Running a successful multi-million or billon dollar business is no easy task. It takes an endless well of blood, sweat and tears. The The key to staying powerful as a company is staying innovative and ahead of the curve. Business in all fields morph at a record pace, so you have to think big or go home. Often that BIG thought and plan is lucrative and life-changing for the better and sometimes.... its a disaster and it crumbles a dynasty.Redditor u/RusherTheBFDIFan wanted to discuss some wrong decisions made by corporations by asking.... What is the most stupid move that a company made?
The RatnerShocked Bbc Three GIF by BBC Giphy
British businessman Gerald Ratner was the CEO of powerful jewelry company Ratners.
In 1991 he gave a speech to a business forum in which he explained how his company was able to sell its products at such a low price. His words were "because it's total crap." The remarks were televised and widely publicized. Overnight, Ratners lost about £500million of its company value, was forced to rebrand (it's now called Signet) and Ratner was made to resign.
Such a blunder has now entered the English lexicon as "doing a Ratners."
Think about that....
There was a weight loss product called AIDS. When the AIDS disease emerged, they decided not to change the name of the product so as not to compromise its identity. Who would have thought that people no longer wanted to buy AIDS, despite all the success that AIDS has in losing weight?
The Balmer Bomb
Steve Ballmer didn't take the smartphone seriously, laughed at the first iPhone, and Microsoft has basically become an enterprise services company because of it. A hugely successful one, but that was a huge miss and it cost him his job.
Oh he chose to retire? No. He was gently shown the door.
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Pepsi had a contest in the 1980s where the bottle caps had letters on the underside, and if you spelled your own last name, you won. Of course, the vowels were very rare.
But they forgot about Vietnamese people named "Ng," along with similar Eastern European names. Oops.
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Blockbuster basically telling Netflix to go screw itself.
Why would Blockbuster start mailing you videos? It would have made no sense to anyone in that company when there's a Blockbuster within rock-throwing distance of everyone's front porch. They would have never seen the value in the mail-to-home DVD.
Maybe... MAYBE, they use Redbox as a drop-off, but a large portion of their business depended on you going in, dropping off a video, browsing the shelves, and buying overpriced popcorn with your DVD rental.
When its too free
McDonald's had a contest where you collected game pieces and if the US won a medal in the Olympic sport on your game piece, you won a prize. I think it was something like:
Bronze = free medium soft drink Silver = free regular size fries Gold = free Big Mac
Russia and East Germany boycotted the Olympics. This was when Russia hadn't split into different countries and they were by far the biggest US rival. It was also when testing for performance enhancing drugs was very unsophisticated... so Russian athletes often had big advantages.
McDonald's gave away a lot more free food than they anticipated.
Just looked it up. Yep.
I worked for a Sprint/Nextel dealer in the 2000s. We actually had a couple phones with a Microsoft OS. Think of your Windows desktop with the start button in the lower left. Now imagine that in a flip phone with a tiny screen. It was a pain to use, just a ridiculous design. We sold very few.
Microsoft did a complete redesign with their Windows 7 phones, released in 2010. It was a good design, and a good product, but iPhones and Androids had been around for 3 and 2 years respectively, and the Windows 7 phones were left in the dust.
Similarly, I remember all these teenage girls abandoning their Blackberries when the iPhones and Androids became available.
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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005, saw its value rise to over $12B as it became the biggest social media platform by 2008, but then didn't adapt the company to the changing social media landscape that came to be dominated by Facebook and Twitter, and wound up selling it to online ad network Specific Media for $35 million in 2011, a loss of over $500 million (or $11+ billion if you count the company value at it highest point.)
The Osbourne 1 was the first portable computer, they announced the Osbourne 2 before they'd made a profit on the Osbourne 1, people stopped buying the Osbourne 1 in anticipation of the Osbourne 2 as a result of this there never was an Osbourne 2. The official economic term for announcing a product too early and killing sales (and therefore profits) is called the Osbourne effect because of this. Now that's how to Munson like a pro.
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Sears hiring Eddie Lambert as their CEO. Very long story, but the short is that he used Sears Holdings as his own personal hedge fund, having no desire to actually keep Sears/Kmart profitable, and knowingly and willingly allowed these companies; long established American institutions, to completely go under.
Days of Hoover
British vacuum manufacturer Hoover ran a promotion in the 90s to try and sell off old stock; buy a cheap vacuum, get return flights to the US. They tried to make it difficult to claim the free flights, with some pretty dirty tactics designed to reduce the likelihood of a successful claim on the promotion.
It did not end well, with the company completely misunderstanding of how far a British person will go to get something for, essentially, nothing.
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Kodak owned digital photography but couldn't break the addiction to film revenue to pursue it. I worked with a senior executive who was forced into retirement because he wouldn't shut up about digital being the future.
Back in like 2009, Digg.com was the go-to link aggregation website on the internet.
But they revamped their site using a new algorithm that focused on following "power users" instead of just following topics and the users hated it. I'm assuming it also made it much easier to inject sneaky ad content into the feed.
So everyone migrated to Digg's smaller rival, Reddit (which was mostly tech-focused at the time). Reddit exploded after that, and I don't think anyone uses Digg anymore. All because they fucked with their algorithm.
Dell. Michael Dell didn't think smartphones were a good idea. Then he saw how prevalent they were becoming. Dell then released a Windows 7 phone. Someone else manufactured it and Dell put their logo on it. It was absolute junk and the only carrier Dell could get to sell it was T-Mobile. After sales completely flopped, the phone was discontinued and no longer sold.
Rumor is that Dell had ordered almost 7 figures worth of the phones in anticipation of big sales. All of the discontinued inventory went into the shredder and was recycled. Dell took a big tax write-off and pretended like it never happened.
Tumblr taking away naughty/NSFW content. If you create a site where people can be themselves, why would you block that?
The ironic thing is part of why they banned porn was likely so they could be more appealing for a potential buyout. I'm sure they anticipated some blowback when they did it but couldn't have imagined the mass exodus it resulted in.
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Hardee's in Australia got caught using dog food in their meat patties back in the 1970s and were forced to close all restaurants and exit the country as a result.
Around 2008/2009, while the economy was tanking, HP decided to cut the salaries of all it's employees by 15%. Makes sense, right?
The government contracting business was booming in the Washington DC area and was one of their few profitable divisions. They lost 40% of their cleared employees before they sent a VP from California to figure out what was going on. They still haven't recovered from that debacle.
The Bottom Line
Shlitz beer decided to cheap out on their product which caused it to have weird slug like growths in the can. They soon folded because no one would drink their product again.
That's what happens when you start caring about the bottom line more than the quality of the product. An interesting article about it, pop up to sign up for their mailing letter is a bit much though
I first learned about it in a business class at my junior college, never actually had the product.
The PC World
When IBM decided to get into PCs they didn't really take it seriously. They always thought that mainframes were always going to rule the day. So, they rushed to get the chips and the OS in deals with Intel and Microsoft. Contrary to deals with previous suppliers IBM did not demand exclusivity from Intel and MS. This let Intel and MS sell their IP to whomever they chose. IBM could have owned personal computing but instead the IBM clones outperformed IBM PCs and IBM is a shadow of their former clout in computing.
Colgate, the toothpaste and toothbrush company, tried making tv dinners in the eighties.
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