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Company President Misses Opportunity

After my first year at Stanford Business School, I went to see Jim Levy, then-president of Activision, Inc., which, at the time, was arguably one of the fastest-growing companies in the history of the world. Activision made games for the Atari 2600 game system and was rolling in dough. I wanted to work for Levy for the summer. My bold proposal: "Hey, you've got all this cash and all these smart marketers and programmers. Why not go into the computer game business? You can dominate the PC the way you dominate the Atari 2600." Looking back 25 years that wasn't such a bold proposal. After all, the PC market was only an inch or two away from the market that Activision was already in. But Levy disagreed with my proposition and almost had me removed from his office by force. He told me, "We're in the cartridge business—and those machines use floppy disks. Forget it."

Sometimes we allow success to rob us of the eyes to see opportunity.

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