#1 Blockbuster Turns Down Offer To Buy Netflix For $50 Million
In 2000, when Netflix was just 3 years old, the company offered to sell itself to Blockbuster for $50 Million. Blockbuster saw the deal as too risky, which is ironic because Netflix, in large part, ultimately led to the demise of the video store model pioneered by Blockbuster and eventually put the company into bankruptcy. Sometimes “playing it safe” in business is more risky than stepping out on the limb and trying something new. Netflix produced almost $16 Billion in revenue in 2018, and as it turns out, would have been a pretty good bet for Blockbuster!
Coming up on the next pages, the other 5 biggest blunders of all time!
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#2 Rights To Coca-Cola Recipe & Name Sold for $2,300
In a bizarre series of strange events including the deaths of the original inventor of the Coca-Cola recipe, John Pemberton and his son Charlie, and supposedly forged signatures, Asa Griggs Candler purchased the rights to the company in a series of transactions and payments amounting to $2,300. Years later, the company was sold to a group of investors for $25 Million. Not a bad return, but still a pretty good deal for a company that produces $30 Billion+ in annual revenues today.
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#3 Ronald Wayne Selling His Apple Shares For $800
Ronald Wayne was one of the first 3 Apple employees (with Jobs & Wozniak) and would have been a co-founder if he didn’t jump ship. Ron began to second guess his participation in the startup and in 1976, and only 12 days after the company was started, he decided to sell his shares to Jobs & Wozniak for $800. Those shares today would be worth somewhere in the range of $40 billion. Oh well, life goes on for Ronald Wayne, you can’t win them all!
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#4 Record Label Passes On The Beatles
On New Year’s Day 1961 The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records and was anxious to get a record deal. Decca turned the group down and thought they would never make it. A little persistence seems to have paid off for the Beatles who went on to become one of the greatest and most successful bands of all time.
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#5 Three Feet From Gold
In the classic, Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells the story of R.U. Harby and his Uncle who gave up digging for Gold after becoming frustrated and sold their mine and equipment for a few hundred dollars. The new owner continued digging and struck it rich discovering Millions of dollars in Gold just 3 feet beneath where Harby and his Uncle stopped digging. Harby actually went on to learn from his mistake and became quite successful in the insurance industry. Sometimes you just have to keep going and never give up even if you make a mistake!
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#6 Xerox Letting Apple Engineers Visit Their HQ
In the 1970s Xerox engineers were busy working on some amazing new technologies, but the company executives didn’t think they were valuable so they let Apple employees, including Steve Jobs, prowl around their headquarters and see everything they were working on. This is where Apple got the Graphic User Interface or GUI and the mouse – 2 things we take for granted today. Jobs saw the potential with the GUI and mouse and that Xerox wasn’t marketing the technologies at all, so he decided Apple was going to run with the ideas full speed ahead. Sometimes it takes more than a good idea. It takes the sheer determination to push that idea out to the market – Jobs had that ability. He was a master at taking good ideas and pushing them to market. We will remember you, Steve. Thanks for everything you have done to push the technology boundaries of our world forward!