People have got to become more effective at handling complex problems – at their daily struggle with complex and urgent issues. The survival of man seems dependent upon it. Any reasonable possibility seen by society for increasing that effectiveness should warrant serious investigation.”  — Doug Engelbart (1968)

Source: ARNAS Report, January 21, 1968
as displayed in the photo below

011-screen of wisdom-zoom

Photo from Doug’s lab (1968)  – see more

“The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate”  — Doug Engelbart

Source: Computerworld 25th Anniversary edition,
June 22, 1992, p 43

Quotes about Doug Engelbart

“How do you harness the collective intelligence of the world to solve urgent global problems? That’s what Doug was about.” — Adam Cheyer

Source: Mercury News, December 9, 2018

“Engelbart’s ideas revolutionized computing and helped shape the modern world. [He saw] computers, interfaces, and networks as a means to a more important end — amplifying human intelligence to help us survive in the world we’ve created.” — Howard Rheingold

Source: MIT Technology Review, July 23, 2013

“I don’t know what Silicon Valley will do when it runs out of Doug’s ideas.”  — Alan Kay

Source: Computer Currents, Feb 1990

“His demo was a tectonic shift in the computing industry.”  — Paul Saffo

Source: The Mouse Turns 40,
VentureBeat, December 1998

“All the brilliant things he has produced are mere baubles compared to the ideas he’s trying to get across.”  — Paul Saffo

Source: The man who sees the future,
US News, May 20, 1996

“The least important question you can ask about Engelbart is, “What did he build?” […] The most important question you can ask about Engelbart is, “What world was he trying to create?””  — Bret Victor

Source: A few words on Doug Engelbart,
Bret Victor, July 3, 2013

“Engelbart was like Moses parting the Red Sea”  — Alan Kay

Source: Los Angeles Times,

“Visionary” is one of the most overused terms in tech, but it almost seems insufficient to explain just what Doug Engelbart was.  — Harry McCracken

April 2016

“Doug and his researchers can’t be too highly praised for both what they did do, and what they thought needed to be done. An article about them by anyone should focus most especially on what has still been missed today that is vitally important.”  — Alan Kay

Source: Smithsonian Magazine (Comment by Alan Kay on the article), January 2018

“Engelbart’s vision was [to] multiply the power of people and collaborators by creating systems that augment our intellect, humanity and creativity. His goal was to raise the human potential.”  — Samim Winiger & Roelof Pieters

Source: Creative AI: On the Democratisation and Escalation of Creativity,

“Engelbart has forever changed the way we do business in America.”  — Coors American Ingenuity Award, 1991

Source: Engelbart Honors

His vision and his implementations of it really show us how to redesign the way that people work within and across organizations in order to be maximally innovative and adaptive.  — Patricia Seybold

Source: Outside Innovation,
July 2013

“Engelbart did not think of the computer as merely improving human thinking, but as transforming the processes of our institutions in a more profound way…” — Janet H. Murray, “Inventing the Medium”

Source: The New Media Reader

“Engelbart’s contribution to personal computing is almost inestimable.” — PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award 1987

Source: Engelbart Honors

“Of all the great computing moments of the 1960s, Engelbart’s Demo tops our list.”  — WIRED

Source: The Decades That Invented the Future,
December 2012

“Work he did 25 years ago is still at the cutting edge . . . and his organizational ideas are at least as profound.”  — Alan Kay

Source: Leader to Leader Journal,
September 1996

“I hope 500 years from now, people talk about Douglas Engelbart the same way we talk about Johannes Gutenberg.”  — Karen McGrane

Source: A List Apart,
July 2013

See more at
The human side of Doug Engelbart,
by Christina Engelbart

“The great obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge..” —  Daniel J. Boorstin

Source: The Discoverers, pg 86

“To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up.” — Dalai Lama XIV

Source: Goodreads Quotes

“We need to train people in an entirely new set of 21st Century skills, which are in fact the oldest skills: communication, collaboration, empathy, respect and how to overcome cultural boundaries.” — Toomas Hendrick Ilves, the fourth President of Estonia

Source: Posted by Bruce Holland on LinkedIn

“Our age of anxiety is the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools” — Marshall McLuhan

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” —  Albert Einstein

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  — Margaret Mead (see Source)

Source: WikiQuotes: Margaret Mead
This attribution is contested,
but still it’s a great quote.

“Perhaps the most basic challenge humanity faces is to awaken our capacity for collective knowing and conscious action so that we can respond successfully to the immense social and ecological difficulties that now confront us.” — Duane Elgin, Author, Educator, Consultant

Source: Collective Consciousness and Cultural Healing,
October 1997

“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” — Marie Curie

Source: WikiQuotes: Marie Curie
This was very true of Doug Engelbart.

“When a society’s collective IQ is no match for the challenges it faces.” — ?

Source: Fleetingly posted on Facebook, attributing
Carl Sagan; sounds alot like Doug Engelbart…

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  1. Software Engineer – Full-Stack (San Francisco / Remote) – Priviw

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