Ignore the Experts III

posted in: Uncategorized | 20

May 5th, 2011


“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”
— Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.


“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

-A memo at Western Union, 1878.


“It’s a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?”

-Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell’s telephone, 1876.



The people we trust as the experts are often proved wrong. History is a sobering reality when hindsight is 20/20. These three quotes are all about how useless the telephone would be. Think about how incredible that is. These words came from the most valuable sources on the subject. Society trusts these people to be right. It would be like saying there is no future with the internet. Think about that!


I am compiling these Ignore the Experts posts as a means of inspiration, for those days when you just don’t think you know what to believe. The idea is that we hear from every angle how things ought to be, how things will be, and how things are. But the truth is we ought to ignore the advice. We should create and live with passion. We should become the experts and redefine what is possible.




Two years ago I had never even sat on a motorcycle, let alone ever ridden one. I moved to San Diego from Chicago and decided to get a motorcycle. And not just get a motorcycle. I wanted to learn how to ride them, how to work on them, and how to completely rebuild them. My brother flew out and taught me to ride. From there, I’ve tried and failed often. I still try and fail. I’ve also completely rebuilt a 1969 Honda CB350 and I am currently working on a 1947 CZ 125cc two-stoke. I’ve been stranded on the road more times that I care to remember. I’ve cut up my knuckles and bruised my ego and I still come back for more. Just yesterday I broke down on the highway. It happens. It’s all part of becoming the expert.

So now I ask you, what are you doing to get there?



20 Responses

  1. V jealous of that bike! In the states do you get a 250cc licence then have to upgrade to open class?

    I’ll keep you posted when I buy an enfield in Chennai for a bit of Indian Motorcycle diaries.

    (Watch that for a bit of travel/bike salivating)

    • Yes, I got really lucky with this bike. I even have the original 1947 title! It is the same year, make, and model as James Dean’s first motorcycle. In the states you need to get a license or at least a permit to operate anything over 49cc on the road (I think…). I just went straight to it and got the full license. It’s not terribly hard if you take the Safety Class first.

      Please let me know when you get an Enfield! I adore those bikes. They truly know style is timeless. We should connect for an Indian Motorcycle Diaries!

  2. Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? If you haven’t read it, you must.

    I got my motorcycle learners permit last year. In practicing on my boyfriend’s Honda Silverwing (a joyride scooter) I dropped it in the parking lot and really got freaked. I have decided to explore other ways to take on my passion for challenge. And I now just ride on the back of his Harley Road King!

    • That is one of my favorite reads! I actually read it years ago and then just recently re-read it. It was crazy to see how much more relevant it was now that I understand a bit more about motorcycles.

      Congrats on the permit! Dropping a bike is all part of the experience. It’s getting back on that matters the most! The Road King is a nice way to do it! Talk about ridin’ easy 🙂

  3. Baker Lawley

    Man, I love this series. Rutherford B. Hayes’ quote is awesome. “…who would want to use it anyway?”

    It’s even funnier to me, because that’s how I feel about phones NOW!

    Last night I got dinner at Chipotle (not realizing it was Cinco de Mayo–dumb.) and there was a line out the door. Guy in front of me was on his iphone for all 10 minutes we waited, talking, checking Facebook. He missed eavesdropping on the twenty-somethings in front of him discussing Kant (and one of those guys had a cane, apparently just for looks…) and the family behind me, parents arguing with their tween daughter about nose rings.

    I’m glad I’m not obsessed with my phone.

    Love it, David. Thanks for the post.

    • You’re right, somehow Rutherford B Hayes may end up being right! I’m getting more and more tempted to get rid of the internet on my phone. I only use it to know emails coming in and also the occasional GPS. I even downgraded the internet so its much cheaper (and much slower) so it makes me want to use it less.

      Who would have thought that the phone would be what it is today? They thought it was useless because they lacked the vision, and now we think its too much connectivity! I hope one of us can take this vision to the next level and change the way we communicate and view the future!

  4. I am so proud of your motorcycle successes. You had a passion and really went for it. I admire you for that. When you have an idea or thought, you go for it. Never looking back at what could have been.

