Built To Fail

Alex Wingert

I’ve been spending time over the last few weeks reading about failures, more specifically tech failures.

This week’s special BLOCKBUSTER.

Book: Built to Fail

Author: Alan Payne

Premise: Alan Payne ran the most successful Blockbuster franchises for 30 years. Alan’s stores were sometimes tripling the profits generated by the corporate Blockbuster stores. His secret? Do the opposite of what corporate Blockbuster suggested. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. Alan tells the story about how at every turn, Blockbuster seemed to make the wrong bet. Whether it was obscure pricing strategies, removing late fees, managing inventories, understanding buying habits, crazy promotions, or ignoring competitors, it seems that Blockbuster was getting it all wrong, well before Netflix came on the scene.

The line that stuck with me the most from this book is actually a quote from Bill Gates:

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

-Bill Gates

I think about this often whenever a little bit of luck comes my way. The next quote I think about is then the popular one from Andy Grove:

“Only the paranoid survive”.

-Andy Grove

Moral of the story? Stay hungry and never stop being curious.