For those of you who are fans of “The Princess Bride” you know the line about classic blunders. For those who don’t click on the photo for a YouTube link. I love this movie and the classic blunder line is one of my favorites. While getting into a land war in Asia is not advised I was reading about some of the classic blunders in the tech business. There are some giant goofs to be sure but there are a few that are my favorite.
1. Hiring a soda company exec to run your computer company. Apple made one of the biggest, and it almost killed the company. While he may have been a good business man he had no idea how Apple was run or its business model. One thing I think Apple has finally learned is that it is not like any other computer company, maybe it will get them to the future without all the drama of the nineties!
2. Choosing a Lawyer to run your computer company. Microsoft is now trying to replace its CEO with someone new. I saw an article showing some of the top candidates. One is from Ford, another from a Venture capital firm. They all look like good business men and that is the problem, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs lived and breathed technology. For all I know they could have been lousy at business. They loved what they were creating and drove others around them hard to make it better. It will be tough for someone to just look at the bottom line and fix what is wrong at Microsoft.
3. Xerox PARC. This research facility had the first networking, graphical user interface using a mouse, WYSIWYG text processing and printing all created by its own people and had no idea what to do with it. So it let them all slip away to other companies and they create the computing world we know today. Imagine how different the tech world would look today if Xerox had taken what it had and produced it. Many will say that it would have been difficult for Xerox to have done all the things the other companies who took this tech did with it, but it is staggering to even think about what might have been!