    As for a reply to Andrew’s comment: Sometimes I wish cell phones were never invented. Although extremely convenient I think they create a huge communication barrier. I see it even more with my younger brothers generation. They are glued to their phones, not talking on them. TEXTING and FACEBOOKING. I love the feeling of leaving my phone at home. I need to do this more often…. I like your chipolte story. All the conversations you got to hear because you weren’t glued to your phone.

    • Well I think I will be using you as an example for my next post in the series. You went from knowing so little about health and yoga and now you’re the expert! All that in how long? Two years?! Thats incredible!

      Instead of listening to the health and fitness advice of others, you’re out there leading the way. It takes a lot of time and dedication, but with the right passions, we can make it happen! Thank you for also being an inspiration to me!

  5. I love the limitless feel of working towards creating your own advice, but how many experts can you be at once?
    I’ve always had a small part of me fall in love with bicycles, but the other part is holding me back out of fear! One of my goals this year will be to learn how to ride one. I’ve ridden with a friend before and the experience is incredible, the breeze, the sense of freedom. Just magical!

    Martinsays: Good post

    Ps: nice to see your blog is mobile friendly 🙂

    • I’m not sure it’s a matter of being an expert in a million things, just the things you’re passionate about. If that is a million different things, well then shoot, I still say make it happen!

      Glad the site is mobile friendly. I was a bit concerned there, since I haven’t checked much into that. You’ll have to be my eyes on that front! 🙂

  6. Annie Andre

    that is amazing that in 2 years you went from knowing nothing about motorcycles to riding and rebuilding them.

    A true testament to hard work and determination.

    I sometimes suffer from analysis paralysis. With all the information out there (noise), I often get caught up in the learning rather than the doing. Then when i finally do “IT” whatever “IT” is, i find that i learned more from the doing than i did in the hours of studying and learning.

    I feel compelled to get a cool motorcycle like yours. well, i’m more of a moped kind of gal.
    p.s. I used to have a TR6. Your bike reminds me of my old car…

    • Thank you Annie! It has certainly been a lot of hard work and like I said, often being stuck on the side of the road. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. I certainly hear you on the analysis paralysis. Very clever phrase! For some reason, I always feel like I am the first one in my circle of life to do something and I end up having to spend more time and money to learn it. By the time hindsight comes around, I realize I shouldn’t have stressed it and instead I should have jumped right in.

      Oh, and get an old classic scooter 🙂

  7. Todd | Channelingmyself

    I work in the telecommunications field, specifically with telephones and I can honestly say I’m not passionate about my work. The telephone has definitely made its mark on society but I could do without one in my life. 🙂

    • Well Todd, I can definitely appreciate the honesty. I’m not so sure I’m all that passionate about my work right now either, which is sort of why I started this blog. It’s a way for me to map my path out of this spot and into where I want to be.

      That said, you’re right. The telephone has gone from being an idea folks thought would be so useless to now being a product that perhaps we over-value. Interesting how these things can change like that…

  8. Promise us all that your passion won’t be helping others to find their passion, as seems to be the thing these days for online money spinners!

    Once you do find it, tell us all how you did it! 🙂

    • Andrew this is a refreshing comment! You’re right! I don’t want my passion to be just that. This really makes me think about my agenda here. I want to document my own shot at living a life of passion. Yes, thats it! 🙂

  9. Laur @ The Mad To Live

    Hey Dave!

    You are lookin GOOD on that bike! I just got my motorcycle license this weekend and am ALL ABOUT the vintage style classic bikes. I want to do the very same thing – learn how they work, repair it myself, make it my baby 🙂

    This is my 1st time on your blog. @Andrew_C sent me over here and I’m definitely thankful!!!! You seem freaking awesome and I can’t wait to check out more of what you’re up to!

    I’ll be in San Diego on a road trip in June, we should meet up and ride some bikes together! 🙂

    See around online!
    – Laur 🙂

    • Thanks for the love Laur! My advice is to pursue this idea with insanity and obsession and it will come along easy. In not time you’ll be tearing motors apart and riding the hottest of classic bikes!

      Check out my other bike:


      That was my first rebuild. It’s sort of my baby, but with old motorcycles, there are a lot of babes out there! 🙂

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