Modern civilization is spoiled. We have the internet at our fingertips thanks to smartphones, we never get lost anymore thanks to GPS, and we have delicious pumpkin-flavored lattes to look forward to every fall when we celebrate our newfound laziness. But these ingenious inventions that we rely on so heavily were this close to not even happening. Many of the creations we take for granted today were mocked or wildly unpopular when they were first introduced, forcing some inventors to push on despite the backlash and the headaches. Below, all the creations that almost weren't invented.
1. Pumpkin Spice Latte
It's hard to believe there was a time before PSL was the unofficial mascot of autumn. But when the seasonal flavor was created in 2003, Starbucks project manager Peter Dukes said the initial reception to the drink was lukewarm at best. "It wasn’t the natural winner, but there was something there,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
At the time, focus group participants thought pumpkin mixed with coffee was weird. "A number of us thought it was a beverage so dominated by a flavor other than coffee that it didn’t put Starbucks’ coffee in the best light," former Starbucks exec Tim Kern told Quartz in 2013.
Of course, we all know what eventually happened. "I’ll never forget coming in and … looking at the numbers and how well it sold," Peter told the podcast Household Names. "Then you just knew you had a winner."