The worst business decisions of all time and what you can learn from them

What would be your answer if someone asked you what was the worst business decision ever made? Not the worst decision you made, mind you – the worst decision in the history of business decisions.

It's a good question to think about to give yourself relief (big companies make mistakes too!), But also to see what you can learn from the bad decisions of lore to prevent them from happening in your business.

So great, The Atlantic asked 17 prominent business people for their opinions. Obviously, their thoughts were very different. Here are some of the key points – and tips we should all remember to avoid making these mistakes ourselves.

The consumer issues

Melissa Lee, host of CNBC's Fast Money and Options Action , was to blame for New Coke's short-lived launch.

In 1983, Coca-Cola launched New Coke, a weapon in the battle for market share against Pepsi. But consumers boycotted, and just three months later, Coke brought back Coca-Cola Classic. By 1986, Coke was back on top, and some claimed it was all a marketing scheme!

What can we learn from Coca-Cola's gigantic business with the creation of New Coke? No matter how much money you put into a new business, if your consumer hates it, change it. Fortunately, Coca-Cola came to its senses as quickly as possible, took the product off the market and was back on its feet within three years.

Creativity is key

Both Walt Mossberg, co-editor of Re / Code, and Peter Thiel, partner at Founders Fund, agree that turning off Steve Jobs was a pretty terrible decision. Thiel writes:

After Apple ousted Steve Jobs, the company's creativity came to a halt. When he returned, Jobs transformed Apple into the largest company in the world, proving that a founder's grand vision is usually underappreciated, but not replicable.

Although he was considered a tough boss, Jobs was also a visionary who fundamentally changed the way people thought about electronics. Apple seemed to forget that a company's ability to innovate (especially in the tech industry) is everything, and a company is not just the product it makes. It's about the people who work there. Make sure you hire the best people you can find who can create the best product possible – and don't forget their value when things get a little rougher.


Gretchen Morgenson, deputy business and finance editor at The New York Times , is devoted to the failure of mergers and acquisitions.

In 2008, Bank of America acquired Countrywide Financial, an aggressive and abusive subprime mortgage lender, for 4 billion. USD. However, the real costs came after the mortgage bubble burst. Between fines, penalties and legal settlements, the deal cost Bank of America another $40 billion.

Morgenson's example of the Bank of America debacle shows the importance of doing your research before taking the plunge into the economy, whether you accept a new job offer, take a risk at work, or quit your job or career altogether. Also, do not ignore the signs of a problem. If a company or business seems to have problems, those problems don't magically disappear once you start working there.

Throughout human history, bad business decisions are always made. The question is, what can you learn from them?? And if possible, how can you avoid them?

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