If I had asked
The earliest linkage known to Quote Investigator between the saying and Henry Ford appeared in “The Cruise Industry News Quarterly”. John McNeece, a cruise ship designer, speculated about the desires of Henry Ford’s potential customers: “There is a problem trying to figure out what people want by canvassing them. I mean, if Henry Ford canvassed people on whether or not he should build a motor car, they’d probably tell him what they really wanted was a faster horse.
Interestingly, the words above were not credited directly to Ford. The earliest ascription to Ford that QI has located appeared in a letter sent to the UK publication Marketing Week in 2001.
But times are changing. Neither Henri Ford nore John McNeece could have foreseen times would change so rapidly.
That’s why I rewrote the quote to the modern gig economy: “If I had asked my prospects what they wanted they would have said a permanent position”. Like to hear from you.