Success is a Poor Teacher


Bill Gates has said “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”. The sweet afterglow of success has a way of redefining as brilliant decisions all of the ways you got lucky, and glossing over a lot of little things that never were quite right along the way. It can also blind you to a shifting landscape and emerging threats and opportunities. The skills, strategies, and activities that got you to this point may not be the same ones that that can take you to the next level.

Blockbuster has become an easy punchline for those looking to describe the very public failures of a fallen giant, but the company was a giant. They were tremendously successful for nearly two decades, becoming the largest video rental store chain in the world, at one point controlling nearly a third of the home rental video market.

It’s hard to imagine from today’s digital perspective the pain points that consumers endured for a couple of hours of video entertainment,…



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