Making mistakes is the part of life. Though mistakes really just opportunities for learning and growth, but sometimes they result into huge blunders. Listed here are the 8 biggest mistakes from the tech world where people said no to free money –
- Sony turned down the chance to buy Marvel movie rights
- Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne sold the share for USD 800 missing out on USD 100 billion
- Blockbuster rejected a future with Netflix
- Yahoo missed buying Google for USD 1 million
- Xerox invented the personal computer and did not license the machine
- Viacom refused USD 2 billion Facebook buyout over the high price
- Real Networks rejected Apple’s iPod proposal
- Losing millions to Bitcoin
Twenty years ago when Marvel had just survived bankruptcy, it was seeking a cash influx to maintain its roots in the industry. Sony approached them with plans to securing SpiderMan’s movie rights but Marvel was keen to make more money so they even offered the rights to the Avengers characters like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Black Panther for a meager amount of USD 25 million. It is said that a Sony representative told Marvel that “nobody gives a shit about any of the other Marvel characters.” That is when Marvel agreed to sell Spiderman alone for USD 10 million.
Marvel Studios started largely as an independent entity from the rest of Marvel and eventually started producing its superhero movies. The Avengers characters are making such massive draws and today Marvel Cinematic Universe alone has grossed over USD 20 billion worldwide.
Apple’s third investor Ronald Wayne, an acquaintance of Steve Jobs was responsible for drawing the first logo for Apple, drafting the original agreement between the Apple founders, and writing the manual for the first-ever Apple computer. He sold his share of 10 percent for just USD 800 in the very beginning when the company had just ventured into the business. Wayne had said, “Wozniak, anyone can get along with. I would have had difficulties getting along with Jobs. I could see that from the beginning.” If Wayne had held on to his 10 percent stake in Apple, he would be worth USD 92 billion.” However, Ronald Wayne still does not regret his decision saying he’s done just fine without the wealth.
In the 90s, Blockbuster was the most popular place to watch movies in the comfort of your home by paying a fee to rent DVD’s. In the early 2000 Blockbuster was offered a chance to purchase Netflix for USD 50 million. A senior executive at Blockbuster remarked, “We had the option to buy Netflix for USD 50 million and we didn’t do it. They were losing money. They came around a few times.” As time changed and there were higher speed internet services, the movie rental business began dying down. Netflix now has a market cap worth USD 152 billion.
Back in 1998, two engineers named Larry Page and Sergei Brin offered to sell their new search engine Google for just USD 1 million as they wanted to focus on their studies. However, Yahoo showed no interest, turning them down, as the company preferred work on their search engine.
Yahoo got another chance to acquire Google in the year 2002. Page and Brin this time made an offer for USD 5 billion. Yahoo this time found the price too high and backed out again. In the current scenario, Google’s parent company Alphabet has a market share of over USD 739 billion, while Yahoo has been acquired by Verizon for under USD 5 billion.
In the year 1970 Xerox founded the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). In the year 1973 PARC became a research division for improving computers for consumers and later the first true prototype of the modern personal computer, based on a graphical user interface, was built there. The system had a screen, keyboard, and mouse, all together in one machine for the very first time. The company’s senior executives did not even bother to get a license for the machine.
In the year 1979, PARC offered interested learners to come and learn from them. Two bright young sparks Bill Gates and Steve Jobs took the opportunity and brought out modified versions of the personal computer. The rest is history – Apple went on to pioneer the personal computer market with Lisa and Macintosh, whereas Xerox continued to focus on putting out large machines for large corporate offices.
In 2006, Viacom Inc had made a bid for Facebook, it had offered a price of up to USD 1.5 billion for the social media giant. Unfortunately, Mark Zuckerberg demanded USD 2 million which was too high for them and they decided to opt out. However, 10 years later today Facebook is now an Internet giant, valued at approximately USD 479 billion.
Did you know that iPod was not invented by Steve Jobs. Tony Fadell was behind the invention after Real Network rejected Apple’s proposal to develop a new MP3 player in the year 2000. Fadell created the iPod with a twist focusing on music delivery, making it easy for users to fill up the iPod with their favorite list easily. iTunes today works on the same idea taking Apple to a very high level in the digital music distribution market.
In 2009, when Bitcoin was just picking up, James Howells says he purchased about 7,500 Bitcoins for over USD 130 each, which was about USD 975,000 in total.
Sadly, he thrashed the hard drive with the Bitcoin wallet’s key into a drawer and just forgot about it. Many years later in the year 2017, Bitcoin was valued at about USD 11,350. Unfortunately, Howells could not locate the hard disk, and his over USD 85 million in Bitcoin is now in a trash landfill which he will possibly never find again. A big loss of USD 11,350 is surely heart aching.
This shows we should take decisions with a cool mind. We should never take the hasty decision and throw billions worth of profit down the trash bin.