In March 1854 Cyrus Field, a successful paper manufacturer, gathered his wealthy New York neighbors to tell them about an investment opportunity. He asked them to support his audacious plan to lay a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a project of enormous scale and risk. Its supporters, known as the Cable Cabinet, raised $1.5 million ($31.7 million in 2003 dollars) in private money, only to endure years of disastrous losses. The project faced obstacle after obstacle, failing in its first attempt in 1858, before its ultimate completion in 1866.
Would you have been willing to invest in Cyrus Field's venture to lay a cable across the Atlantic Ocean?