[PW] FedEx Anecdote (Quotation Query #748)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at yale.edu
Sun May 15 08:13:21 PDT 2016


There is a famous anecdote about FedEx founder Frederick W. Smith.  Wikipedia tells it as follows:

"In 1962, Smith entered Yale University. While attending Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class, outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age. Folklore suggests that he received a C for this paper, although in a later interview he claims that he told a reporter, 'I don't know what grade, probably made my usual C,' while other tales suggest that his professor told him that, in order for him to get a C, the idea had to be feasible. The paper became the idea of FedEx ..."

I am interested in tracing the earliest version of this anecdote, and would welcome any information about primary or secondary sources for early versions.

Fred Shapiro



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